Finance minister, others face committal trial today
Abuja division of the National Industrial Court (NIC), Abuja, will, today, hear an alleged contempt suit filed by medical doctors operating under the platform of Association of Specialist Medical Doctors in Academics (ASMEDA).
The doctors filed the action against the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, over alleged disregard to court order.
Also joined in the motion on notice for committal for contempt of court marked: NICN/ABJ/145/2021, before Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae of NIC, include the Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Ekpo Nta and Account General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris.
The court had, on July 23, 2021, in an exparte motion, moved by counsel to the claimants, Martin Agba, ordered the defendants to pay the doctors based on the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and the Associated Allowances.
The salary was approved by the Federal Government on September 29, 2009, which was the status quo, pending the determination of the suit.
But the claimants averred that from August 2021 till date, the defendants were yet to fully comply with the said order.
The claimants, Christopher Sakpa, Momoh Mcsionel, Ahmed Rabiu and Darlington Akukwu, had, for themselves and on behalf of the affected members of ASMEDA, filed the motion against the defendants.
The NSIWC, AGF and finance minister are 1st to 3rd defendants respectively in the motion on notice dated January 18 and filed by Agba on January 26.
The claimants had sought an order for leave of the court to proceed with committal proceedings for disobedience to its order “made on July 23, 2021 against the executive chairman of the 1st defendant, chief executive officer of the 2nd defendant and the person of the 3rd defendant.
“An order of the court for committal of the named principal officers of the defendants for their disobedience, jointly and severally, to the interim restraining and mandatory orders of injunctions of this court made 23rd July 23, 2021, and served on all the defendants on or about July 28, 2021.”
The claimants prayed the court to proceed on the committal proceedings on the grounds that the court granted all their reliefs directing the defendants to restore them to the status quo as at April 2021 on the CONMESS and associated allowances pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
They said the enrolment order of the court was duly served on the defendants on or about July 28, 2021, followed up by an official letter dated, August 9, 2021 by their lawyer, urging the principal officers of the defendants to comply but failed to do so.
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