A Federal High’ Court in Abuja has adjourned hearing in a case filed by the Rivers State government that it should stop temporarily the deduction of funds from the Federation Account to fund the Nigeria Police Trust Fund scheme.
The counsel to the Rivers State government, Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN), had told the court on Thursday to issue an interim order suspending the funds deduction.
Daudu made the request after the Federal Government’s agents in the case asked to be given more time to explore the option of amicable resolution of the dispute in the case.
But Daudu, in his response, urged the presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed to issue the interim order or make the government lawyers make an undertaking to stop the funds deduction pending the conclusion of the settlement talks.
He was, however, opposed by the defendants’ lawyers.
Tijani Gazali, who represented the Attorney-General of the Federation, the first defendant in the case, reasoned that the deduction of funds was based on provision of a law whose operations could not be stopped by consent of parties in a case.
Gazali said, “Agreed, it is a contractual relationship which is about give-and-take. But parties cannot by consent stop the operations of the law.”
In his ruling, Justice Mohammed held that it was clear that the parties to the case failed to reach any agreement.
The judge said that while the court would not want to stand in the way of an amicable settlement of the matter, it would also not entertain any steps capable of frustrating the expeditious determination of the case.
While the judge refused to grant the request for an interim order, he reaffirmed the order of accelerated hearing which he earlier issued for the case on June 10.
He thereafter adjourned the case till July 20 for hearing, adding “This adjournment is without prejudice to the right of parties to pursue an amicable settlement of the matter”.
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