Court fixes April 19 for suit seeking to stop Kano govt from taking N300bn loan

March 16, 2021
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A Federal High Court sitting in Kano, on Tuesday fixed April 19, for hearing in an application filed by the Centre for Awareness on Justice and Accountability(CAJA), seeking for an order stopping the Kano State Government from borrowing N300 billion from China for a light rail project.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the interim injunction suit was filed by Kabiru Sa’idu-Dakata and CAJA, challenging the state government from obtaining the loan from China.

The respondents in the suit are the Kano State Government, Senate President, Kano State House of Assembly, Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Finance, Debt Management Office, China EXIM Bank and China Embassy.

At the resumed sitting counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr Bashir Yusuf, told the court that the matter was slated for hearing of several applications.

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He told the court that party seeking to be joined in the suit served his client in court.

“We need time to study and respond on the application appropriately and sought for an adjournment”

Yusuf argued that where there is any application that is before the court like motion of joinder application, motion for extension of time and amendment can all be heard and determined before hearing in the motion of preliminary objection.

Responding, counsel to the the State government, Chief Marcelliinus Duru, also argued that the issue of jurisdiction was very fundamental once an issue is raised before the court.

Duru had earlier filed a motion and counter affidavit dated and filed Jan. 26, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear and determine the suit.

Also responding Counsel to the Senate President, Prof. Mamman Lawan-Yusufari , SAN, sought for an extension of time, adding that his client was served in January.

”The documents did not reach my table  until March.

” We are asking for an extension of time to file our response. We are out of time because of the delay the Senate President getting the documents personally”

NAN reports that counsel to Incorporated Trustees of Northern Patriotic Fund and Mr Ibrahim Ali, Lukman Abdallah, sought to be joined in the suit as respondent .

Abdallah filed a joinder application dated Jan.28, in respect of joining the suit, adding that the organisation is based in Northern Nigeria and Ali is also an indigene of Kano state.

“The interest to join the suit is based on the outcome of the judgment which may affect him directly or indirectly.

Justice Sa’adatu Ibrahim-Mark, adjourned the matter until April 19, for hearing.

NAN reports that the plaintiffs in their prayers, sought the court to interpret whether the state government has the power or authority for their failure to follow due process to obtain N300 billion loan from China Exim Bank for the issue of light rail.

The group alleged that all these procedures of external borrowing have not been complied with by the first respondent.

The revenue of Kano government as at 2019, it added, stands at not more than N40.6 billion and the eternal loan requested by the first respondent is about N300 billion”

The plaintiffs further prayed that the court to interpret the section that says all states in Nigeria must ensure that their total loans do not exceed 250 per cent of their revenue of the preceding year.

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