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$418m Paris Club Refund: You lack power to overrule president, govs tell Malami

Nigerian Governors have challenged the Attorney- General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, to tell Nigerians his interest in the $418 Million Paris Club refund. Malami had on Thursday, said deductions from the governors’ account at Federal Account and Allocation Committee (FAAC) for the Paris Club fund would continue, because the governors “collectively and individually presented a request to the Federal Government for the fund and among the components of the claim presented for the consideration of the Federal Government was the payment of these consultants that are now constituting the subject of contention.” But the state chief executives said there was an express order from President Muhammadu Buhari to the Minister of Finance to discontinue with the deduction.

Head, Press and Public Affairs of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Abdulrazak Barkindo, said Malami lacks the power to overrule the president. “The president has given the order, and we want to know, whose order is superior? Is it the president or the Attorney General?

“The president has given the order. Malami cannot overrule the president. He should tell Nigerians the interest he has with the contractors,” he demanded. Barkindo noted that the matter is already before the court, adding that “ordinarily, we don’t suppose to be speaking on the issue, but Malami who is the chief law officer decides to speak, we have no option than to reply him.”

The Chairman of the NGF Kayode Fayemi, had earlier accused the Attorney General, as well as the Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed, of attempt “to circumvent the law and the recent judgement of the Supreme Court by surreptitiously securing the approval of the FEC to effect payment of the sum of $418 million to four contractors, who allegedly executed contracts in respect of the Paris Club refunds to the states and local governments.”

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