A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, has issued an order freezing the accounts of the Oyo State Government in ten commercial banks in the country.
The order was issued by Justice A. O. Ebong in a ruling on a garnishee proceeding initiated by ex-council leaders in Oyo State, who were sacked on May 29, 2019 by Governor Seyi Makinde.
The sacked local government chairmen and councillors had, in 2021, got a N4,874,889,425.60 judgment against Makinde and other officials/agencies of the state.
The other officials/agencies listed with Makinde as judgment debtors, by virtue of the May 7, 2021 judgment of the Supreme Court, are the Attorney-General, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Accountant-General of Oyo State, Speaker of the House of Assembly, the House of Assembly and the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC).
The garnishee proceeding was intended by the ex-council leaders, led by Bashorun Majeed Ajuwon, to recover the balance of N3,424,889,425.60 (N3.5 billion) which is outstanding from the actual judgment sum, from which Makinde paid only N1.5 billion 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 N50 million, which it awarded as cost against Makinde and others in a judgment on December 8, dismissing their appeal.
The banks in which the state government’s accounts were 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 delivered the ruling on December 15 on a motion marked: BW/M/85/2023 but its certified true copy (CTC) was released on Monday.
He ordered the garnishees (the banks) to file affidavits and attend the court on the next adjourned date to show cause why the garnishee orders should not be made absolute.
The judge awarded N300,000.00 as cost against the judgment debtors, and ordered that a copy of the order be served on Makinde and others and adjourned till January 5, 2024, for hearing.