Governors of the 36 states in the country have been dragged before a Federal High Court in Abuja over plans to borrow N17trillion from the pension funds.

In the suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/1668/2020, the governors were dragged before the court under the umbrella body of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

Two lawyers, Ezea Emmanuel and Olivia Chukwueze, on behalf of the plaintiff, Jennifer Kennedy, listed the director-general, Nigeria Governors Forum, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), the attorneys-general of the 36 states of federation, the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the office of the director-general, National Pension Commission as defendants in the suit.

In the suit dated December 14, 2020, the plaintiff prayed the court for the determination of the following questions: “Whether the recommendation by the Kaduna state governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai to the NGF to borrow a portion of the accumulated Pension Funds for investment in the Nigeria Sovereign Investment and the acceptance of same by the Nigeria Governors Forum does not run fowl of the copious provisions of Section 210 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended), Sections 85, 86, and 87 of the Pension Reform Act of 2014.

“Whether the Nigeria Governors’ Forum’s intention to borrow the whooping sum of N17Trllion from the Contributory Pension Scheme as contained in a communiqué of the 22nd teleconference meeting of the NGF held in the month of December, 2020 and signed by its chairman, Ekiti state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, does not negate the spirit and intendment of the wealthy provisions of Section 210 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended Sections 85,86, and 87 of the Pension Reform Act of 2014”.

Accordingly, the plaintiff prayed the court for the following reliefs: “A DECLARATION that the recommendation by the Kaduna state governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai to the Nigeria Governors Forum to borrow a portion of the accumulated Pension Fund for investment in the Nigeria Sovereign Investment, and the acceptance of same by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum run fowl of the copious provisions of Section 210 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended), Sections 85, 86, and 87 of the Pension Reform Act of 2014.

“A DECLARATION that the Nigeria Governors Forum’s intention to borrow the whooping sum of N17Trillion from the Contributory Pension Scheme as contained in a communiqué of the 22nd teleconference meeting of the NGF held in the month of December, 2020 and signed by its chairman, Ekiti state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi do negate the spirit and intendment of the wealthy provisions of Section 210 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended), Sections 85,86, and 87 of the Pension Reform Act of 2014”.

The plaintiff further prayed the court for an order of mandamus compelling the federal government to refuse the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigeria Governors Forum from tampering with the Contributory Pension Fund in any manner howsoever.

The plaintiff’s lawyers also prayed for an order setting aside such decisions of the governors as evidenced in the communiqué signed by the chairman.

She asked for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 5th defendant, director-general of PenCom from endorsing what she described as the unlawful attempt of the governors to siphon the pension fund.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.

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