N3.5bn Debt: Ex - LG Political Office Holders Meet Ogun Finance Commissioner - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Monday, June 20, 2022

N3.5bn Debt: Ex - LG Political Office Holders Meet Ogun Finance Commissioner

 • Ex - LG Political Office Holders (Nuberu) sitting (1st from L.H.S)

The Daily Crucible | Monday, June 20, 2022

 By Dare Oguntoyinbo, Ibadan

Representatives of Ogun State Ex Local Government Political Office Holders (12 - 15 Congress) have met with the State Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, to explore ways of resolving the issues sorrounding a N3.5 billion judgement debt delivered against the state government by an Ibadan division of the National Industrial Court(NIC).

The group led by Com. Nuberu Olufemi Adesanya which recently met with the Commissioner in the ministry's Conference Room, Okemosan, poured out members' minds to him over their plights following series of efforts made to have the debt paid by the state government but without success.

The Daily Crucible gathered that Okubadejo who was touched by their pitiable situation, apologised on behalf of the immediate past government and the current one in Ogun State, pledging to convey their message to the appropriate quarters in respect of the said N3.5bn judgement debt.

The National Industrial Court(NIC) sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, had in April this year rejected an application brought before it by the Ogun State Government seeking a stay of execution of N3.5billion naira judgement debt it had earlier ordered against the state.

The NIC delivered the said judgement on last Valentine's Day, ordering Ogun Government to pay former local government political office holders in the state, both elected and appointed (2012-2015 congress), the sum of N3.5 billion.

The said N3.5bn was deemed the amount deducted from their salaries by the then administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Amosun is a serving Senator representing Ogun Central at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly.

The political office holders, numbering over 500 had dragged the state government, governor Dapo Abiodun and over a dozen others to the Industrial Court in May 2020, after several attempts to have an audience with the governor failed.

It was learnt that Amosun had in a written memo, deducted one-third of the salaries of the political office holders, under the guise that the money was being saved on their behalf.

But the political office holders, however, reckoned that the action of the then governor contravened the Ogun State Local Government Law 2008.

They also complained that when they were leaving office in 2015, the money was not given to them.

Delivering judgement on the matter on that Lovers Day of February 14, Justice Dele Peters held that deducting the salaries of the appointees via a memo was illegal, adding that anything against statutory law is obnoxious, null and void.

Justice Peters therefore, ordered the state government to pay the deducted salaries of the political office holders with 15% interest within 30 days to the day the judgement was delivered but the state government later rushed to the appellate Court to appeal the judgement.

However, while notice of appeal was on, the state also applied for stay of order over the N3.5bn judgement debt.

When the matter came up for mention on April 7, 2022, the judgement debtors( Ogun State Government & 20LGs of Ogun State ) moved the application for a stay of execution and notified the court that Notice of Appeal had been filed and attached to the affidavit in support.

But the Judgement creditors counsel, Oladimeji Olabode vehemently countered and opposed the application on points of law, positing that they were several procedural defects in the application and concluded that what the judgement debtors referred to as an application was not tenable in law. 

In his argument, he stated that the judgement debtors failed to bring cause before the Court to warrant such application.

 He further told the court that the counsel to the judgement debtors failed to avail their application with the provisions of Order 64 rule 13(2) of the National Industrial Court procedure, noting that "For any stay of execution to be valid, the following must be followed; (a) Evidence of  Notice of Appeal (a) Certified true Copy of the Judgement being appealed (c) Evidence of record of Appeals (d) Evidence that the appeal has been entered."

He therefore urged the court to refuse the application in its entirety and dismissed it  as useless and defective. 

Counsel for judgement creditors also  pleaded that in case the court wishes to grant the application, it should be a conditional stay, whereby the judgement debtors pays the said N3.5bn into an interest yielding account.

In his ruling, the Presiding Judge, Justice J D Peters after carefully listened to the both parties, rejected Ogun  government's application in its entirety. 

However, the matter is still pending at the Appeal Court.

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