N7 billion: Confusion in the Supreme Court as Northern states slam Federal Government with suit

by Lekan Olanrewaju

The Supreme Court earlier this week adjourned a case against the Federal Government due to confusion over who the proper representative was. A suit had been filed by 16 northern states for the payment of N7 billion as outstanding value of the assets of the defunct northern states’ marketing board but the hearing could not take place, as two senior advocates of Nigeria, Damien Dodo and Ade Okeaya-Ineh were both in court to represent the Federal Government. The court however could not understand why the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, would brief two lawyers.

According to Damien Dodo, he was the first to be selected, but he said he would be willing to work with the other lawyer, Okeaya-Ineh. The Chief-Justice of Nigeria, Dahiru Musdapher was however, not satisfied with the explanation decided to adjourn the case the 26th of April.

Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara states had filed the suit to compel the federal government to pay them N7 billion as the value of the assets of the defunct Northern States Marketing Board (NSMB).

The states allege that the board was forcefully taken over by the federal government in 1977 from the then north-western, north-central, Kano, north-eastern and central-western states, without payments.

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