A Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin has stopped the state government from deducting N421.6 million monthly from pensioners fund to pay junior secondary school teachers.
The court described the deduction as illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
The pensioners’ counsel, S. T. Abubakar, had sought the relief of the court over the monthly deductions by the state government to pay teachers’ salaries which he said was “capricious, arbitrary and constitutes abuse of power and discretion.”
Other reliefs sought are “a declaration that the local government fund is meant for the maintenance of primary and adult education including the payment of salaries and entitlements of local government staff (both serving and pensioners); a declaration that the state government has no right or power to deduct or convert local government funds to pay junior secondary school teachers in the state or elsewhere.
‘‘An order of perpetual injunction restraining the state government either by themselves, agents, privies or representatives or whatsoever name they may be described from deducting and/or converting the state local government funds to maintain, finance and or pay the salaries of staff of junior secondary schools or any secondary school staff in the state or elsewhere.
‘‘An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants (state government) jointly and or severally either by themselves, their agents, privies or representatives from using local government funds for any purpose order than those stated in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Abubakar alleged that the 94 months of illegal deduction from the local government fund amounts to N39.6 billion, noting that the state government’s indebtedness to pensioners is N15 billion since 2011 and N4.5 billion gratuity and monthly pensions respectively.
In his judgement, Justice M.O Adewara said the state government’s action is antithetical to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and laws of the state.