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ABU, 110 employees’ settlement meeting ends in deadlock

The out-of-court settlement meeting on executing N2.5 billion judgment debt between Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, and its 110 disengaged workers has ended in a deadlock.

Isaac Enabhule, the counsel to the judgment creditors, said on Sunday in Zaria the meeting was convened at the instance of the university.

Mr Enabhule said they were about to execute a judgment worth N2.5 billion against the ABU, but the university wanted a settlement, and we consented to the settlement.

He explained that the judgment of the court could 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 December 11.

“The meeting was inconclusive because a detail of the data sent by PTAD to ABU regarding the pensions of the unjustly retired officers of the university was sent to Abuja,” said Mr Enabhule. “Our clients (judgment creditors) don’t have a copy; our clients, therefore, appear not to agree with the data.”

He added that “some of our clients were put under PENCOM while others were under PTAD, hence the need for our 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 Dec. 11 and report back to the court on the settlement terms.

Daniel Bode, a former deputy bursar of ABU, who was the leader of the judgment creditors, noted that before the court judgment, there were three different white papers that recommended our reinstatement.”

According to Mr Bode, the three white papers that recommended their reinstatement were not implemented and proceeded to court, where they obtained a judgment on November 30, 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 judgment debtors did not challenge it at the court until after we applied for the execution of the judgment,” he said.

Mr Bode lamented that the school and the government were intentionally delaying the execution of the judgment. As such, they would not shift ground on their demand, and they knew most were ageing.

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 delay to obtaining the data from PTAD relating to issues on the pension and gratuity of the 110 judgment creditors.

Similarly, Abubakar Is’haq, a member of the legal team from the ABU, said the documents from PTAD were forwarded to one of the counsels for the judgment creditors, Femi Adedeji, on November 4.

ABU terminated the appointments of 110 workers 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.

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 an appeal court in November 2018, contesting the 2015 judgment.

On May 24, 2021, the appellate court dismissed the appeal and affirmed the lower court’s decision.

(NAN)

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