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Oyo State Government’s Accounts Frozen: High Court Issues Order Amid Legal Battle

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The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has wielded its authority in the ongoing legal tussle involving the Oyo State Government, freezing the Government’s accounts across ten major commercial banks in Nigeria. 

This move comes as part of a long-lasted legal battle initiated by ousted council chiefs in Oyo State, who were dismissed abruptly by Governor Seyi Makinde on May 29, 2019.

The crux of the matter lies in a N4.9 billion judgment secured by these former council chiefs against Governor Makinde and various state officials and agencies in 2021. Determined to reclaim the outstanding balance of N3.5 billion from the judgment sum, the ex-council chiefs, led by Bashorun Majeed Ajuwon, have taken center stage in this legal clash.

Despite a partial payment of N1.5 billion by Governor Makinde in 2022, a substantial portion of the court-ordered sum remains unpaid, sparking this resolute action to freeze the state’s accounts.

The affected banks where the Oyo State Government’s accounts are now frozen include Zenith Bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA), Wema Bank, First Bank of Nigeria, Ecobank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank, Polaris Bank, Jaiz Bank, and Union Bank.

Justice Anitte Ebong, in a decisive ruling, has summoned these banks to file affidavits and present themselves in court on the upcoming adjourned date, compelling them to justify why the garnishee orders should not be made absolute. The judge has wielded authority by imposing a cost of N300,000.00 against the judgment debtors and has mandated the service of a copy of the order on Governor Makinde and other involved parties. The hearing was adjourned until January 5, 2024.

Also, at the heart of this legal wrangle lies the Supreme Court’s pivotal decision on May 7, 2021, which nullified Governor Makinde’s dismissal of elected Local Government Chairmen and Councillors in Oyo State. Both Oyo and Katsina States were instructed by the court to honor the salaries and allowances of the affected ex-council chiefs.

While Katsina State swiftly adhered to the court’s order, the Oyo State Government, under Governor Makinde’s leadership, has yet to fulfill its obligation to compensate the dismissed council chiefs, despite the Supreme Court’s unequivocal ruling.

The adjournment until January 2024 sets the stage for a critical chapter in this riveting legal saga between ex-council chiefs and Governor Makinde Seyi of Oyo State.

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