ABU In Financial Crisis Over Court Order To Pay N2.5b To Disengaged Staff - 9japarrot


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Monday 24 October 2022

ABU In Financial Crisis Over Court Order To Pay N2.5b To Disengaged Staff

The management of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Northern Nigeria’s pioneer university is in financial crisis and cannot afford basic toiletries following the order of the National Industrial Court for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to mop up ABU’s accounts to pay N2.5 billion to 110 staff of the institutions who were disengaged in 1996. 

Daily Trust gathered that the order, which is being executed now leaves ABU broke. 

The university, which was founded and named after the first Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello on October 4, 1962 “Cannot afford to pay its cleaners or buy toiletries and now relies on proceeds from tree felling to run administrative costs,” said a senior staff of the university. 

The school management, however, said a serious wind three weeks ago was responsible for the felling of trees, some of them over 40 years old. 

This, ABU’s Director, Public Affairs Directorate, Auwalu Umar said necessitated the school management to cut the trees.  

However, top management sources confirmed to Daily Trust that court bailiffs have visited the school and numbered all official vehicles for possible auction. It was also gathered that the financial status of the school is responsible for its delayed resumption of academic activities after members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), called off its eight months strike action within the month.

The senate of ABU at its 516-emergency meeting held on October 19, 2022, stated that it revised the calendar earlier approved by the senate in November 2021. 

Daily Trust reports that while the school will reopen October 24th (today), the resumption of lectures is slated to commence on January 3, 2023, for the continuation of the first semester. 

Sources from the school yesterday confirmed to our correspondent that the delay was connected to the financial status of the school, which the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Kabiru Bala briefed the senate.

“Virtually this order by the court has been carried out and what has happened now is that ABU does not have a dime in its account,” said a senior management staff of the institution who confirmed that court bailiffs have in the last few days visited the school and numbered official cars to be auctioned.

“It has reached the level that ABU cannot even afford to buy toiletries,” another source said.

However, the management of the school, through the Director, Public Affairs Directorate, Auwalu Umar said he cannot say whether the university is broke or not as he does not have details of the institution’s finances. He said as far as the operations of the university are concerned, nothing has stopped, adding that the garnishee order has been appealed. 

Daily Trust reports that in 1996, the then Sole Administrator of ABU, General Mamman Kontagora terminated the appointment of 110 staff of the university but in 2012, the staff challenged their unlawful termination and obtained a court order directing the university to reinstate them and pay them all outstanding salaries and allowances. 

Daily Trust gathered that the failure of ABU to comply with the judgement forced the staff to institute a garnishee proceeding in which the CBN and three commercial banks were invited. In January 2022, an Abuja division of the National Industrial Court ordered the CBN to pay the staff their entitlements.  

Counsel to the judgement creditors, Femi Falana (SAN) said the institution has the choice to seek settlement but has not made the move since 1996.

 He said though the school is complaining of financial difficulty, the fundamental rights of the people who were illegally sacked is also important.

 He noted that the garnishee order of the Court of Appeal is final being a labour-related dispute.

Daily Trust 

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