Away Without Leave: Industrial Court Declares Dismissal of Ex-Seaman not unLawful
The Presiding Judge, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sinmisola Adeniyi of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Kaduna division has declared the dismissal of Mohammed Salisu appointment from Nigerian Navy not unlawful.
The court held that no proof on record to support Claimant's submission that he was not given fair hearing in the proceedings leading to the termination of his appointment other than the allegation made.
The claimant Mohammed Salisu had sought against the defendants among others for a declaration that his dismissal is unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever. likewise, An Order directing the Defendants to pay the Claimant all his salaries, emoluments and other entitlements from the date of his purported dismissal till the date of his reinstatement.
From facts, the Claimant was a seaman in the service of the 1st Defendant. While in service, the Claimant was alleged to have been absent from duty without leave. The Claimant contended that he was remanded on board for thirty – five (35) days for the alleged offence, that after being remanded, he was again charged with the same offence and was summarily dismissed from the Nigerian Navy that he was not given fair hearing in the proceedings leading to the termination of his appointment.
In opposition, the Defendants maintained that the dismissal of the Claimant from the Nigerian Navy by the Commanding Officer was proper and in accordance with the Law, and further that the court lack jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter for being statute-barred.
The Defendants’ counsel argued that the cause of action arose on 12/12/2014, which was outside the three (3) months allowed by the POPA, urged the Court to dismiss the same for want of jurisdiction.
Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Sinmisola Adeniyi held that the authorities relied upon by learned counsel for the Defendants that the Claimant is totally barred from proceedings against the Defendants who are public officers no longer represent the current or correct position of the law on the issue.
“In employment founded by statute, the staff cannot be validly removed from the employment unless the provisions provided in the statute for removing the staff is followed strictly.
“Contrary to the case put forward by the Claimant, the evidence on the record of the Court by the Defendants is that the Claimant was not remanded for 35 days as alleged but that he was charged and summarily dismissed by the Commanding Officer who had the authority and power to dismiss him. Furthermore, the Claimant had admitted under cross-examination that he did not obtain approval for his leave of absence to travel to Calabar.
“I hold the firm view that the Claimant did not establish or prove that he was remanded by the Defendants for 35 days. In other words, the Claimant has failed to discharge the burden required by law.
“In the circumstances, therefore, I hold the firm view that the Claimant has not established the fact that he was unlawfully dismissed from the service by the Defendants. Based on the foregoing, therefore, I am of the firm view that the Claimant’s dismissal was not unlawful. I so hold." Justice Adeniyi ruled.