The National Industrial Court, on Tuesday ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to pay a judgment sum into an interest yielding account in the name of the court’s Registrar.
The judgment sum of N2.5 billion as ordered by the court was contained in a judgment in a garneshee proceeding delivered by the same court on Jan. 27, in favour of 110 disengaged staff of the Ahmadu Bello University ( ABU), Zaria, that were sacked in 1996.
Joined in the suit as respondents are the 110 disengaged staff, ABU, Zaria, the Minister, Federal Ministry of Education and the Attorney General of the Federation & Minister of Justice, as first, second, third and fourth respondents respectively.
The matter which was slated for ruling came up before Justice Rakiya Hasstrup.
She stated that she arrived at the decision having gone through the processes, authorities relied upon and the oral submissions made by both counsel.
The judge held that the application as sought for by the applicant- CBN, seeking for the stay of execution, was granted on the condition that the judgment sum be paid into an interest yielding account opened in the court Registrar’s name.
The court clarified that for the stay of execution application to take effect, the applicant must comply with the directive of the court by making the deposit of the judgment sum.
The court however, refused the applicant’s second prayer seeking that the garnishee order made absolute to be set aside.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that CBN had brought an application before the court dated and filed on April 14 brought pursuant to order 64, rules 8 and 13 of the NICN Civil Procedure of 2017.
The application was accompanied by an 18-paragraphs affidavit and supported by three exhibits.
NAN also reports that the applications had prayed for three orders of the court.
The first prayer was for an order of stay of execution of the earlier judgment of the court delivered on Jan.27,pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.
The second prayer of the appellant was an order of the court setting aside the garnishee order made absolute and any order initiated any other orders made against it.
The CBN also as its final prayer, any order the court may deem fit in the suit.
In the last adjourned date, the first respondent counsel, Femi Adedeji said he was not opposing the application for stay of execution on the condition that the applicant comply to order 64, rule 8 (3) of the court by depositing the judgment sum with the court’s Registrar.
Matthias Agboni, the applicant’s counsel had replied that there was no need for his client to make such deposit because it could cater for the judgment sum after the Court of Appeal determine the suit in the first respondent’s favour.
NAN also reports that the appointments of 110 ABU staff were terminated in 1996, when the institution was run by a Sole Administrator.
They approached the court in 2012, after failure of the institution to implement the recommendations of various visitation panels, which recommended that they be reinstated and all their entitlements paid.
The court ruled in favour of the staff in 2015 and ordered the university to reinstate them and pay their entitlements, which amounted to N2.5 billion.
Non-compliance with the court judgment necessitated the garnishee order on the institution’s bank accounts in 2017.
However, when the garnishee proceeding was ongoing, the judgment debtors filed for a stay of proceeding as they had filed an appeal before Appeal Court in Nov.2018, contesting the 2015 judgment.
The Court of Appeal on its part on May 24,2021, dismissed the appeal and affirmed the decision of the lower court.
The NICN then on Jan. 27 through a ruling made an order absolute in a garnishee proceeding ordering the CBN the pay the disengaged staff.