Makurdi –His Lordship, Hon. Justice Salisu Danjidda of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Sitting in Markurdi on Friday 8th March 2019 in a summary judgment ordered MAKURDI LOCAL GOVERNMENTCOUNCIL (defendant) to pay former chairman S. J. I. GBASHIMA (claimant) the sum of N1, 500,000 (One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) only, being his out of pocket expenses in rendering service and the sum of N2,000,000 (Two Million Naira)only, being the sum approved and granted to him as medical assistance within 30 days.
The court held that claimant case has merit in the light of the documents placed before the court indicating the indebtedness of the Defendant to the Claimant, and judgment ought to be entered in his favour by virtue of order 16 of the 2017 rules of this court.
The claimant sought for AN ORDER of this Honourable Court entering Summary Judgment against the Defendant/Respondent in favour of the Claimant/Applicant in terms of the reliefs sought by the claimant in this suit.
Applicant stated that he was the chairman of the Defendant sometimes between July, 2015 and June, 2016, that during his administration, he incurred out of pocket expenses in the sum of N1, 500,000.00 only, which the Defendant undertook to reimburse him.
That sometimes in 2016, the Defendant also granted the Claimant the sum of N2,000,000.00 (Two Million Naira)only, as medical assistance and the Claimant acted under that representation and borrowed the said amount to enable him undergo a medical checkup but the Defendant refused to reimburse him.
Claimant stated that the Defendant notified the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs about its indebtedness, that the letter conveying that information and the vouchers were attached, that owing to the refusal of the Defendant to offset the said debt, the Claimant and his lawyer wrote letters of appeal and demand to the Defendant respectively but it yielded no result.
Defendant averred that financial assistance remains as such and cannot in any way be converted to a debt which she did not guarantee and she is still awaiting final approval from the Bureau for local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to pay the money and that it has a defense to the claim of the claimant.
Counsel contended that it is the policy of the Defendant that financial assistance is not a legal obligation.
By way of adumbration, counsel stated that N2,000,000.00(Two Million Naira) is the financial assistance but that the defendant is admitting N1.5 million.
After careful evaluation of all the submissions and processes filed, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Salisu Hamisu Danjidda expressed thus;
“I wish to note and observe that although sections 85 and 86 of the Benue State Local Government law refer to financial memoranda but that financial memoranda has not been placed before the court to enable the court determine the extent of its application to the funds to be expended under section 86 above.
“Summary Judgment procedure is designed to enable a party obtain judgment in liquidated cases without the need for a full trial where the other party cannot satisfy the Court that it should be allowed to defend the action.
“In the light of the foregoing documents placed before me indicating the indebtedness of the Defendant to the Claimant, I am of the opinion that the Claimant's case has merit and judgment ought to be entered in his favour by virtue of order 16 of the 2017 rules of this court.
The court ordered defendant to pay claimant the sum of N1, 500,000 (One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) only, being his out of pocket expenses in rendering service to the Defendant and the sum of N2,000,000 (Two Million Naira)only, being the sum approved and granted to him as medical assistance within 30 days.