Judiciary autonomy: JUSUN begins garnishee proceedings against Edo, Nasarawa

Judiciary autonomy: JUSUN begins garnishee proceedings against Edo, Nasarawa

The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria has commenced garnishee proceedings against Edo and Nasarawa states as part of moves to enforce the January 13, 2014 judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja, granting financial autonomy to the nation’s judiciary.

The union is seeking an order of the court releasing to the Nasarawa State judiciary, from the account of the state with the Central Bank of Nigeria, about N2bn, being arrears of allocation due for the judiciary in the state.

JUSUN also filed similar proceedings against the Edo State Government after the state government allegedly failed to honour the terms of agreement reached with the union.

The union initiated the garnishee proceedings before the Federal High Court, Abuja, where it seeks, among others, an order compelling the CBN to pay to the Nasarawa State Judiciary the amount due to it since April 2015 from the funds allocated to the state government in the Federation Account.

In the motion filed on September 9, 2016, JUSUN seeks a garnishee order attaching N1,744,634,700.90k, “being arrears of recurrent/capital expenditure in suit: FHC/ABJ/667/2013 due to the judgment creditor/applicant

(JUSUN) and standing to the credit of the Executive Governor and the Attorney General of Nasarawa State in their accounts with the garnishee (CBN).”

JUSUN also seeks a similar order in relation to another N251,386,848.91k, “being the judgment sum for one month due to the judgment creditor/applicant and standing to the credit of the judgment debtors in their accounts with the garnishee from September 2016 upward.”

The union’s National Assistant Financial Secretary, Ahmed Ahmed, said, in a supporting affidavit, that the suit was informed by the failure of the Nasarawa State Governor and the state’s Attorney General to honour an agreement between them following the January 13, 2014 judgment of the court in which the Federal Government and states were ordered to ensure prompt release of allocations due to the judiciary.

He added that in view of the failure of the Nasarawa State Governor and the Attorney General to comply with the provisions of the memorandum they signed on May 18, 2015 to commence monthly disbursement of the outstanding allocation from April 2015, it was now (as of September this year) indebted to the state’s judiciary to the tune of about N2b.

JUSUN has also applied to the court to reopen the suit it earlier filed against the Edo State Government over the state’s alleged failure to pay outstanding salaries owed judicial workers.

It has filed a motion on September 8, 2016, urging the court to relist the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/667/2013, which it earlier withdrew upon agreement by the state to pay its judicial workers their outstanding salaries.

JUSUN’s Legal Officer, Placidus Nnamani, stated, in a supporting affidavit, that the decision to seek the reopening of the case was informed by the alleged refusal of the Edo State Government to honour its earlier pledge to pay the judicial workers their outstanding salaries.

Source: The Punch

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