Despite orders from the National Industrial Court and the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, the Accountant-General of the Federation, AGF, Ahmed Idris is yet to pay the salary arrears of a former spokesperson of National Emergency Management, NEMA, Yushau Shuaib.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that Mr Shuaib, an award-winning writer and public relations practitioner, was in 2013 forcefully retired from the public service after writing an article against the then Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, over “lopsided appointments”.
On November 22, 2017, an industrial court sitting in Abuja had ordered the Federal Government to reinstate Mr Shuaib and pay him salary arrears from 2013 till the date of judgment.
The presiding judge, Justice David Isele, stressed that Mr Yushau must be reinstated into the office without any loss to seniority, salaries, position and other emoluments while his salary arrears must be paid within one month.
He was reinstated in September 2018 but Mr Shuaib retired voluntarily from the service on October 10, 2019, when he clocked 50 years of age.
The salary arrears, however, remained unpaid up till this moment.
A contempt charge was subsequently filed against the information and culture for refusing to obey the judgment of the court.
However, in a bid to escape the court hammer, the minister, in a letter dated March 1, 2019 and addressed to the court, confirmed reinstating Mr Yushau.
The minister disclosed that the salary arrears and other emoluments of Mr Shuaib had been computed and the Accountant-General’s office had been directed to pay the aggrieved worker the computed amount of money into his bank account.
When it was becoming clearer that the Accountant-General was defying the orders, Mr Shuaib’s lawyer, James Ode Abah, penned down a letter, giving the office of the AGF seven days within which to comply with the said orders.
The letter, copied to Minister of Information, Attorney General of the Federation, Chairman Federal Civil Service Commission and the Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, stressed that the Accountant General is under obligation to obey a lawful court order that is not set aside, stayed or appealed against.
“We hold the office of the Accountant-General in high esteem and we anticipate the prompt compliance in the full payment of the outstanding salary arrears and emoluments due to our client from the year 2013 -2018 within 7 days from the receipt of this letter as computed by the Federal Ministry of Information and culture.
“If you do not accede to our client’s demand within 7 days, we have the instruction of our client to institute contempt proceedings against you and to join your good office as a necessary party with respect to our contempt proceedings pending at the National Industrial Court,” the letter said.
After the seven-day ultimatum had elapsed, Mr Ode-Abah approached the industrial for respite.
The case, which is now before Justice Oyejoju Oyebiola Oyewumi, will come up on February 3, 2021.