The Benue State government has revealed that it cannot pay civil servants in the state their December salary as its accounts have been seized following a court order.
Ngunan Adingi, the state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, disclosed this at a press briefing at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi, the state capital, on Thursday.
According to Adingi, the order to garnish government accounts were secured in different courts in Nasarawa and Abuja.
The commissioner lamented that the court order has virtually grounded government activities in the state.
She said: “Some aggrieved non-indigenes working in the state who 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.
“Consequently in 2008, the court in the case between Juliana Igweka and 95 others vs SUBEB and Attorney General of Benue State, declared that the affected persons be reinstated in the civil service,” adding that counsels to the applicants, in turn, went back to court asking for monetary compensation, which was not part of the original judgment.
“But when the applicants failed to get the courts to do their wish in the state, they went to different courts in Nasarawa and Federal Capital Territory to secure garnishee orders on all accounts of the state which was served yesterday (Friday), thereby crippling all government activities, including payment of salaries.”
Also speaking, Michael Gus, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, expressed displeasure over the judgment, saying the courts lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
Gusa noted 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.