Justice Rakiya Haastrup of the National Industrial Court, has fixed Jan.17 for a report of settlement in the suit between the Ahmadu Bello University, ( ABU), Zaria and 110 disengaged staff of the institution.
At the center of litigation is N2.5 billion which came up on Tuesday before the court.
The disengaged staff counsel, Mr Femi Adedeji, during the hearing, said that at the last adjourned date, Oct. 18, parties agreed to amicably resolve the matter out of court,adding that they agreed to have a joint meeting with committee set up by the institution and that of his clients.
He therefore sought for an adjournment to enable parties to meet and return with a report of settlement.
ABU’s counsel, Mr Abubakar Is’haq, concurred with Adedeji’s submission, saying both of them earlier met and agreed to the meeting to resolve some of the contending issues.
The court asked why issues to be resolved were some and not all.
Is’haq in response said that he had filed a motion stating that the institution had released some money to the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN).
In addition, the counsel reiterated that Adedeji needed to respond to the motion by way of counter to raise some of the contending issues.
Adedeji on his part informed the court that one of the issues was that aside the monetary claim, another issue was on reinstatement of his clients as directed by the court in its judgment, which the institution had not complied with.
Justice Hasstrup ordered that Adedeji respond to the motion, and urged the parties to meet and adjourned the matter until Jan. 17,2023, for a report of settlement.
It would be recalled that the court on May 17 ordered the CBN to pay N2.5 billion in a garnishee proceeding order nissi which was made absolute.
This was after CBN sought for stay of execution, which was granted on the condition that the judgment sum be paid into an interest yielding account opened in the court Registrar’s name.
The court clarified that for the stay of execution application to take effect, that CBN must comply with the directive of the court by making the deposit of the judgment sum.
The 110 ABU staff whose appointments were terminated in 1996, went to the court in 2012, after the institution refused to implement the recommendations of various visitation panels, which recommended that they be reinstated and all their entitlements paid.
The court ruled in favour of the staff in 2015 and ordered the university to reinstate them and pay their entitlements, which amounted to N2.5 billion.
Non-compliance with the court judgment necessitated the garnishee order on the institution’s bank accounts in 2017.
However, when the garnishee proceeding was ongoing, the judgment debtors filed for a stay of proceeding as they had filed an appeal before Appeal Court in Nov.2018, contesting the 2015 judgment.
The Court of Appeal on its part on May 24,2021, dismissed the appeal and affirmed the decision of the lower court.
The NICN then on Jan. 27 through a ruling made an order absolute in a garnishee proceeding ordering the CBN to pay the disengaged staff.