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HomeHeadlinesN3.5bn debt: Abuja Court freezes Oyo govt’s accounts in ten banks

N3.5bn debt: Abuja Court freezes Oyo govt’s accounts in ten banks

N3.5bn debt: Abuja Court freezes Oyo govt’s accounts in ten banks

N3.5bn debt: Abuja Court freezes Oyo govt’s accounts in ten banks

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Makinde.

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, has issued an order freezing the accounts of the Oyo State Government in ten commercial banks in the country.

The order was issued by Justice A. O. Ebong in a ruling on a garnishee proceeding initiated by ex-council chiefs in Oyo State, sacked on May 29, 2019, by that state Governor, Seyi Makinde, and who, in 2021 got a N4,874,889,425.60 judgment against Makinde and other officials/agencies of the state.

The other officials/agencies listed with Makinde as judgment debtors, by the May 7, 2021 judgment of the Supreme Court, are the Attorney General, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs,  Accountant General of Oyo State, Speaker of the House of Assembly, the House of Assembly and the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC).

The garnishee proceeding is intended by the ex-council chiefs, led by Bashorun Majeed Ajuwon, to recover the balance of N3,424,889,425.60 (N3.5 billion) which is outstanding from the actual judgment sum, from which Makinde paid only N1.5 billion in 2022.

What was outstanding in respect of the Supreme Court judgment was N3,374,889,425.60, but the Court of Appeal in Abuja added N50 million, which it awarded as cost against Makinde and others in a judgment on December 8, dismissing their appeal.

 

The banks in which the Oyo State Government’s accounts are blocked are; Zenith Bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA), Wema Bank, First Bank of Nigeria, Ecobank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank, Polaris Bank, Jaiz Bank and Union Bank.

Justice Ebong, in the ruling delivered on December 15 on a motion marked: BW/M/85/2023, ordered the garnishees (the banks) to “file affidavits and attend this court on the next adjourned date to show cause why the garnishee orders nisi hereby granted should not be made absolute.”

The judge awarded N300,000.00 as cost against the judgment debtors; ordered that a copy of the order be served on Makinde and others and adjourned till January 5 2024 for a hearing.

On May 7, 2021, when the Supreme Court gave judgment, voiding Makinde’s sack of elected Local Government Chairmen and Councillors in Oyo State, the apex court gave a similar judgment in respect of Katsina State and ordered both states to pay the salaries and allowances of the affected ex-council chiefs.

Justice Ejembi Eko, who delivered the lead judgment in the Oyo State case, condemned Makinde’s decision to unlawfully sack the elected council chiefs before the end of their tenure.

Justice Eko said: “I will not conclude this appeal without commenting on the disturbing ugly face of impunity displayed by the Governor of Oyo State on 29th May 2019 which is tantamount to executive lawlessness, outrightly and vehemently condemned.

“Local Government Chairman and Councillors, being persons duly elected by the people cannot just be removed and their councils dissolved whimsically and arbitrarily by any other elected persons in clear abuse of their office and powers. It is not right in law and under the Constitution to do that.”

While the Katsina State Government has since paid its ex-council chiefs, who were unlawfully sacked, the Oyo State Government, under Makinde has failed to pay the ex-council chiefs he sacked before the end of their tenure, and which sack the Supreme Court voided in its May 7, 2021 judgment in the appeal marked: SC/CV/556/2020.

Counsel to the ex-council chiefs, Musibau Adetunbi (SAN) had, during a hearing in the appeal filed by Makinde and others before the Court of Appeal, Abuja, told the court that some of his clients have died while others are suffering after they were unjustly sacked as elected council officials by Makinde, who he blamed for the delay in paying the judgment debt.

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