The National Industrial Court in Makurdi on Friday ordered the Benue State Government to pay the sum of N989m to 210 sacked workers of Taraku Mills Limited.
The court also ordered Fidelity Bank Plc, Makurdi branch, to pay an unconditional fine of N100, 000 for attempting to pervert justice.
Justice R.B Haastrup held that the bank erred, having admitted in the first instance and informed the court that it had enough funds as well as placed a lien on the judgement sum to turn around and file another affidavit contrary to the earlier submission.
Citing the Constitution, Sheriff and Civil Process Act, the judge dismissed the judgement debtors’ application for not only being frivolous but vexatious and lacking in merit.
She consequently turned the Order Nisi to an absolute order against Fidelity Bank Plc to pay the creditors the judgement sum.
It will be recalled that the Benue State Government set up a six-man committee headed by the then Director of Industries, Mr. Jeff Yaji, to investigate the salary arrears owed staff of the company in 2008 following the lease of the said company to a private investor, Glowrich Nigeria Limited.
Investigation revealed that on May 16, 2008, the committee visited the factory and established that N1b was due for payment and the sum was equally set aside for the purpose.
So, the then Attorney-General, Mr. Philip Ierkwagh, decided that since the government had accepted liability of the said amount, there was no need for a continuous litigation and called for out of court settlement.
According to the counsel to the claimants, Chief F.S Tsenga, the agreement between the claimants and the government was adequately filed in court and the court entered consent judgement in favour of the claimant.
Investigation further revealed that instead of complying with the judgement and pay the money, the state government on August 28, 2015, filed a motion in court praying it to set aside the consent judgement because it was fraudulently filed.