His Lordship, Hon. Justice Ploycarp Hamman of the Portharcourt Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court has nullified the purported suspension of Mr. Sunday Rachael and 50 others appointment with the Bayelsa State Government and Bayelsa State Universal Basic Education Board; ordered payment of their salaries and allowances from January 2013 till date and thereafter.
The Court held that Sunday Rachael and 50 others are still in the service of the state government that their purported suspension through radio announcement cannot by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as valid and in line with the law.
From facts, the claimants – Sunday Rachael and 50 others had submitted that the then governor set up a verification committee to verify the employment of teachers who were employed in 2011 and the committee recommended continuation with their employment.
They further averred that on the 28th day of September 2012, the State Universal Basic Education Board Secretary went on air to announce the termination of their employment and requested that they should re-apply for another employment, which they did. That they were re-issued letters of employment dated 2nd January 2013 and redeployed to different places of assignment.
They concluded that after they assumed duty, the board secretary for no reason went on the radio, and announced their suspension from offices.
However, the Bayelsa Government and Education board secretary filed their joint Statement of Defence and upon several adjournments, they refused to defend the case despite hearing notices sent to them.
The cliamants counsel M. O. Egware Esq maintained that the suspension of his clients did not tally with the rule of law, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.
Delivering the Judgment after carefully evaluated the submission of the counsel, the presiding Judge, Justice Polycarp Hamman held that any disciplinary action taken must be in accordance with the provisions of the law or rules.
“Having held that the employment of the claimants enjoyed statutory protection, it is apposite to state that I have evaluated the evidence on record and I am satisfied that the claimants have proved their case as required by law.”