A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday reaffirmed its earlier ruling and ordered a freeze of the accounts of Zamfara State government in 21 commercial banks in the country after it dismissed an appeal by the Central Bank and the state.
The state and the Central Bank of Nigeria had appealed to the Judge to stay execution of the judgment pending the determination of the appeals. The order was made in favour of Ecobank who is being owed about N3.1 billion by the State.
The Judge, Justice Okon Abang ordered all the banks involved to disclose the amount of money which the state has in their possessions.
He ordered the 21 banks to appear before him on November 6, 2015, to give reasons, if they have any, why such funds should not be withdrawn to satisfy a debt of N3.1billion with interest, which the state owed Ecobank Nigeria Limited.
Ruling on the CBN application, the judge said:
“The central bank should assist Ecobank in its time of need because if Ecobank’s liquidity is affected on account of non-payment of loan by the state, it is the same CBN that will withdraw Ecobank’s licence; and it is the innocent depositors that will be affected if the licence of Ecobank is withdrawn by the CBN.
The central bank should assist Ecobank to recover the loan from Zamfara State government, whether or not it was party to the loan agreement, because the amount that will go to the state is domiciled with the CBN.”