The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has berated the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over his remark on the deductions from the $418 million Paris Club refund.
The AGF declared on Thursday the 36 state governors have no reason whatsoever to complain about the deductions from the funds paid to consultants.
Malami, who stated this at the ministerial media briefing held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, stressed that the governors took steps to pay the consultants but later opted to stop the payment and asked for an out-of-court settlement instead.
He insisted that the governors’ complaint on the matter was unjustified.
The Federal High Court, Abuja, had last year restrained the Federal Government from taking money out of state coffers to pay the disputed funds.
The spokesman of the NGF, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, who featured in a Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, wondered why the AGF was so concerned with individual claims to public funds.
He urged Malami to focus more on how the government would support higher education rather than diverting funds to individual wallets.
He said: “There is no component that compels the governors’ forum to pay consultants anything, and there is no agreement between the consultants collectively and governors collectively.
“The Paris fund money has been exhausted, and the consultants and the attorney general are expecting the money to be deducted from states’ accounts from sources over 52 or 58 months. That is unheard of.
“And what the NGF is saying is that there is no money to be paid and the monies that have been paid are gross errors.
“Where they are asking the monies to be gotten from is the biggest sacrilege. This money belongs to the states, the masses of this country and because you’re powerful, you want money to be taken and given to you.
“That’s why they are using the attorney general of the federation to get the money at the source because the state does not have any reason [to pay].
“What the attorney general is claiming that there is a consent judgement is what the NGF is saying did not exist.
“What the NGF is asking for is evidence of work done. Some of them said they have constructed primary health cares across the country, and other said they have provided boreholes, these are physical things that you can show.
“This matter is in court. The court is the only authority that can determine clearly whether there is a reason for payment or not, why are highly placed lawyers afraid of their own platform?”
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
INVESTIGATION: How N70m road construction created more hardship for Sokoto residents
“To address recurrent accidents on Gagi to Gidan Dilo road and Fakon Idi roads, in Sokoto State, the Federal Government,...
INVESTIGATION: Inside Kwara school where students are used as labour on teachers’ private farms
In this report, SHEREEFDEEN AHMAD uncovered how young students in Kwara State, Nigeria, are being used for labour work on...
INVESTIGATION: How Kano SUBEB awarded contracts to inactive contractors, non-existent schools
In an effort to address issues hindering quality education, the Kano State Government in 2020 awarded N88,406,667.10 for the construction...
SPECIAL REPORT: Hike in gas price forces more Nigerians to use coal, sawdust, as smoke kills 93,300 yearly
In the build-up to the 27th Conference of Party (COP 27), Nigeria recently launched its energy transition plan (ETP) as one of...
INVESTIGATION: How roadside foods endanger consumers’ life with trans fat in northern Nigeria
With an estimated 854,000 deaths in Nigeria, and 3,229 attributed to trans fatty acids (TFA) -related cardiovascular deaths, ADESOLA IKULAJOLU visited Nigeria’s...