The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Wednesday described the positions of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami on the controversial $418 million Paris Club contractors’ fee as “fraudulent and self-serving”.
At the end of its meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, the NGF Chairman, Dr Kayode Fayemi read a statement in which the forum said it has resolved to pursue the issue, which is before the law court, to a logical conclusion to determine its next steps.
Fayemi, who is also Governor of Ekiti State, said the governors insisted that the deductions for the payment of the said consultancy were illegal, especially as the matter is before the courts, adding that Malami was not acting in public interest.
Fayemi explained: “The forum extensively reviewed the purported attempt by the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Finance to circumvent the law and a recent judgment of the Supreme Court, to secure the approval of the Federal Executive Council, to effect illegal payment of the sum of $418 million to contractors who allegedly executed consultancies in respect to the Paris Club Refunds to state and local governments.
“The forum set up a committee comprising the Chairman, the governor of Ekiti State, the Vice Chairman, the governor of Ondo State, the governor of Plateau State, the governor of Nasarawa State and the governor of Ebonyi State, to interface with the committee set up by Mr. President to review the matter.
“But the position of the Governors’ Forum is clear and unequivocal. Although this matter is sub-judice and we are very reluctant to get in the way of a matter that is still being pursued in the courts, we are constrained by the manner in which the Honorable Attorney-General has been going around various media houses and purporting to create the impression that this is a liability to which governors have committed themselves to and agreed to, even though he is very much aware that that’s not the case.
“We reject all of the claims that he has made on these issues and we also insist that states will not give up on insisting that these purported claims are fraudulent and will not stand, as far as governors are concerned, and we will take every constitutional and legal means to ensure that these purported consultancies are fully litigated upon by the highest courts in the land.
“If the courts now find governors and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and states liable, then we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. As far as we are concerned, this is a matter that governors feel very strongly about and we do not believe that the Attorney-General of the Federation is acting in the public interest. We believe he’s acting in personal, selfish interest, that would ultimately become clear when this matter is fully addressed in the law courts,” he said.
The governors, who also deliberated on the prevailing economic and security situation in the country, agreed to intervene by engaging with the federal government and other stakeholders to deliberate, suggest immediate action plans on ameliorate the current situations.
“The Forum extensively discussed the state of the Nigerian economy and security, following a presentation by Mr. Bismarck Rewani, member of the President’s Economic Advisory Council, the Forum resolved to immediately engage with the federal government and other critical stakeholders; Labour, the presidential candidates of political parties, and corporate actors on finding resolutions and suggestions to implement a set of immediate actions to ameliorate the worsening economic conditions in the country”, he said.
On the industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the governors encouraged the Federal Government and ASUU “to find meaningful resolutions to the lingering impasse and as proposed to engage with both parties, just as we have done in the past, in a bid to ending the strike”.
The communique further stated that the forum discussed several other issues, ranging from resolve to increase funding for the health care sector to encouraging fiscal transparency in states.
Paris Club refund: Ned Nwoko dismisses Governors' $418m claim - Breezy News Nigeria
21 August 2022 at 8:57 am
[…] The NGF has been in a protracted tussle with the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami over the controversial $418 million Paris Club contractors’ fee, which they described as “fraudulent and self-serving”. […]