The Nigerian Governors’ Forum said it had halted $418 million in planned payments and promissory notes issued by the federal treasury and debt management office to Paris Club advisers.

The forum of 36 governors vowed to continue exploring all legal avenues available to them to ensure that “resources belonging to states are not unfairly or unlawfully paid to minorities in the name of consultation.”

The governors said this in a communiqué signed on Wednesday after the 8th teleconference between the NGF Chairman and Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal on Tuesday night.

But in response to the governor’s position, one of the advisers, Ned Nwoko, threatened to enforce payments in foreign courts and freeze federal accounts.

Although Nwoko did not mention foreign countries, the findings suggest that the advisers may be headed to France, where the Paris Club secretariat is located.

Federal Attorney General and Attorney General Abubakar Malami has said there is no reason for the NGF to reject a proposal to debit $418 million from federal accounts, noting that governors have incurred liabilities for which they have paid compensation .

In a briefing to statehouse reporters Aug. 11, Marami said there was general agreement among governors to hire consultants to provide them with certain services related to the restoration of the Paris Club fund.

“While the refund process was successful, governors collectively and individually made applications to the Commonwealth for funding, and an integral part of the claim brought to the Commonwealth for consideration was the payment of these consultants, which now form the subject of contention,” said the minister.

But at Tuesday’s meeting, the governors expressed opposition to the move to pay consultants regardless of the DMO’s promissory note.

In its communiqué, the NGF said: “We, members of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, met today and were briefed on various local programmes, interventions and issues of national importance. Regarding these, we address as follows:

“With regard to the controversial $418 million Paris Club refunds and promissory notes issued to consultants by the Federal Treasury and the Debt Management Office, the Forum remains determined to explore all available legal avenues to ensure that resources belonging to the states are not unfairly or made illegal payments to a small number of people in the name of

Responding to the forum’s resolution, former lawmaker Nwoko said, “They (the governors) will only embarrass the federal government because I will enforce the judgment abroad. They will not need the governor’s when I do this and the federal government’s accounts are frozen. authorized to pay.”

However, he did not reveal which foreign country he would use to carry out his threat.

Turning to the developments, lawyer Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa said it would be better for the advisers to let the matter be resolved in the local courts, adding that foreign courts may wish to wait for the decision of the Nigerian courts.

Meanwhile, the Governors’ Forum said it had obtained an order from the Federal High Court to halt the federal government’s planned privatization of 10 national integrated power projects.

NGF revealed that the interlocutory injunction obtained by its lawyers will prevent FG from proceeding with the sale of power plants belonging to Niger Delta Power Holdings Ltd., owned by FG ​​and the Council of State and Local Governments.

Despite opposition from the House of Representatives to the planned privatization of NIPP, the FG, through the Bureau of Public Enterprises, has initiated due diligence assessments of the 16 pre-qualified investors shortlisted for the acquisition of the plant.

In a resolution, lawmakers directed BPE to stop selling power plants, including Alaoji in Abia State (1,074MW); Ihovbor in Edo State (451MW); Calabar in Cross River State (563MW); Egbema (338 MW); Gbarain (225 MW) in Bayelsa State; Geregu (434 MW) in Kogi State; Olorunsogo in Ogun State; Omotosho (451 MW) in Ondo State; Omoku (225MW).

The decision follows a motion of urgent public importance filed by House Powers Committee Chairman Magaji Aliyu (APC, Jigawa) on July 21.

Aliyu said power assets belong to three tiers of government, with FG owning 47 percent, while state and local governments own 53 percent.

But the governors reiterated their opposition to the FG’s move, “After advocating that the Nigerian federal government should halt its proposed privatization of 10 nationally integrated power projects, the Forum directed its lawyers to engage the Federal High Court, which has now issued a court order limiting litigation to all parties. party to take any step or action to invalidate the results of a motion to notify seeking an interlocutory injunction.

“The effect of the court order is that the defendants cannot proceed with the proposed sale of the power plant belonging to Niger Delta Power Holdings Limited pending the hearing and determination of the interlocutory injunctive notice motion.”

After a briefing by Professor Foluso Okunmadewa, head of the World Bank task force, the forum decided to reallocate $750 million in World Bank COVID-19 funding to respond to floods.

It noted that the restructuring would allow states to allocate funds from the program for an immediate response to livelihoods, assets and essential services.

The governors said, “Members were also briefed by Professor Foluso Okunmadewa, head of the World Bank task force on the desire to restructure the $750 million Nigerian COVID-19 Operations Recovery and Economic Stimulus Package following discussions with states and governments to Response to Nigeria’s Flood Response Plan to 2022. National Economic Council Ad Hoc Committee on Floods. Restructuring will allow states to reallocate funds from the program to immediately respond to livelihoods, assets and essential services.

“As the floodwaters recede, states will be able to support home business recovery grants through this program, short-term relocation of displaced families, labor-intensive opportunities for unskilled labor, restoration of essential service infrastructure, restoration of damaged agricultural infrastructure, restoration of Destroyed wet market etc.

The forum said it was monitoring the flood situation across the country and was working with the Federal Government through the NEC and with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, National Emergency Management Agency, Nigeria Central The Bank, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the World Bank are preparing emergency interventions to mitigate the impact of the flood crisis, especially to maintain food security.

Following discussions between sovereigns at the recently concluded Second African Subsovereign Governments Network meeting, the Forum agreed to support the strengthening of subsovereign governments around Dialogue, cooperation and collaboration on intra-African trade, investment, industrialization and development.

Olanrewaju Ajogbasile, Senior Program Manager, State Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability Technical Assistance Program, briefed the State Stewards on the progress of the implementation of the SFTAS program, which is in the final stages of its annual review.

They were also informed of planned and ongoing technical assistance to support the sustainability of reforms, including support to ensure states publish their 2023 budgets in accordance with the national chart of accounts.

NGF assured the program of its commitment to sustain reforms and implement recommendations that would further strengthen its public financial management system.

It also noted that Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola briefed the forum on overcrowding in detention centers and the digitization of immigration procedures across the country.

“Members welcome the minister’s report and are committed to cooperating with law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and the Nigerian Immigration Service on the recommendations made relating to the jurisdictions of the states,” the communiqué added.

It explained that Dr Ahmad Abdulwahab, Senior Health Advisor, briefed the forum on progress in polio and routine immunization, highlighting that the number of circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses in 2022 was down from the 1,028 cases recorded in 2021 85%.

The statement also revealed that governors were also briefed on the progress of the implementation of the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project and the recently launched Primary Health Care Leadership Challenge.

The Forum reaffirms its commitment to Seattle and to strengthening PHC, including the judicious use and timely disbursement of matching funds when needed.

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