The Federal Government has reportedly made moves to block the payment of about 62 promissory notes issued to consultants engaged under former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
It was learnt that the consultants were employed by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).
The government had faulted the procedure for the issuance of the promissory notes valued at $418,953,668 and has filed a suit at the Federal High Court to void the notes already issued.
The government and three others listed as plaintiffs in the suit, want the court to, among others, set aside all the promissory notes to the consultants.
Also, the government wants the court to issue an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants and their agents “from exercising any proprietary rights” over the promissory notes.
The suit listed as defendants, FSDH Merchant Bank Limited, Ned Munir Nwoko, Gregory Nangor Lar, Riok Nigeria Limited, Prince Orji Nwafor Orizu, Olaitan Bello, Dr. Ted Iseghohi Edwards, and Panic Alert Security System Limited.
Also listed as respondents in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Accountant General of the Federation.
It was learnt that the promissory notes were issued to the defendants on September 27, 2021, by the Debt Management Office (DMO) following judgments and orders of mandamus obtained against the Nigerian government and the Minister of Finance by the defendants, who were said to have been engaged by the Nigerian government and ALGON.
The plaintiffs, among others, are contending that the promissory notes are invalid, having been wrongly issued in violation of relevant laws, adding that although the promissory notes were executed by the then Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Director General of the DMO, the notes were not signed as required.
The plaintiffs further argued that “the promissory notes in issue were wrongly and unlawfully changed on the assets and revenues of the federation instead of the assets and revenues of the states and local governments, who incurred the applicable loans/debts”.
A Principal State Counsel in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Oyinlade Koleosho, reportedly stated in a supporting affidavit that the promissory notes were wrongly and invalidly issued against the assets of the federation, stressing that sections 314 and 317 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have separated the assets of a state or local government from the assets of the federation or the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Koleosho further argued that the 62 promissory notes issued to the defendants are invalid because they were charged on the assets of the Fed Govt, which is not indebted to any of the defendants.
Also, the plaintiffs claimed that the Federal Government of Nigeria did not engage any of the defendants, saying there is no valid consideration for the promissory notes issued to the defendants.
List Of Consultants Issued Promissory Notes
Court documents showed that FSDH Merchant Bank Limited was issued 10 promissory notes for a total value of $67,925,661.00, at the rate of $6,499,561.00 per note (allegedly for the benefit of Nwoko).
Gregory Nangor Lar, who is described as Nwoko’s agent, was issued two promissory notes “for the account/benefit of the second defendant (Nwoko) for the total value of $732,511.00 at the rate of $366,256.00 per note”.
Riok Nigeria Limited was issued 10 Federal Government of Nigeria promissory notes issued for a total value of $142,028, 941.00, at the rate of $14,202,895.00 per note.
Prince Orji Nwafor Orizu was issued 10 promissory notes for a total value of $1,219,440.00 at the rate of $121,944.00 per promissory note.
Olaitan Bello is said to have been issued eight promissory notes for a total value of $215,195.00 at the rate of $21,524.00 per promissory note.
Dr. Ted Iseghohi Edwards is said to have got 10 promissory notes for the value of $159,000,000.00, at the rate of $15,900,000.00 per note.
Panic Alert Security System Limited was also issued 10 promissory notes for a value of $47,831,920.00, the total value of the 10 notes, with a value of $4,783,192.00 per note.