A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed March 25, 2022 to deliver a judgment in the $418 million Paris Club debt suit.
The court fixed the date for the suit filed by the 36 state governments against the Nigerian Government on Tuesday.
Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date after counsel for the plaintiffs and the defendants adopted their processes and presented their arguments for and against the matter, News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The court had, on November 5, 2021, restrained the Nigerian Government from deducting monies accruing to the 36 states from the federation account to settle $418 million judgment debt in relation to Paris Club Refund pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The court gave the order following an ex parte motion moved by counsel for the plaintiffs, Jibrin Okutekpa, SAN.
NAN reports that while the 36 state Attorney-Generals are the plaintiffs on the suit, some of the defendants listed in the suit include the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Accountant General of the Federation and Ministry of Finance.
Others are the 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 October 27, 43 defendants are sued in the matter.
Justice Ekwo granted three in the motion ex parte out of the four prayers that were sought.
The reliefs sought by the plaintiffs include an order of interim injunction, restraining the Nigerian Government from deducting any money accruing or due to all or any of the 36 states of the federation.
Okutekpa informed the court that the Nigerian Government had not commenced the deduction of the monies. He withdrew the fourth prayer, asking for a refund of the monies deducted.
He hinted that the deduction was expected to begin in November 2021.
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.
Besides, Okutekpa argued that the states were not a party to any contract resulting in such debts.