As the alleged fraud associated with the Paris Club refunds rages on, Nigerian Governor’s Forum (NGF) on Sunday advised Ned Munir Nwoko, one of the alleged consultants working on the issue to reserve all his vituperations against the NGF Chairman, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and canvass them on appeal as the law may permit.
In a statement signed, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, Director, Media and Public Affairs, Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat, the NGF, stated that Ned Nwoko, on Saturday 20th August 2022, in a press statement, attempted to blur and obfuscate the real facts and legal issues in controversy by dishing out blatant lies and half-truths about the whole transactions in the Paris Club refund deal.
The NGF, in the statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Sunday, declared that ‘the salient facts on the fraud associated with the refunds can never be changed by a thousand press statements issued by the AGF or any of the Consultants’.
“While NED has vowed to fully enforce the Judgment in FHC/ABJ/CS/130/2013; may we remind him that the law does not permit the enforcement of a Judgment that is on appeal. Let him reserve all his vituperations against the NGF Chairman and canvass them on appeal as the law may permit him”.
NGF described as patently false, the claim by Nwoko that his team was a member of the Federal Government Committee constituted to reconcile figures under the Paris Club refunds to the States and Local Governments.
“No professional advocacy or media campaign to hoodwink the public can change the law. “We are not unmindful of the ridiculous claim by one of the consultants that it was his media campaign that swayed a Federal High Court Judgment in favor of the NGF.
“Interestingly, the public which is the greatest victim in the mismanagement of scare public resources has since been well informed and is on red alert to avert and stop what is apparently an attempt by some ravenous rent seekers masquerading as consultants to further exacerbate the economic woes of citizens under the prevailing dire economic situation.
“The use of libelous language on the person of the Chairman of NGF, who has refused to be compromised and has firmly stood his ground on the unconstitutional and unlawful nature of the consultants’ claims, is not helpful to their case either.
“There NGF is an apolitical organization that operates under defined principles targeted at good governance. Its role in the whole of this Paris Club refund debacle to consultants is to ensure that Nigerian citizens are not unlawfully deprived of resources meant for their development.
“NGF will not, therefore, waste its valuable time to defend unsubstantiated allegations against individuals or persons who are in a position to defend themselves.
“If NED is sure of his facts, he is at liberty to approach the necessary authorities to bring to justice on any person or persons and all conspirators (including himself) who were allegedly involved in misappropriating public resources for campaign financing.
“The NGF hereby states unequivocally that it has not at any time been involved in or been in receipt of USD$100m or any other funds from NED Nwoko to finance elections in any State.
“Perhaps, confirming our fears and that of the public that the AGF has abdicated his role as a public defender and trustee and become the strongest advocate to the consultants is now evident in NED NWOKO’s press statement wherein he praised the role played by the AGF describing it as inevitable.
“NED cannot say that the consultants have no official Platform to canvass their case, when the AGF has, in spite of public protestation, provided the strongest and most virulent platform to campaign for the expeditious payment of the sums claimed.
“The AGF has addressed and issued over half a dozen press statements justifying why the consultants should be immediately paid. Not even NED’S solicitors could have done any better” reads the statement in parts.
By Chidi Ugwu,