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N2.5 billion debt: Court orders CBN, three other banks to disclose ABU’s credit balance

The National Industrial Court, Abuja, on Monday ordered four banks to within 14 days disclose the balance standing of all accounts operated by the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria.

The listed banks are: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), First Bank Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, and ABU Microfinance Bank (Main and Kongo Campuses).

The judge, Rakiya Haastrup, made the order while ruling on a motion ex-parte, filed by 110 staff of the university, wrongly sacked by the authority of the institution.

The motion was brought pursuant to Order 51 of the Rules of the Court and Section 83 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, CAP.407, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“The court has scrutinised this application and therefore holds that the prayers of the applicant/judgment creditors remain valid. The three prayers are hereby granted.

“All the named garnishee banks are ordered to file and serve on the applicant/judgment creditor, sworn affidavit disclosing the balance standing to the respondent/judgment debtors’ account maintained with the garnishees.

“They should show cause why the amounts standing to the credit of the debtors should not be used to satisfy the judgment debt within 14 days from the date of receipt of the order’’, she said.

The judge also made an order mandating the attachment of the amount standing to the credit of the respondents/judgment debtors with the garnishees in favour of the judgment creditor.

According to her, the exhibition of the outstanding amount is necessary in order to satisfy the judgment debt owed by virtue of Justice P.O. Lifu’s judgment delivered on November 30, 2015.

Mrs. Haastrup also made an order, directing the banks to show cause why they should not pay the N2.5 billion plus Claimant/Judgment Creditors Salaries from July 2016 to date.

She held that the amount to be paid included 10 per cent interest awarded the applicant/judgment creditors in the judgment as outstanding salaries and other emoluments.

The court also granted leave to the applicant/judgment creditors to serve the court order and other processes in the case on the garnishee banks by service at their Regional Headquarters in Abuja.

The court, had in November 2017 struck out a motion of stay of execution, filed by the university to stall the payment of the amount.

Mrs. Haastrup, in her ruling, maintained that the motion was “not competent, lacking in merit and therefore refused to grant it.

She said the application had not shown any exceptional circumstances to justify that the institution had no resources to pay the amount ordered by the court on November 30, 2015.

The application had indicated that the defendants lacked the resources to settle the workers and would be financially crippled if allowed to pay the estranged workers the said sum.

The 110 workers, whose appointments were terminated in 1996, had dragged the university to court, claiming they were wrongly terminated.

They joined the Minister of Education, the Attorney-General of the Federation, and the Minister of Justice, as co-defendants in the suit.

The court, on November 30, 2015, ruled in favour of the workers, ordering the university to reinstate them and pay their entitlements.

The university is yet to comply with the orders, which has necessitated this latest applicant seeking the garnishing of the institution’s bank accounts with the above four banks.

The judge has fixed February 22 for the hearing of the substantive application.



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