A Federal High Court in Abuja today has stopped the Federal Government from deducting monies accruing to the 36 states from federation account to settle 418 million dollars judgment debt in relation to Paris Club Refund.
The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the judgement granting 3 prayers of the 4 prayers sought by the plaintiffs while counsel to the plaintiffs, Jibrin Okutekpa, SAN, moved the ex-parte motion, held that the restraining order subsists pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The 36 states Attorney-Generals are the plaintiffs while the defendants listed in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Accountant General of the Federation, Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria, Debt Management Office, Federation Account Allocation Committee, Incorporated Trustees of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), among others.
According to the motion dated and filed Oct. 27, 43 defendants are sued in the matter.
The reliefs sought by Okutekpa include an order of interim injunction, restraining the Federal Government from deducting any money accruing or due to all or any of the 36 states of the federation.
The senior lawyer, who informed the court that the Federal Government had not commenced the deduction of the monies, withdrew the fourth prayer, asking for a refund of the monies deducted because the deduction was expected to begin in November.
He said despite his clients’ protest against such action, the defendants had vowed to go-ahead with the deduction.
He said if allowed, no state would be able to pay workers’ salaries arguing that the states were not party to any contract resulting in such debts.
Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Nov. 30 for motion on notice and ordered that all the defendants be served with the processes.