Governors ask minister to reverse payment instruction for suspicious $418m debts

The governors are accusing the finance minister of “corruption and lawlessness” by initiating the process of paying the $418 million suspicious judgment debts in disregard for court processes.

Nigerian governors have written a protest letter to the finance minister, Zainab Ahmed, advising her against the payment of the controversial $418 million Paris Club refund-related judgment debts.

At the prevailing official exchange rate of N410 to $1, the money amounts to about N171billion.

In their letter dated September 1, the governors described her directive for the payment of the debts in disregard for their appeals against the controversial judgment debts as an act of “corruption and lawlessness”.

They urged the minister to withdraw the instruction to the Debt Management Office (DMO) to issue promissory notes to the creditors, quoting a Supreme Court decision that warns any person taking steps that defy court processes as acting “at his peril”.

In the 1986 Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu case cited by the governors as judicial precedent, the Supreme Court also asserts its ability “to restore the status, wholly irrespective of the merits as they may be ultimately decided”.

Femi Falana, the governors’ lawyer, who signed the letter to the minister, advised her “to be guided by the admonition of our highest court as quoted above”.

He advised the minister to be mindful of the apex court’s decision “by withdrawing your directive to the Debt Management Office to issue promissory notes to any contractor and consultant pending the determination of court processes in respect of which your office has been served and notified of their hearing dates.

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