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HEDA protests as court orders Taraba to pay Nyame pension arrears

HEDA protests as court orders Taraba to pay Nyame pension arrears
May 27
22:16 2022

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA resource centre) has kicked against the decision of the national industrial court asking the Taraba government to pay pension arrears to Jolly Nyame, former governor of the state.

Olanrewaju Suraju, chairman of HEDA resource centre, expressed the organisations reservations against the court ruling in a statement issued on Friday. 

In April, TheCable had reported that Nyame, who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and subsequently convicted and jailed for 14 years for diverting public funds, was recently pardoned by President Muhammadu Buhari. 

However, earlier in January, a suit by Nyame and three others filed against the Taraba government over non-payment of their pension arrears came up for hearing at the national industrial court.

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The case followed a 2019 judgment ordering the Taraba government to pay the four persons the sum of N151.1 million in pension arrears to cover the period from May 2013 to October 2015.

The judgment creditors were said to have been paid N45 million out of the total pension arrears of N196 million, before the initial case on the payment of the arrears was filed in court.

Following the reported failure of the state to obey the 2019 judgment, the judgment creditors had instituted a garnishee proceeding at the national industrial court, with the Taraba government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as respondents.

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Delivering judgment on Tuesday, Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae, the presiding judge, ordered the Taraba government to immediately pay Nyame and the three others — Uba Ahmadu, Abubakar Armayau and Bilkisu Danboyi — their pension arrears.

The court, in addition, awarded the sum of N500,000 against the state government.

Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae, while delivering judgment, held that the judgment debtors did not contest owing the judgment creditors, having entered and signed an undertaking to pay their pension arrears.

But speaking on the development, Suraju protested against the court judgment.

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“This administration needs to make themselves clear to the people. How can you be fighting corruption yet you are aiding more corruption by your actions?” he asked. 

“First, the presidential pardon was unpardonable! Now the court is ordering the state to pay arrears to Nyame. This is wickedness! The same person who was convicted for stealing the state blind.

“These are the kind of court decisions that breed more corrupt practices with impunity. As far as fighting corruption is concerned, the judiciary is yet to live above board. Should we believe Ayi Kwei Armah who says ‘The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born’?

“I’m afraid if Nigerians would ever trust the judiciary if they are not sensitive to citizen’s interest, nor believe their political leaders are looking at what is happening.”

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