Court halts FG from deducting $418m Paris Club debt from States’ accounts

A federal high court in Abuja has stopped the federal government from deducting Paris Club debt worth $418 million from the bank accounts of the 36 states of the federation.

The Judge, Inyang Ekwo, on Friday issued a restraining order against the federal government following an ex parte application filed by the lawyers to the 36 states.

Jibrin Okutepa, who led the legal team of the states, told the judge that the 36 states would be completely crippled if the FG deducts the huge amount from the bank accounts of the states.

He stated that the FG had revealed the plan to deduct the $418 million from the accounts of states every month as part of debts for contracts allegedly executed for the states.

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He however indicated that the 36 states’ attorneys-general have read the purported judgment displayed by the FG and found that the states were not parties to the court action which resulted in the judgment debt.

After listening to the arguments of the 36 states, Ekwo retrained the FG from deducting from the states in respect of the purported court judgment until all issues relating to it were fully determined.

The judge fixed the matter for November 30, 2021.

He further ordered the plaintiffs’ lawyer to serve all processes on the defendants before the adjourned date.