The Presiding Judge, Owerri Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Galadima has nullified the purported dissolution of Agatha Ndugbu, Donatus Iwuoha, Allwell Onwuka, and Henry Aguguo as members of Imo State Civil Service Commission by the Secretary to the Government on behalf of the Governor of Imo State.
The Court held that Agatha Ndugbu and others were legitimately appointed by the State Governor in 2019, confirmed by a resolution of the House of Assembly, and subsequently, sworn-in based on uncontroverted evidence before the court; ordered the Governor of Imo State, its Attorney General and State Civil Service Commission to pay or continue to pay Agatha Ndugbu and others, their salaries and or allowances, emoluments and or entitlements attached to their membership of the commission until the expiration of their respective tenures in December 2024.
From facts, the claimants- Agatha Ndugbu and others had submitted that they were sworn-in as members of the State Civil Service Commission in 2019 that the Governor through the state secretary purportedly dissolved all Commissions and Boards of Parastatals and Agencies in the State, thus truncating their various tenures of office which was meant to last till 20/12/2024.
In defense, the State Government maintained that the appointment of Agatha Ndugbu and others by the Imo Governor in 2019 was unlawful, unconstitutional, null, and void argued that the tenures of their predecessors in office subsisted at the time of their purported appointment and also in court contesting their illegal removal from office, submitted that the dissolution of their offices was done in line with the constitution and rule of law, urged the court to dismiss the case in its entirety.
In opposition, the applicants stated that they are not aware of any pending suit that the State Government lacks the power to issue their dissolution, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.
Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Galadima held that the Imo Governor lacks the power to dissolve the State Civil Service commission or to remove its members in the manner done.
The Court held inter alia that the letters of dissolution sent to the applicants do not allege that they were removed from office because their appointments were illegal that the pending case would be determine on its own merit.
Justice Galadima also granted a declaration that the applicants are still members of the State Civil Service Commission and the State Governor cannot remove them from office without complying strictly with the provisions of the CFRN 1999 and other extant laws.