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Drama as ministry, industrial court disagree over N84m judgment


JusticeTHE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Industrial Court (NIC) yesterday disagreed over the N84 million awarded to one of its Foreign Service officers by virtue of the court’s ruling.

Meanwhile, members of staff of Ministry of Foreign Affairs were locked in after officials of the NIC used one of its vehicles to block the ministry’s entrance over failure to obey a court order on Mondayfollowing the ministry’s refusal to comply with its judgment directing it to pay N84 million to a former member of staff of the ministry.

The Guardian learnt that court documents showed that Obinna Edwin Nnama had secured the judgment on February 19, 2014 against the ministry and its finance counterpart as well as the Federal Civil Service Commission but the agencies refused to act on it till yesterday’s action.

NIC officials, headed by Mr. Raphael Orim, arrived at the ministry around 10:30 a.m. and met with the ministry’s Director of Legal Services intimating him of their mission to execute the court’s ‘writ of attachment and sale against goods of defendant(s).’
After placing the writs of execution on 10 exotic cars, mostly sports utility vehicles, the court’s towing van which had already loaded one of the vehicles was not allowed to leave the premises, thereby blocking the entrance, with no vehicle entering or exiting.
The court also used its vehicles to block the second gate of the ministry effectively shutting down all vehicular movement within and outside the ministry.

Orim told some reporters that his team had informed the ministry officials on their mission in a meeting with the director of legal services and the ministry’s legal adviser but the gates were locked around 1:00 p.m. when the towing van attempted to carry the first vehicle away.

He said: “We told them of our mission and showed them the court judgment but they pleaded with us to give them one week. We said our job is to execute a court order and not to negotiate and the order must be executed or they would face contempt of court.

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