Policemen on Thursday sealed all branches of Zenith Bank in Owerri, the Imo State capital, rendering staff and customers of the bank stranded.
Our correspondent who monitored the development saw policemen taking possession of the entrances to all the branches of the bank while staff and customers loitered around.
The stern-looking cops said that they were implementing a court judgment against the bank.
On inquiry, a staff of the bank who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent that the policemen were implementing a court judgment against the bank and the Imo State government.
He said that National Industrial Court in Owerri issued an absolute garnishee Order against the bank in a suit filed by a former deputy governor of Imo state, Eze Madumere, over his entitlements.
The staff said ” the policemen are implementing an absolute garnishee Order against Zenith bank in a matter filed by a former deputy governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere against Imo state government over his owed entitlements by the state government.
“The order is for N1.9bn entitlements claim and the policemen have come to implement the court order. The court ordered that our bank( Zenith) which Imo state government has court here be sealed until the judgment is implemented.”
When contacted, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said that the judgment was given in error.
The Commissioner said, “the judge who gave the judgment did it in such a way that he connived with the people against the Imo State Government. How could a judge give a judgement and bar the defendants from appealing it and gave 24 hours for the implementation of the judgement.
“I think that there is a vested interest. We are exploring other legal options to vacant the order. The judgement can’t stand serious legal scrutiny anywhere. It is a kangaroo judgement. The whole entitlements of a former deputy governor is not more than N200m. So, I wonder why a judge will order the payment of such a bogus amount.
“There are policemen in Imo state but they went and brought policemen from zone 9 in Umuahia. Nobody can intimidate the government. We can’t be cowed. We must do what is right for the good of the people of Imo state.”
The spokesperson for Zenith Bank, Ayoola Kusimo, didn’t pick up our correspondent’s phone calls and he had yet to respond to a text message sent to his mobile line.