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36 states acting with impunity, can’t escape $418m deductions – Ned Nwoko

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A former member of the House of Representatives, Ned Nwoko, has lamented the order of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja which stopped the Federal Government from deducting $418m from allocations to the 36 states.

While reacting to the judgment on Saturday, Nwoko, who is one of the six creditors being controversially owed $418m by the government in relation to the Paris Club refund, accused the 36 states of abusing the court process.

He told that any court action in respect of the matter would be resisted at the Court of Appeal.

He said the 36 states could not deny the authority of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to represent them as the NGF was involved in the discussions for the refund.

Nwoko said, “Did some of the states engage Ned Nwoko separately and coupled with a letter of engagement for a class action through the governors forum? Yes. Did the governors of the 36 states authorise the Federal Government to deduct five per cent towards my fees? Yes.

“Did the NGF give the Federal Government an indemnity in respect of these fees? Yes. Did the NGF act on behalf of all the states in connection with these refunds? Yes.

“Did the states receive their full refunds of $10bn? Yes. Any court action in respect of these matters must be by way of an appeal to the Court of Appeal and not by another Federal High Court.

“A Federal High Court is not an appeal court. The 36 attorneys general are abusing court procedures. They can’t deny the authority of the NGF to represent them now, especially since it was the NGF that was involved in the discussions for the refunds.

“Where were the attorneys general then? After taking the benefits, you want to shirk your obligation to pay? We will use the opportunity to ask for full cash payments plus interests, after all, states were paid with cash. They were not told to wait for 10 years. The impunity of state governors must stop.

“We were compelled to make payment by promissory notes. It is a deferred payment over a 10-year period, just so that states won’t feel the impact of it. But they now want us to go for cash payment.”

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