From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Government on Thursday explained that the delay in payment of December 2020 salaries was as a result of garnishee court orders on all government accounts by some aggrieved non indigenes in connivance with some Benue indigenes.
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Ngunan Addingi and the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Mike Gusa gave the explanation while briefing newsmen at the Government House in Makurdi.
Addingi disclosed that some aggrieved non indigenes working in the state but were redeployed to their states in 2007 under the State Universal Basic Education Board, (SUBEB) took the State Government to court to protest the action.
Addingi explained further that 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 state civil service.
She however noted that counsel to the applicants in turn went back to court asking for monetary compensation which was not originally part of the judgment.
The Information Commissioner said after the applicants failed to get the courts to do their wish in Benue, they, through Barrister Ucha Ulegede and J.S. Okutepa, (SAN) went to different courts in Nasarawa and Federal Capital Territory respectively to secure garnishee orders on all accounts of the state.
She said the orders were served yesterday, thereby crippling all government activities including payment of salaries at this crucial period of the year.
On his part, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Gusa while describing the judgment as fraudulent, stated that the courts lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter, especially as the initial judgment had no monetary attachment.
Gusa however intimated that the State Government had initiated processes to set aside the garnishee orders as soon as possible, stressing that government would also approach the National Judicial Council for necessary action against the judges involved.