The Federal Government of Nigeria has been ordered to pay $1.638 billion to Delta State Government, as arrears of revenue due to the state from the 13 per cent Derivation Fund.
Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Monday, granted all the reliefs that were sought by Plaintiff, stressing that the suit, being an action instituted to recover revenue accruing to the Delta State government, qualified for the undefended list.
The Judge declared the suit as “unchallenged.”
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/660/2012, Delta State had approached the court to compel the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, to pay five per cent of $50billion recovered as additional revenue that accrued to the Nigerian government.
It prayed the court to, “direct the Defendant (AGF) to pay the sum of $ 1,638,396,277.00 (One billion, six hundred and thirty-eight million, three hundred and ninety-six thousand, two hundred and seventy-seven United States dollars) being the 13% derivative sum due as arrears of revenue payable to Delta State as assessed.
“A consequential order of this court compelling the defendant to net off and pay five per cent of the said sum as per clause 3.0(v) of the defendant’s letter of engagement dated 12 April, 2018 and clause 3.0(v) the defendant’s further letter of engagement dated 19 November, 2018, pursuant to clause III (d) of the terms of settlement made the (consent) judgement by the Supreme Court.”
As well as, “10% post judgment interest at court rate on the said $ 1,638,396,277.00 (One billion, six hundred and thirty-eight million, three hundred and ninety-six thousand, two hundred and seventy-seven United States dollars) to the plaintiff until final liquidation thereof.”
Nigeria’s attorney general had urged the court to dismiss the suit for lack of competence. The AGF had, in his affidavit before court, argued that Delta State was not a party in the terms of settlement in a similar revenue derivation suit between the Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers State governments delivered by the Supreme Court.
In a preliminary objection dated September 22, 2021, the AGF, had also challenged jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to entertain the suit.
“The subject matter of this suit is a dispute between the Delta State as a State and the Federation,” the attorney general stated.
In his judgement, Justice Okorowo dismissed AGF’s objection, and entered judgement in favour of the Plaintiff (Delta State).
“The suit succeeds on its merit and all the reliefs sought by Plaintiff.
“Judgement is hereby entered on the claims of the plaintiff in this case. This is the order of this court,” Justice Okorowo held.