An Abuja division of the Federal High Court has discharged four commercial banks in Nigeria from a proceeding following their compliance with an order directing them to freeze the bank account of Benue state government over its inability to pay the N333 million loan it borrowed in 2008.

Justice Inyang Ekwo on October 26 ordered the freezing of Benue state accounts following an ex-parte motion filed on September 30 by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) through its counsel, marked: FHC/ABJ/AMC/74/2021.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the banks included First City Monument Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria, Suntrust Bank Nigeria Ltd, and Wema Bank Plc.

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Nairametrics reported that the court had ordered some commercial banks in Nigeria to freeze accounts belonging to the Benue State Government pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

AMCON is the claimant in the suit, HPPS Multilinks Service Ltd is the 1st respondent and Benue state government, the 2nd respondent.

What happened in court

While presenting the report on compliance, counsel to AMCON, Ogechukwu Okeke told the court that only four banks had complied with the freezing order of the court. She then applied for the aforementioned banks to be discharged from the proceeding.

So far, only four banks had been able to show compliance, that is the 6th, 12th, 14th and 17th respondents. We are applying that they, be discharged from the proceedings.

The presiding judge, made an order discharging the four banks from the proceeding.

However, Counsel to Benue state government, Terkura Pepe (SAN) informed the court that they have not been served with the processes of the court.

We saw the publication and because of the respect we have for the court, we applied for a certified true copy of the processes before the court and before the end of the day, we will file our processes,” Terkura said.

Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until November 22, for hearing.

What you should know

In an affidavit to show the cause of compliance, all banks were listed 1st to 18th garnishee respectively.

On October 26, Justice Ekwo made an interim order freezing all bank accounts of the Benue government domiciled in some banks in the country following its inability to pay back N333 million loan borrowed in 2008.

The judge also directed that the bank accounts of HPPS Multilink Services Ltd (first respondent) be frozen pending the hearing and the determination of the substantive suit.