… Vows to challenge the proposed privatisation of 10 Power Projects
The thirty-six States’ Governors in the country have declared that only the court of law can determine the legality or otherwise, of the deduction of $418 million Paris Club refund from the state allocations.
The Governors, who met in Abuja on Tuesday night under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, equally revealed that they have instructed their lawyers to approach the Federal High Court to stop the proposed privatisation of 10 National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) by the Federal Government.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting and read by the Chairman of NGF, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the Governors expressed their determination in exploring all legal channels, available, in ensuring that resources belonging to states were not unjustly or illegally paid to a few in the guise of consultancies.
According to the communique, “We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today (Tuesday night), received briefings on various subnational programmes, interventions, and issues of national importance. On these we resolved as follows:
“Regarding the $418 Million Paris Club Refund and promissory notes issued to Consultants by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO), the Forum remains resolute in exploring all legal channels available to it in ensuring that resources belonging to States are not unjustly or illegally paid to a few in the guise of consultancies.
“The Forum following its advocacy that the proposed privatization of Ten (10) National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) should be stopped, instructed its lawyers to approach the Federal High Court which at present has issued a Court Order restraining all the parties in the suit from taking any step or action that will make or render the outcome of the Motion on Notice seeking for Interlocutory Injunction nugatory.
“The effect of the Order of the Court is that Respondents cannot proceed with the proposed sale of the power plants belonging to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHCL) until the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.”
The States’ Governors and the Attorney General of the Federation (NGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN), it will be recalled, have been having a running battle over promissory notes issued to consultants by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO) regarding the $418 million Paris Club refund.
A federal High Court similarly issued an order restraining all the parties in the suit over the privatisation of the NIPP, “from taking any step or action that will make or render the outcome of the motion on notice seeking for interlocutory injunction nugatory.”
However, the NGF Chairman and Governor of Sokoto State explained that the effect of the order of the court is that the Federal Government and other respondents “cannot proceed with the proposed sale of the power plants belonging to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHCL) until the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”
Tambuwal explained that the governors were monitoring the flood situation across the country and are working with the National Economic Council (NEC) and federal ministries and agencies and the World Bank, to prepare emergency interventions to ameliorate the impact of the flood crisis especially to sustain food security.
The governor stated that the state chief executives were briefed by the World Bank Task Team Leader (TTL) Professor Foluso Okunmadewa on the desired restructuring of the $750 million Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Program (CARES) programme to respond to Nigeria 2022 flood response following discussions with states and the NEC ad hoc committee on flooding.
“The restructuring will allow states reallocate funding from the programme for immediate response for livelihoods, assets and basic services.
“As the flood recedes, the states through the programme will be able to support the household enterprise recovery grants, short-term transfer of households displaced, labour intensive opportunities for unskilled labour, rehabilitation of basic services
infrastructure, recovery of damaged agricultural infrastructure, rehabilitation of destroyed wet markets, amongst others,” he added.
Tambuwal stressed that the Minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola briefed the governors on the congestion of the custodial centers across the country and the digitalisation of immigration processes.
The governors expressed their commitment to work with law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on the recommendations put forward as they relate to individual state jurisdiction.