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Court may freeze Ekiti govt accounts over non payment of sacked councilors

A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted an order Nisi, to garnishee accounts belonging to the Ekiti State Government in several commercial banks in Nigeria.

Justice Yellin Bogoro granted the order in a suit labelled FHC//L/CS/1229/2021, filed by some local government councillors illegally sacked by Gov. Kayode Fayemi in November 2010.

The applicant, Mr Oladimeji Olugbenga Adewumi, had on behalf of himself and other democratically elected councillors, sued Ekiti Government, as judgment creditors.

The order is contained in a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the ruling delivered on Dec. 9, and made available to newsmen on Monday in Lagos. An order Nisi, directs a garnishee to appear in court on a specific date, and show cause why an order should not be made upon him, for payment to a judgment creditor, the amount of a debt owed by a judgment debtor.

Joined as defendants in the suit are: the Ekiti Government, the Attorney-General of Ekiti, as well as some commercial banks in Nigeria. Some of the affected banks in the suit include: Keystone Bank, First Bank, First City Monument Bank, Heritage Bank, Polaris Bank, Sterling Bank, Union Bank, Unity Bank, Wema Bank, United Bank for Africa. among others.

In his ruling on the motion exparte as filed by the judgment creditor, Bogoro held: “I have considered all the processes filed before this court supporting the application, I have also considered the extant laws under which the application is brought. I find merit in the application and I grant same; application is granted.

“Only that the reliefs sought shall not apply to the Central Bank of Nigeria, reason being that there is no evidence that the consent of the Attorney-General of the Federation has not been sought and obtained.

“That an Order Nisi is granted attaching all sums to the maximum of One Billion, Five Hundred and Twenty-Three Million, Sixty-Six Thousand, Seven Hundred Naira.

“That the order shall be served on the judgment debtors as well as the garnishees. All garnishees and the judgment debtors shall be put on notice.

“That this suit is hereby adjourned until Feb. 8, 2022.”

It would be recalled that in 2013, the Supreme Court had delivered judgment in favour of the elected 16 local government chairmen, vice- chairmen and councillors who were sacked before the expiration of their tenure.

The Supreme Court had ordered that they should be paid their outstanding emoluments.

To compel the state government to pay, the 16 local government chairmen had filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos.

The sacked local government officials had consequently, obtained an Order Nisi, while seeking to be paid the remainder of their emoluments for the term in office, which is a period of 15 months.

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