A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday stopped the Federal Government from executing its plan to deduct $418m from the bank accounts of the 36 states of the federation.
Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the restraining order against the Federal Government following an ex parte application argued by the lawyers to the 36 States Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, and Ahmed Raji, SAN.
While moving the application, Okutepa, who led the legal team of the States told Justice Ekwo that the 36 states would be completely crippled if the Federal Government goes ahead to deduct the huge amount from the bank accounts of the states.
According to him, the Federal Government had revealed the plan to deduct the $418m from the state account monthly as part of debts for contracts allegedly executed for the states.
Okutepa, however, said that the 36 states attorneys-general have read the purported judgment displayed by the Federal Government and found that the states were not parties to the court action which resulted in the judgment debt.
He also submitted that the purported contract claimed to have been executed for the states were not known to any of the 36 state governments and is, therefore, a phoney contract.
He also informed the court that the Federal Government was the only party to the court case that brought the judgment and therefore such judgment is not binding on the state government.
After listening to the arguments of the 36 States, Justice Ekwo ordered the Federal Government not to go ahead to make any deduction from the accounts of the States in respect of the purported Court judgment until all issues relating to it were fully determined.
The judgement thereafter fixed the matter for November 30 and ordered the plaintiffs’ lawyer to serve all processes on the defendants before the adjourned date.