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Court Shuts Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Over 84m Debt

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The National Industrial Court (NIC) yesterday shut down the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following the ministry’s refusal to comply with its judgement directing it to pay N84 million to a former staff of the ministry.

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, Daily Trust learnt.

NIC officials, headed by Mr Raphael Orim arrived the foreign ministry around 10: 30 am 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.

When Daily Trust arrived the ministry around 4:45 pm, Orim told our reporters that his team had informed 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 pm when the towing van attempted to carry the first vehicle away.

“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.

“They locked us in since one o’clock and even the legal adviser challenged us that we have not right to execute because our writ is a fraud. However, the court has ruled and our job is to execute. They must open the gate for the execution of the court’s ruling,” he said.

When contacted by 7: 24 pm on the telephone, Orim told Daily Trust that officials of the ministry had attacked his team and used a SUV to “brush aside” a Kia Picanto the team used to block the second gate of the premises.

“This evening, their staff forcefully jerked off one of our cars at the entrance of the building and even nearly attacked our policemen. As I speak to you now, we are at the police station at the Federal Secretariat to give an incidence report.

“They have impounded our towing van, thereby impeding the work of the court,” Orim said.

Contacted, the ministry’s spokesperson Ogbole Ode refused to comment on the matter.

Culled from daily trust