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$418m Refund: Your action fraudulent, self-serving –Govs reply Malami

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…vow to pursue matter to S’Court

…urge FG, ASUU to sheath swords on prolonged strike

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), has described the resolve of the AttorneyGeneralandMinisterof Justice, Abubakar Malami, to continue deduction of the $418 million for payment of consultants for the Paris Club refund as self-serving and fraudulent.

This was the resolution of the NGF at its meeting at theBanquetHallof thePresidential Villa yesterday. Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, who briefed newsmen after the meeting, said the governors would resist the payment to the contractors to the highest court of the land. Malami at the State House Ministerial Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team, had said that the governors originally created the liability whose payment they had also indemnified, therefore all the “noise making that is now being generated arising from the Governors Forum” is unjustified.

The governors in a communiqué read by Fayemi at the end of the meeting stated: “Governors extensively reviewed the purported attempts by the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Finance, to circumvent the law and a recent judgment of the Supreme Court to secure the approval of the federal legislative council to effect illegal payment of a sum of $418 million to contractors who allegedly executed consultancy in respect to the Paris Clubrefund, tostateandlocal governments. “The forum set up a committee comprising the Chairman, the governor of Ekiti State, the ViceChairman, the governor of Ondo State, the governor of PlateauState, the governor of Nasarawa state, and the governor of Ebonyi State to interface with the committeesetup by Mr. President to review the matter. “But the position of the Governors’ Forum is clear and unequivocal.

Although this matter is subjudice and we are veryreluctant to get in thewayof amatterthatisstill being pursued in the court. We’re constrained by the manner in which the Honourable Attorney has been going around various media housesandpurporting tocreate the impression that this is aliability towhichgovernors hadcommittedthemselves to andagreedto, eventhoughhe isverymuchawarethatthat’s not the case. “And we reject all of the claims that he has made on this issue. And we also insist that the state will not give up on insisting that these purported claims are fraudulent and will not stand as far as governorsareconcerned and we would take every constitutional and legal means to ensure that these purported consultancy arefully litigated upon by the highest court in the land. “If the courts now find governors, and the Nigerian governors forum and state liable, then we will cross that bridge when we get there.

As faraswe’reconcerned, thisis a matter that governors feel very strongly about and we do not believe that the Attorney General of the Federation is acting in the public interest, we believe he is acting in personal, selfish interest that will ultimately become clear when this matter is fully addressed, in the law court.” Commenting on the ongoing strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), thegovernorspleaded with the lecturers and the Federal Government to sheath their sword and reach an amicable resolution.

On the state of the economy, the governors said: “Finally, the forum extensively discussed the state of the Nigerian economy and security. Following a presentation by Mr. Bismarck Rewane, a member of the President’s Economic Advisory Council. The forum resolved to immediately engage with theFederalGovernmentand othercriticalstakeholders: labour, the presidential candidates of political parties and corporate actors, on finding resolutions and suggestions toimplementasetof immediate actions to ameliorate the worsening economic conditions in the country.”

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