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Industrial Court nullifies removal of Chairman, Members Kwara Assembly Service Commission

496 Thursday 25th March 2021

The Presiding Judge, Akure Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Kiyersohot Damulak has nullified the removal of Rt. Hon. Babatunde Mohammed and Hon Alex Kehinde, Dr. Suleiman Alege , Hon. Hassan Babako and HON. Nimota Ibrahim from Kwara State House of Assembly Service Commission as Chairman and members respectively; ordered the state government to pay Hon. Babatunde Mohammed the sum of N31,157,323.20 and others N27,337,098.4 each, representing their emoluments for their unexpired tenure from September 2019 till May 2023 within 30 days.

The Court held that the Hon. Babatunde Mohammed and others' removal was contrary to the provisions of Kwara State House of Assembly Law, that their failure to attend state functions is not misconduct to warrant removal from office.

From facts, the claimants- Hon. Babatunde Mohammed and 4 others had submitted that their removal from office three months into their four years tenure was unlawful and ought to be set aside.

In defense, the state government submitted that Hon. Babatunde Mohammed and others were queried for misconduct and their reply was not satisfactory and was removed in the interest of the Commission and the public and in compliance with the resolution and the decision of the state house of Assembly as communicated to the governor.

The defence counsel, A.M.Bello Esq submitted that the suit is incompetent for non-joinder of the Kwara State House of Assembly and the court will not grant a relief that affects the statutory action of a party who was not joined as a party to the suit, urged the court to strike out the case and further that the monetary claims in the suit are tenuous and it amounts to an illegal conspiracy of the Claimants to deprive the State of economic justice. 

In opposition, the claimants' counsel K. K. Eleja (SAN) With M.A. Abdulraheem and I.K. Aladiture Esq averred that claimants failure to attend the state functions which they were not made aware of cannot be construed as proof of misconduct or a violation of their breach of allegiance of office and the Kwara State House of Assembly did not afford them the opportunity to be heard before passing a resolution to be removed from their respective offices.

Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Kiyesohot Damulak dismissed the objection and held that the case can be comfortably disposed of and executed without the presence of the House of Assembly as it is not a necessary party in the suit.

Justice Damulak declared that the removal of the claimants from office for no reason is unconstitutional, null, and void; and held that the evidence of publication of invitation widely circulated in the print and electronic media for inviting the claimants to state functions was neither pleaded nor produced and the House of Assembly must first hear the claimants in the spirit of fair hearing guaranteed by section 36 of the constitution. 

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