Ned Nwoko, a former lawmaker, has criticised the Nigerian governors’ recent protest letter against the payment of a controversial debt associated with the Paris Club refund.
Mr Nwoko is one of the federal government’s six creditors controversially owed $418million debts associated with the refund.
In a September 6, 2021 letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, Mr Nwoko said there was no justification to continue to withhold the payment of his $142 million share of the money.
Writing through his team of lawyers, the former federal lawmaker said the governors’ suits challenging the indebtedness, which they cited in their protest letter, had no bearing on his case.
Mr Nwoko, who is himself a lawyer, maintained that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF)’s protest letter to the finance minister contained “misinformation” and “ignored age-long established legal principles”.
“There is NO CASE in court over the payment to our client to warrant a stay of execution of the judgment by the Federal Ministry of Finance,” Mr Nwoko’s legal team, led by Joe Gadzama, wrote.
The promissory notes, when issued, are to authorise payments to the creditors through deductions from the monthly allocations of state and local governments for 10 years.
President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the issuance of the promissory notes to the creditors, ignoring repeated calls by the Kayode Fayemi-led NGF for the suspension of the payment for a forensic audit to be carried out.
Mr Fayemi, the Ekiti State governor, since becoming the chairperson of the NGF in May 2019, had been asking for a forensic audit into the agreements and the work done by the creditors leading to the monetary judgements validating their monetary claims.
Some of the creditors, like Mr Nwoko, claimed they provided legal consultancy services to the NGF to help them recover funds over-deducted by the federal government from their monthly allocations to service, buy back the Paris Club loan and make the London Club loan exit payments, between 1995 and 2002.