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[Entitlement Claim] Industrial Court dismisses action against University of Portharcourt

454 Wednesday 17th March 2021

The Presiding Judge, Yenagoa Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship Hon. Justice Bashar Alkali has dismissed the case filed by Dr. Augustine Enofe on entitlement claims against the University of Port Harcourt and Its Governing council for lacking merit.


The Court held that the offer made to Dr. Augustine by the university could not crystallize into a contract since there was no communication of the acceptance and further that he (Dr. Augustine) did not strictly comply with the terms of the employment offer.


From facts, the Claimant – Dr. Augustine averred that he was offered a temporary appointment as Lecturer by the University of Portharcourt that he complied with all the conditions spelled out in the appointment letter including the assumption of duty and submitting himself for a medical examination that he obtained permission from the Head of Department to travel abroad to enable him to relocate his family to Nigeria.


He further submitted that he is not aware of any steps to be taken when assuming duty, that is entitled to be paid salaries and other entitlements based on the University Academic Staff Salary Scale from the day he assumed duty till the date of filing the suit.


In defence, the University contended that Dr. Augustine did not assume duty or complete his medical requirement within the time required as stipulated in the said temporary Letter of Appointment, that claim of reporting to work and obtaining permission from the H.O.D. to travel cannot replace a letter of acceptance.


In conclusion, learned Counsel C. A. Onusurun Esq. submitted that Dr. Augustine is not entitled to the reliefs sought as there was no contract between the University and the Claimant, urged the Honourable Court to dismiss the suit with substantial cost.


In opposition, Learned Counsel to Augustine, S. Odiase Esq urged the Court to hold that in the absence of any written letter of termination of the offer of employment that his client is entitled to the reliefs sought.


Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Bashar Alkali dismissed the submission of Dr. Augustine that his application letter and letter of offer by the University constitute the offer and acceptance. 


The Court further held that Dr. Augustine submitting the Medical Form eight months after collected the letter of appointment did not comply with the two weeks requirement as stipulated in the offer and could not tell the court the day he assumed duty.


Lastly, the Court dismissed the case in its entirety for lacking merit and awarded no cost.

 

Click on this link to read full judgment via the judgment’s Portall