Activities at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Finance were almost paralyzed on Monday as officials from the National Industrial Court, Abuja Division, stormed the building to enforce a court judgment.
The officials, led by the Bailiff, NIC, Abuja division, Mr. Donatus Okwor, entered the building to enforce the court judgment, which was delivered on February 19 last year.
The court had ordered the Ministry of Finance to pay compensation to some workers of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs whose appointments were said to have been unjustly terminated.
The court officials, it was learnt, arrived the building and were making plans to confiscate property belonging to the ministry which would be commensurate with the compensation ordered by the court, when security operatives prevented them from doing so.
The development resulted into commotion, which made the security agencies to shut the gates against guests who had business transactions to carry out in the ministry.
Speaking on the development, Okwor said the finance ministry had deliberately refused to obey the court judgment by paying the claims, which run into millions of naira.
He said, “Actually, there is a judgment delivered by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria against the Federal Ministry of Finance and Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs which specifies that they should pay the claimant a specific amount of money, whom they have dismissed from work.
“Since February 19, 2014 till now, they have refused to pay the judgment. So, we are here to execute the court judgment.
“Once it comes to execution of judgment, there is no way we can go back except if there is any motion pending, but as we speak now, there is no pending motion which will warrant the defendants not to pay the money.
“For now, they refused to pay the money and obey the judgment of the court.
“Since we are here to execute the judgment, once that is done, we will go back. Whenever they are ready within the time limit, they should come and pay the judgment sum and take back their vehicles or whichever items we can seize from the ministry.”
Attempt to get the ministry officials to speak on the development proved abortive, as repeated calls put to the spokesman for the ministry, Mr. Marshal Gundu, were not answered as of 7.10pm when the story was filed.
The court officials were still at the premises of the ministry as of the time of filing this report.