By Kayode Adeoti
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Kwara State chapter with two others have dragged the State government and Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) to court over illegal deduction of N421,592,708,63.
The defendants were dragged before Justice Matthew Adewara of the State High Court sitting in Ilorin on Tuesday.
Other defendants in the suit are Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Universal Education Board, Commissioner for Finance, Joint Local Government Account Allocation Committee and the State Local Government Staff Pension Board.
Alhaji Khaliru Mohammed and Samuel Ibidoja, who also joined in the suit as claimants are accusing the defendants of deducting funds from their Federal Allocation since 2015.
They alleged further that the 1st defendant, (State Government) is using the money meant for the payment of their pensions, gratuities, salaries to finance Junior Secondary Schools.
They are however seeking before the court three declarations, ‘that the monthly deduction of the money by the defendants is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void, capricious, and arbitrary which constitutes abuse of power and discretion.
‘That the fund is meant for the maintenance of primary and adult education, including payment of salaries and entitlement of council staff both serving and retirees/pensioners.
That the defendants have no right or power to deduct or convert the LG funds to maintain or pay the staff of Junior Secondary Schools in the state or elsewhere.
They also sought order ‘of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants either by themselves, agents, privies or representatives or by whatsoever name they may be described from deducting or converting the local government fund to maintain, finance and pay salaries of the staff of Junior Secondary Schools or any Secondary school staff …
Other order sought is the ‘perpetual injunction restraining the defendants… from using the local government fund for any purpose other than the one stated in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
The suit was filed before Justice Adewara on 3rd January but mentioned in March to enable all parties file their responses.
At the commencement of the hearing on Tuesday, the counsel to the claimants, Barr. Shehu Tijani Abubakar, led the first witness (PW1), Alhaji Saidu Oladimeji in evidence.
The counsel through the witness who doubles as the current chairman of NUP tendered bundles of documents.
Barr. Agbo Daibu, the Senior State counsel who represents the defendants, however opposed some of the documents while others were admitted by him.
Justice Adewara, at this instance adjourned the ruling on the admissibility of the documents to 31st July, 2018.