Sambo Vs NBET: Court Hears Motion For Stay Of Execution Next Week

The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja will on Monday June 15, 2020, hear the application for stay of execution of the judgment which declared as wrongful the withholding of the salary and other benefits of a whistleblower, Sambo Abdullahi, by Dr. Marilyn Amobi, Managing Director CEO of Nigerian Bulk Ekectricity Trading (NBET) Plc.

In a judgment delivered on March, 11, 2020, Justice Oyejoju Oyewumi, held that the stoppage of the whistleblower’s salary by the NBET boss was illegal and ordered that he should be paid all that is due to him within 30 days.

Dr. Amobi has been punishing Abdullahi, internal auditor in NBET, by stopping his salary since December 2017 for exposing corrupt practices and abuse of office in the government-owned agency.

But instead of complying with the court judgment, Dr. Amobi filed a motion for stay of execution on March 19, 2020, on the grounds of issues of law relating to jurisdiction and fundamental breaches of the right to fair hearing.

On May 4, 2020, Abdullahi as the judgment creditor, countered the application, arguing that the ground of appeal contained no serious point of law or special circumstances to warrant a stay of execution. Dr.Amobi, now the judgment debtor, did not reply on a point of law within seven days as required by law.

In his submission, A.O. Olori-Aje, counsel to the whistleblower, told the judge that Dr. Amobi has practically abandoned the motion for stay of execution and refused to pursue a date for hearing. He said it was the whistleblower that was making effort to get a date for the continuation of the case. He said it was obvious that Dr. Amobi was not interested in the motion being heard, and that her strategy was to stop the whistleblower from enjoying the fruits of the judgment.

Olori-Aje told the court that in his effort to ensure the matter is heard, he wrote a letter to the court on May 11, 2020, which was acknowledged on May 13, 2020.

Justice Oyewumi was surprised that these post- judgment activities were not brought to her knowledge. “All this is strange to me. They ought to have called my attention to these things,” the judge said, and its motion for stay of execution.