A federal capital territory (FCT) high court has issued a garnishee order nisi against the Oyo government over N3.3 billion debt owed to former local government chairpersons and councillors sacked in the state in 2019.
A Garnishee order nisi is a court order served on financial institutions, banks or any person believed to be in possession of funds of a judgment debtor.
Its purpose is to compel persons or the institutions served to disclose to the court whether or not they are in possession of funds of the judgment debtor and the specifics of such funds.
Service of this order on any financial institution also operates to freeze the account of the judgment debtor in the event that such debtor maintains an account with the bank.
A. O. Ebong, the presiding judge, issued the order while ruling on a motion ex-parte marked FCT/HC/BW/M/238/2023 filed by the ex-chairpersons and councillors led by Bashorun Majeed, Bosun Ajuwon, and Idris Okusesi.
The ruling was delivered on March 2.
The affected banks are First Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Wema Bank, and Zenith Bank.
The judge ordered the banks to show cause why the order should not be made absolute.
The funds are to settle the outstanding balance of N3,374,889,425.60 from the judgment debt owed to the former LGA chairpersons and councillors sacked by Seyi Makinde, Oyo governor, on May 29, 2019, before the end of their tenure.
Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo, had in May 2019, sacked all the local government chairpersons in the state and appointed caretaker chairmen.
The action of the governor was widely criticised, particularly by the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).
The Oyo state high court and the court of appeal had ruled against the aggrieved chairmen, who further appealed to the supreme court.
In the judgment delivered on May 7, 2021, the supreme court declared the dissolution of local government councils in Oyo state as illegal.
The court, which awarded a cost of N20 million against Makinde, ordered that the ex-chairpersons and councillors (who the governor unlawfully sacked) be paid their salaries and allowances from May 29, 2019, to May 11, 2021, when their tenure ought to have expired.
The garnishee proceeding, initiated for the chairpersons and councillors by their lawyer, Musibau Adetunbi, is in the execution of a judgment they got against the governor and six others from the supreme court.