State Governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF have vowed that they would explore all legal channels available to pursue the $418 million Paris Club Refund in order to ensure that resources belonging to States are not unjustly or illegally paid to a few in the guise of consultancies. According to the Governors, with regarding to the $418 Million Paris Club Refund and promissory notes issued to Consultants by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO), they remain resolute, adding that the $418 Paris refund will not be paid to consultants. In a statement after the 8th teleconference meeting of the NGF, Chairman of the forum and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal said, “regarding the $418 million Paris Club Refund and promissory notes issued to Consultants by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO), The Forum remains 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 him, following its advocacy that the proposed privatisation of Ten (10) National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) should be stopped, the forum has 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. Tambuwal said “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. Tambuwal noted that sequel to discussions between sub-sovereigns at the recently concluded 2nd African Sub-Sovereign Government Network (AfSNET) Conference, the Forum agreed to pursue through its membership on the Forum of Regions of Africa (FORAF) .
He said, “And its partnership with the African Export–Import (AFREXIM) Bank, support for enhanced dialogue, cooperation and collaboration between sub-sovereign governments around intra-African trade, investment, industrialisation, and development. The Sokoto State Governor who noted that the Forum was monitoring the flood situation across the country and working with the Federal Government through the National Economic Council (NEC), said, “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) and the World Bank to prepare emergency interventions to ameliorate the impact of the flood crisis especially to sustain Food Security.
“Members were also briefed by the World Bank Task Team Leader (TTL), Professor 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 2022 Flood Response following discussions with States and the National Economic Council (NEC) Ad hoc Committee on Flooding. The restructuring will allow States reallocate funding from the programme for immediate response for livelihoods, assets and basic services. As the flood recedes, Tambuwal said 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.
He said the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola briefed the Forum on the congestion of the custodial centers across the country and the digitalization of immigration processes.
“Members 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,” he added . The NGF Senior Health Advisor, Dr. Ahmad Abdulwahab briefed the Forum on the progress with Polio/Routine immunisation highlighting that there has been an 85% reduction in the number of Circulating Vaccine-Derived PolioVirus (cVDPV) in 2022 from 1,028 cases recorded in 2021. Members 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. The Forum reiterated its commitment to the Seattle Commitments and PHC strengthening including the judicious use and timely release of counterpart fund where required.