The 110 former staff members of ABU Zaria obtained a N2.5 billion court judgement in 2015 following their unlawful disengagement by the university in 1996.
The out-of-court settlement meeting on the execution of N2.5 billion judgement debt between Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, and its 110 disengaged staff members has ended in a deadlock.
Isaac Enabhule, the lawyer to the judgment creditors, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Zaria, Kaduna State, that the meeting was convened at the instance of the university authorities.
He said they were about executing the judgement worth over N2 billion against the ABU through legal means when the university asked for settlement, and his clients consented to holding talks over it.
He explained that a court judgement can be compromised through settlement and the meeting was to arrive at a decision that would be favourable to all parties and report back to the court on 11 December.
“The meeting was inconclusive because a detail of the data sent by PTAD (Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate) to ABU regarding the pensions of the unjustly retired officers of the university was sent to Abuja.
“Our clients (judgement creditors) don’t have a copy; our clients, therefore, appear not to agree with the data,” he said.
He added that some of his clients were put under PENCOM while others were under PTAD, hence the need for the clients to confirm the true position of what PTAD sent to ABU.
However, Mr Enabhule assured that the meeting would be reconvened between now and 11 December and report back to the court on the terms of settlement.
Daniel Bode, former Deputy Bursar of ABU, who was the leader of the judgement creditors, also told NAN that prior to the court judgement, “there were three different white papers that recommended our reinstatement”.
According to him, the three different white papers that recommended their reinstatement were not implemented and they proceeded to court and obtained a judgement on 30 November 2015.
“There was an appeal by the respondent, ABU, Federal Ministry of Education and Attorney General of Federation, but the appeal was dismissed.
“We made computation of our entitlements which was approved by the court and the judgement debtors did not challenge it at the court until after we applied for the execution of the judgement,” he said.
Mr Bode lamented that the judgement debtors (the university) were intentionally delaying the execution of the judgement, as such they would not shift ground on their demand and they knew most of them were aging.
University team speaks
However, Sadiq Momoh-Jimoh, leader of the ABU team and the Chairman of the meeting, said ABU was ready for the out-of-court settlement.
He attributed the long delay for not holding the settlement meeting to the delay in obtaining the data from PTAD relating to issues on pension and gratuity of the 110 judgement creditors.
Similarly, Abubakar Is’haq, a member of the legal team from the ABU, said the documents from PTAD had been forwarded to one of the counsels for the judgement creditors, Femi Adedeji, on 4 November.
NAN recalls that the appointments of 110 ABU staff members were terminated in 1996.
They approached the court in 2012 after the failure of the institution to implement the recommendations of various visitation panels, which recommended that they be reinstated and all their entitlements paid.
NAN also recalls that the court ruled in favour of the staff members in 2015 and ordered the university to reinstate them and pay their entitlements, which amounted to N2.5 billion.
Non-compliance with the court judgement necessitated the garnishee order on the institution’s bank accounts in 2017.
However, when the garnishee proceeding was ongoing, the judgement debtors filed for a stay of execution as they had filed an appeal before Appeal Court in November 2018, contesting the 2015 judgement.
The Court of Appeal on its part on 24 May 2021, dismissed the appeal and affirmed the decision of the lower court.
The National Industrial Court of Nigeria then on 27 January, through a ruling, made an order absolute in a garnishee proceeding ordering the CBN to pay the disengaged staff. (NAN)