George Okoh in Makurdi
Benue State Government has explained that the delay in the payment of December salary is occasioned by the garnishee court orders on all state government accounts.
The state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Rt. Hon. Ngunan Addingi, who briefed journalists yesterday at the Benue Peoples House in Makurdi, said some aggrieved non-indigenes working in the state, who were redeployed to their states in 2007 under the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), had taken the state government to court to protest against the action.
Consequently, in 2008, the court in the case between Juliana Igweka and 95 others versus SUBEB and Attorney General of Benue State declared that the affected persons be reinstated in the civil service, pointing out that counsel to the applicants in turn went back to court asking for monetary compensation which was not part of the original judgment.
Addingi noted that after the applicants failed to get the courts to do their wish in the state, they, through Ucha Ulegede and J.S. Okutepa (SAN), went to different courts in Nasarawa State and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to secure garnishee orders on all accounts of the state which was served yesterday, thereby crippling all government activities, including payment of salaries.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Michael Gusa, described the judgment as fraudulent, saying the courts lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter, more so that the initial judgment had no monetary attachment.
Gusa noted that the state government had initiated processes to set aside the garnishee orders as soon as possible, stressing that the government would also approach the National Judicial Council (NJC) for necessary action against the judges involved.