The National Industrial Court in Abuja has fixed September 23 to determine the garnishee enforcement application in a suit instituted by some former members of staff of the defunct NICON Airways Ltd, against its management over their unpaid claims and entitlements.
The applicants, Henry Iwelumo, Lukman Kolawole, George, George Omoniyi, Eunice Odey, had filed the suit on behalf of other aggrieved ex-staff of the defunct NICON Airways Ltd, against its former Managing Director, Chief Jimoh Ibrahim and Captain Idris Wada.
The trial judge, Justice Esowe, had in September, 2013 ordered the management of the airline to pay the ex-staff the sum of N843 million, being their total claims and entitlements.
The court had also declared that the contract of employment between the staff and the management of the company was acquired majorly by Ibrahim in 2007.
It said the contract was subsisting for all purposes and at all times binding on the management led by Ibrahim and the employees.
The management of the company, however, failed to comply with the court’s order vis-à-vis the payment of the claims, thereby, prompting the claimants to resort to further court action by initiating garnishee proceedings to enforce the judgment.
The claimants had therefore, instituted the garnishee process to recover the funds through their counsel, Mr Chibuzor Ejike, by attaching the accounts of Ibrahim in 19 banks and other companies.
The garnishee proceedings, however, suffered serious setbacks as the money in most of the company’s accounts which they sought to attach were discovered to have been withdrawn or lacking in cash.
Justice Esowe has therefore fixed September 23 in order to proceed with the garnishee process against the 19 banks in which Ibrahim has bank accounts, as well as freeze other assets owned by him, to enforce compliance with the payment of the claims as ordered by the court.
The court had adjourned the claims against Wada, who is now governor of Kogi State indefinitely since he enjoys immunity to prosecution as a serving governor.
It would be recalled that the claimants had demanded for the aggregate arrears of salaries, leave allowances, crew/flight allowances, overseas unpaid allowances in US dollars and cumulative unremitted cooperative between 2007 to date.
They had also sought a declaration that the management of the airline and its directors were legally bound to remit forthwith to their pension managers, pension deductions from their unremitted salaries between 2007 and April 2011, valued at N16.5 million.