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Just In: More trouble for states as court throws out their $418m Paris Club refund suit against FG

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Nigerian states could be in for more financial problems as Abuja Federal High Court, on Thursday, threw out a suit filed by their Attorneys-General challenging the Federal Government’s decision to deduct Paris Club refund from FAAC.

The 36 states, in the suit, are challenging the planned deduction of $418 million from the Federation Account to settle debts owed consultants engaged by the states and local governments in relation to the Paris Club refunds.

In his judgement on Friday, Justice Inyang Ekwo dismissed the suit saying the attorneys-general have not shown enough evidence to accord them the right to institute the action.

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The judge held that there was no express evidence to show that the governors of the 36 states consented to the filing of the suit.

According to the judge, the office of the Attorney-General of a state was created under Section 195 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended and the AG of a state is appointed by a governor, which makes the AG an appointee who is under the control of a governor.

He held that the contention of the plaintiffs that it was not a party to the judgment debt did not hold water because the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and the Association of Local Governments were parties in the suit.

The court further held that the plaintiffs had acknowledged the existence of judgment debt, insisting that the filing of the suit was a ploy to challenge the judgement debt.

Justice Ekwo noted that the action of the plaintiff amounted to an abuse of court process and subsequently dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.

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