The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja has issued an order to freeze the accounts of the Oyo state government in ten commercial banks across the country.
The order was issued by Justice A. O. Ebong in a ruling on a proceeding initiated by ex-council chiefs in Oyo state, sacked on May 29, 2019 by 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 garnishee proceeding is intended by the ex-council chiefs, led by Bashorun Majeed Ajuwon, to recover the balance of N3,424,889,425.60 (N3.5b) which is outstanding from the actual judgment sum, from which Makinde paid only N1.5B 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 N50million, 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 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 next year for 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 similar judgment in respect of Katsina State and ordered both states to pay the salaries and allowances of the effected ex-council chiefs.
Lawyer 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.