Unpaid N42.3bn gratuities: court fixes Nov. 14 for out-of-court settlement report

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The National Industrial Court sitting in Ibadan on Wednesday fixed Nov. 14 for a report of out-of-court instituted by the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Oyo State chapter, against Gov. Abiola Ajimobi over unpaid N42.3 billion gratuities and pensions arrears.

The judge, Justice John Peter, fixed the date after listening to arguments from counsel to the parties.

He advised that the legal system should not be allowed to drag on for long in the interest of the pensioners.

The claimant instituted the case against Ajimobi and 5 others over unpaid N42.3bn gratuities and pension arrears of retired Primary School Teachers and Local Government workers.

Other respondents in the suit are Oyo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Commissioner for Finance, Accountant-General and the state Head of Service.

The claimant’s counsel, Mr Lasun Sanusi (SAN), told the court that the state government had intimated their readiness for an out-of-court settlement before Wednesday’s proceeding.

“We have filed an application for summary judgement on the basis that the claimant  don’t have a defence.

“However, in fairness to the claimants, between the last appearance and today’s appearance, the state government initiated a meeting and expressed their willingness to negotiate out of court settlement.

“Their actions have indicated some measure of seriousness, and we want to be given a chance to explore a possibility of  out of court settlement.

“It is when that does scale through that we now move forward to pray the court to entertain our applications and all applications before the judge should be argued,” he said.

In her response, Counsel to the respondents, Mrs Bimpe Segun-Olakojo, prayed the court to extend time whithin which to file their defence in case the out-of-court settlement option fails.

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