The National Industrial Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo state, has fixed November 14 for the report of an out-of-court settlement in a case instituted by the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Oyo State chapter against Governor Abiola Ajimobi-led government over alleged N42.3 billion gratuities and pension arrears.

Justice John Peter fixed the date on Wednesday following after listening to submissions from counsel to the parties.

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The judge advised that the litigation should not be allowed to drag for long, in the interest of the pensioners.

The claimant instituted the case against Ajimobi and five others over unpaid N42.3 billion gratuities and pension arrears of retired primary school teachers and local government workers.

Other respondents in the suit were Oyo State attorney-general and Commissioner for Justice, the State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, the State Commissioner for Finance, the Accountant-General and the State Head of Service.

Lasun Sanusi (SAN), the claimant’s counsel, told the court that the state government had expressed readiness for an out-of-court settlement.

His words: “We have filed an application for summary judgment on the basis that the claimant doesn’t have defence.

“The state government initiated a meeting and expressed willingness to settle out of court.

“The action has indicated a measure of seriousness, and we want to be given a chance to explore a possibility of out-of-court settlement”.

Mrs Bimpe Segun-Olakojo, Counsel to the respondents, prayed the court to extend the time within which to file defence in case the out-of-court settlement option would fail.