By Olalekan Awojodu
The Benue State government has asked the Supreme Court to stay the execution of the judgment of the National Industrial Court directing the seizure of its N1.4bn worth assets in a garnishee proceedings instituted by 211 aggrieved employees of the state.
Other applicants seeking a similar order from the apex court, are the state Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Taraku Mills and the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.
The applicants are also seeking an order staying action on the garnishee order absolute by the National Industrial Court, pending the determination of the final appeal pending before the court.
In their motion on notice brought pursuant to order 2 rule 28(1) and (4) of the Supreme Court and section 6 (6) of the 1999 constitution, they also prayed the apex court for status quo to be maintained pending the hearing and determination of the substantive appeal before it.
Counsel to the applicant who filed the motion, Mike Assoh submitted that proceeding with enforcement of the garnishee order absolute will render the appeal of the appellants nugatory.
They predicated their application on the grounds that there is already a substantive appeal pending before the Supreme Court challenging the judgment of the Makurdi division of the Court of Appeal which struck out the appeal filed by the state relating to the garnishee proceedings.
It would be recalled that the Makurdi division of the National Industrial Court had on June 3, 2016, made a garnishee order absolute against the state government in favour of the 211 employees of the state led by Aondohemba Agba Injo.
Dissatisfied, the applicants appealed the decision before the Makurdi division of the Court of Appeal where their appeal was struck out.
But in their quest to get justice, an appeal was filed before the Supreme Court seeking to set aside the judgment of the lower courts.
Notwithstanding the pendency of both the substantive appeal and the motion for stay of execution of the garnishee order absolute before the Supreme Court, the judgment Creditors, who are employees of Taraku Mills, went and procure a writ of execution of judgment at the Abuja division of the National Industrial Court, on November 19, 2020, via suit No. NICN/ABJ/241/M/2020.