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Nigerian Governors Drag FG to Court Over 10 National Integrated Power Projects

They say they remain resolute in exploring all legal options in $418m Paris Club refund.

The 36 states governors in Nigeria on Wednesday instructed their lawyers to drag the federal government to court over the Executive Order on the decision to sell the 10 National Integration Power Project.

The governors also said they remain resolute on legal options on the controversial $418 million Paris Club Fund.

In a communique at the end of the governors’ meeting signed by the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the governors said,  “The Forum following its advocacy that the proposed privatisation of 10 National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) by the Federal Government of Nigeria 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.”

Regarding the $418 million Paris Club Refund and promissory notes issued to the consultants by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO), the governors stressed that they remain, “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.”

According to the governors, sequel to discussions between sub-sovereigns at the recently concluded second African Sub-Sovereign Government Network (AfSNET) conference, “the Forum agreed to pursue through its Africa (FORAF) and its partnership with the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank), support for enhanced dialogue, cooperation and collaboration between sub-sovereign governments around intra-African trade, investment, industrialisation, and development.”

The communiqué said the governors were also monitoring the flood situation across the country and working with the federal government through the National Economic Council (NEC) and in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHDSD), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP).

Furthermore, the governors said they were also working with the World Bank to prepare emergency interventions to ameliorate the impact of the flood especially in order to sustain food security.

According to the communique, the governors were also briefed by the World Bank Task Team Leader (TTL), Prof. 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’s 2022 Flood Response following discussions with States and the National Economic Council (NEC) Ad hoc Committee on Flooding.

It noted that the restructuring would 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, labor intensive opportunities for unskilled labor, rehabilitation of basic services infrastructure, recovery of damaged agricultural infrastructure, rehabilitation of destroyed wet markets, amongst others,” the communique stated.

The governors also said they received updates from the Senior Progamme Manager, NGF States’ Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Technical Assistance Programme, Olanrewaju Ajogbasile, on the implementation progress of the SFTAS programme which is presently in its last phase of annual assessments.

They assured Nigerians of their commitment in line with the programme, to sustain reforms and implement recommendations that could further strengthen their public financial management systems.

The governors also said the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola briefed them on the congestion of the custodial centers across the country and the digitalisation of immigration processes.

 They said that they welcomed the report of the Minister and committed to working with law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on the recommendations put forward as they relate to individual State jurisdiction.

It also revealed that the NGF Senior Health Advisor, Dr. Ahmad Abdulwahab, briefed the Forum on the progress with Polio/Routine Immunisation highlighting that there had been an 85 per cent reduction in the number of Circulating Vaccine-Derived PolioVirus (cVDPV) in 2022 from 1,028 cases recorded in 2021.

The communique further stated that the governors were also provided update on the implementation progress of the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (CoPREP) and the recently launched Primary Health Care (PHC) Leadership Challenge.

They reiterated their commitment to the Seattle Commitments.

 Chuks Okocha