BY MAYOWA SAMUEL
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, has granted an order freezing all the monies of the Abia State Government domiciled in about 27 financial institutions.
This is coming two months to the May 29 handover date by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to the new Governor-elect, Alex Otti of the Labour Party.
Justice Bello Kawu, in an exparte motion no: M/6686/2023, also barred all the banks from cooperating with the financial aides of Governor Ikpeazu pending the determination of the motion.
The suit was filed by Uche Eni against the Accountant-General of Abia State and the Commissioner for Finance.
Access Bank Plc, Eco Bank Plc, First Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria, Federation Account Allocation Committee, Accountant General of the Federation and 21 other financial institutions were listed as respondents.
The court granted the reliefs sought by the claimant’s lawyer, Johnmary C. Jideobi, while adjourning the matter to April 5, 2023.
The court granted the following Order(s):
“A mareva order of this Honourable Court freezing forthwith all the monies belonging to the people and Government of Abia State of Nigeria or controlled by the Defendants and domiciled in any Bank (whatsoever named) operating within Nigeria or domiciled with or in the hands of the 1st to 28th Respondents PENDING the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice filed herein.
“An order of this honourable court restraining the 1st to 28th Respondents from co-operating with the 1st and 2nd Defendants or any authority and person purporting to be acting on behalf of or in the name of the Government of Abia State of Nigeria (howsoever named or described) in accessing any funds held by the 1st to 28th Respondents for the benefit of the people and Government of Abia State of Nigeria PENDING the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed herein.
“An order of court granting the Claimant/ Applicant leave to effect a substituted service of all the originating processes in this suit, inclusive of the ex-parte Order of this Court, on the 1st and 2 Defendants at the Abia State Liaison Office, Abia House, Abuja, through any registered post or courier service operating within the Jurisdiction of this honourable Court and for same to be deemed as proper services.
“An order restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants forthwith from Interfering with dealing with, withdrawing or accessing in whatever manner, monies in the hand of the 1 to 28th Respondents belonging to the Government and people of Abia State pending the hearing and disposal of the Motion on Notice filed herein.
“An interim order of this Honourable Court restraining all the Respondents and their privies, whether severally or individually, from extending any loan facility (howsoever called or described) to the Government of Abia State pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice filed herein.”