A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja has issued an order freezing the accounts of the Oyo State Government in 10 commercial banks in the country.
The order was issued by Justice Anitte Ebong in a ruling on a garnishee proceeding initiated by ex-council chiefs in Oyo State, sacked on May 29, 2019, by Governor Seyi Makinde, and who in 2021 got a N4.9bn judgement against Makinde and other officials and agencies of the state.
The garnishee proceeding is intended by the ex-council chiefs, led by Bashorun Majeed Ajuwon, to recover the balance of N3.5bn which is outstanding from the actual judgement sum, from which Makinde paid only N1.5bn in 2022.
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.
In a ruling, Justice Ebong ordered the banks to file affidavits and attend the 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 a cost against the judgement debtors and 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 judgement, voiding Makinde’s sack of elected Local Government Chairmen and Councillors in Oyo State, the apex court gave a similar judgement in respect of Katsina State and ordered both states to pay the salaries and allowances of the effected ex-council chiefs.
Justice Ejembi Eko, who delivered the lead judgment in the Oyo State case, condemned the decision by Makinde to unlawfully sack the elected council chiefs before the end of their tenure.
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 judgement.