Justice Okon Abang of A Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday, ordered Zamfara State government to pay a judgment sum of N3.159,017,940.71, to Ecobank Nigeria Limited, being the outstanding indebtedness to the bank.
Justice Abang gave the order while delivering judgment in a suit filed by Ecobank against the Zamfara State government.
Other defendants in the suit are; Zamfara state’s Attorney-General, Zamfara State Ministry of Finance; Accountant-General of the Federation; Attorney-General of the Federation and Central Bank of Nigeria.
Ecobank Plc in a suit listed ‘undefended’, and marked FHC/L/CS/872/2015, had dragged the Zamfara State government before the Court over a loan of N1.5 billion obtained from Oceanic International Bank in the month of May, 2009.
The bank, in an affidavit in support of the suit deposed to by Oluwafunmilola Salami, a lawyer in the government law firm of Kunle Ogunba and Associates, averred that the state government, through the Ministry of Finance, had in the month of May, 2009, received an extended facility of N1.5 billion from the Oceanic International Bank Limited, now consolidated with Ecobank Nigeria Limited.
The deponent averred that the major security for the disbursement of the said loan facility was a conditional Irrevocable Standing Payment Order, ISPO, from the state government Valued Added Tax, VAT, domiciled with the First Bank Plc. She added that facility however, suffered a setback when First Bank Plc stopped warehousing the State’s Federation Account Allocation Committee, FACC, and consequently declined further remittance of the payment of the indebtedness that arose from the subject facility.
The deponent also averred that due to the above, an agreement was reached to restructure the debt in November 2010, after which the Zamfara government honoured rentals for few months. She added that the state government till date had not paid the rentals.
The deponent further averred that upon the restructure, all relevant council and House resolutions were obtained by the Bank alongside another ISPO on the main FACC account domiciled with the then Intercontinental Bank Plc, now Access Bank Plc. And that despite the restructure and the documentations as security between the Bank and Zamfara state government in respect of the loan, the said Zamfara State government has failed and neglected to liquidate the indebtedness, leaving a huge sum of outstanding and yet to be liquidated debt.
Consequently, Ecobank Limited through its lawyer, Mr. Kunle Ogunba, approached the court for the following claims; judgment against the Zamfara State government, the state’s Attorney-General and Ministry of Finance, jointly and severally in the sum of N3, 159,017,940.71, being the outstanding indebtedness and yet to be liquidated sum on the facility extended to the Zamfara State government by the legacy Oceanic International Bank Plc.
An interest on the said sum at the rate of 30 percent per annum from March 1, 2013, till the day judgment, and 10 percent rate per annum until final liquidation of the Judgment.
The plaintiff also claimed the sum of N50 million as the cost for the prosecution of the suit. And an order directing the fourth to seventh defendants to deduct the judgment sum and interest thereon from the Finance accruable to Zamfara State government from the Federation accounts.
Also, an order directing the second to seventh defendants to ensure the full and effectual compliance with the judgment of the Court.
But Justice Abang, while granting all the plaintiff’s claims, only award the sum of N50,000,00 as the cost for prosecuting the suit against the first to third.


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