The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, dismissed a suit filed by Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) against Edo Government, asking for an order to freeze the state’s accounts.
Justice Okon Abang, in a ruling on an ex-parte motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/667/2013 brought by Counsel to JUSUN, Muheeb Komolafe, said the application, coming less than a month before the governorship election scheduled for Sept 19, was designed to cripple governance in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that JUSUN, on behalf of judiciary workers in Edo, filed the suit to seek the payment of its members’ salaries and entitlements spanning seven months.
Among the accounts JUSUN also sort to be frozen by the court was that attached to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).
According to Justice Abang, this application was filed in bad faith and it is reasonably believed to have an ulterior motive.
“It is ill-motivated because the judgment of this court can still be enforced even after the election in Edo State.
“The reason offered by JUSUN for bringing this application during 2020 annual vacation of the court in the course of the forthcoming election in Edo State and the purported claim of controversy being generated by two leading political parties in Edo State and also the threat to order closure of all bank accounts of Edo State by faction of the Edo State House of Assembly, my lord, these are not good and substantial reasons; that application of this nature is vague and empty to be filed during annual vacation, a month before the election to cripple the activities of government,” he held.
He restated that the outcome of the Edo poll would not affect the subsisting judgment of the court dated Jan. 13, 2014, even when there was no appeal.
According to him, any of the parties that wins election would have no choice than to comply with the subsisting judgment provided that the learned counsel for the judgment creditor or the judgment creditor itself will do the proper thing by ascertaining the actual amount they are entitled to. Justice Abang, who held that the application was lacking in merit, described it as “vague” for failing to state how much the union members were being owed by the state government.
The judge said the action was an abuse of court process. He, thereafter, dismissed the suit and adjourned till Sept. 30 for hearing of the lawsuit against 35 other state governors and their attorneys general.
NAN recalls that the decision of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Jan. 13, 2014, was in favour of financial autonomy for judiciary and the judgement is yet to be complied with or appealed by the state governors