A federal high court in Abuja has set aside a consent judgment in favour of Panic Alert Security Systems Limited against the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Panic Alert Security Systems Limited is one of the beneficiaries of the controversial payment of $418 million to consultants, a contentious issue between the three tiers of government.
The payment is said to be for professional services in the Paris Club refund to the state government.
The company had relied on the consent judgment to lay claim to professional fees of $47.821,920.
Last year, the court stopped the federal government from deducting $418 million from the bank accounts of the 36 states.
The governors had accused Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), of alleged involvement in the controversial payment.
The governors’ forum later instructed its counsel, Paul Harris Ogbole, SAN, to challenge the consent judgment the AGF relied on in court.
In a ruling delivered on Tuesday, John Tsoho, the judge, held that the said consent judgment, in its entirety, was entered without jurisdiction.
The court agreed with counsel to the NGF that the reliefs claimed by Panic Alert Systems Limited in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/123/2018, were premised on a simple contract which by section 251 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) strips the court ab initio the required jurisdiction to entertain such matters.
Accordingly, the court set aside the consent judgment.
By the ruling, all approvals by the AGF, the president, the minister of finance, the accountant-general of the federation and the Debt Management Office (DMO) arising from, related to or concerning Panic Alert’s claims have been voided.
It also means that all promissory notes, cheques or any financial instrument issued by the federal government in favour of Panic Alert were nullified and cancelled and of no effect whatsoever.