By John Ikani
Nigerian Lawyers have bemoaned the deliberate refusal of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to pay debts in the last six years, stressing that they have been badly affected by the ugly trend.
The Attorneys and Legal Counsels who aired their grievances in a statement issued by the Director of Legal Services, Centre for Civic Education, Barrister Agomuo Chimaobi, revealed that they were involved in several litigation on behalf of their clients at various Nigerians Courts, which a quite number of cases were won, but Nigerian government refused to pay judgement debts.
They lamented that the unpaid judgement debts are affecting them economically, having used their personal resources to prosecute some of the cases on behalf of their clients.
A copy of the statement seen by Heritage Times, pointed out that the federal government has incurred judgement debts from the lower Courts of the Supreme Court.
The statement reads in part: “Since the inception of the President Mohammed Buhari administration, the president has made efforts in settling and paying off debts owed by the federal government of Nigeria to local contractors, subsidy payment, the education sector.
“However, the Buhari administration since 2015 has not complied in settling and paying for judgement debt owed by the federal government of Nigeria to its citizens, organisations and business entities in Nigeria.
“The debts are judgments which emanated from the Federal High court of Nigeria. The Court of Appeal of Nigeria and the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“These judgement debts are compiled at the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the federation and the minister of justice”.
The lawyers expressed disappointment that the National Assembly appropriated judgement debts from 2015 to 2021, but the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice keeps denying the availability of funds.
“This to us, is apparently unconstitutional for the executive arm of government to continue in neglecting judgements of the Judicial arm of government, especially superior courts of records vested with the powers to adjudicate between individuals, organisations and all arms of government as stated in section 6(1) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
“We are therefore using the mass media as empowered by Section 22 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to cry out for justice through payment of the judgement debts by the federal government.
“We urge the president to rise to the occasion and as a matter of urgent National importance, consider the common man, the citizens of Nigeria whose businesses and assets continue to diminish by the non-payment of judgement debt owed since 2015 and the impact of COVID-19 to our economy. Mr President, please save our souls. As they say ‘justice delayed is justice denied’, it added.