Court Bars C’River PDP From Imposing 10% Levy On Members

The National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Calabar Division, presided over by Hon. Justice M. N. Esowe, has ruled that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Cross River State, cannot impose a 10% levy on the furniture allowances of elected and appointed members of the party as a sub section of the party’s constitution establishing a fund where subscription, fees and levies are expected to be paid in, does not translate into a 10% levy and deduction of the said allowance. The Court further insisted “from the clear provisions of subsection 2 (of the party’s constitution) it provides for a subscription fees of N600.00 (six hundred naira) per annum and not 10% interest on furniture allowances of member.

Five claimants, Enun Ogbu Kanu, Elemi Edu Alaga, Michael Offiong Okon, Bassey Okon OPheba and Wilfred Nkanu Ina, had approached the Court, in a complaint dated August 10, 2018, seeking four reliefs, among whom are the payment to them of the sum of N500 million as compensation for all the hardship all former Local Government Political Officers Holders from 2014 – 2016 have been subjected to daily due to the non-payment of their furniture allowance till date, as well as the sum of N10 million, for cost of litigation of this suit.

Lawson Enang, the Financial Secretary of the PDP in CRS, in a deposed 13-paragraph affidavit, insisted that “all the claimants herein, were at all material time leading to the institution of this suit, members “of the PDP, pointing out that “by virtue of Section 51 (1) (a) of the party’s Constitution, 2017 (as amended), the party is empowered to impose levies on all her members to boost finances.”

After written address in support of the application, argument and claimants/respondents responses, the Court came clear that, from the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP, “…the Constitution does not make any provision for the deduction of 10% of the furniture allowances paid to the claimants nor does the Constitution leave any one in doubt that the levies referred to as additional levies are on the annual basic salary of members privileged to be in elected positions, appointed positions, board members and ambassadors, not furniture allowances.” It therefore ruled that “…this Court as a Court of law and justice cannot and will not enforce any unlawful acts of deduction not provided for in the Constitution”. It also did not grant the financial prayers of the claimants.

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