His Lordship, Hon. Justice Elizabeth Oji of the Lagos Judicial division of the National Industrial Court has ordered the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, Epe Local Government Council, and State Attorney General to pay Mr. Ogunbanwo Kehinde salaries, allowances, and other entitlements from 4th October 2010 till date based on the prevailing rates till his contract is lawfully terminated with the cost of Two hundred thousand Naira within 60 days.
The Court held that the continuous non-payment of salaries, allowances, and other entitlements of Ogunbanwo’s as an employee of Epe Local Government Education Authority since assumption of duty on the 4th day of October 2010 till date as unlawful.
From facts, the claimant- Mr. Ogunbanwo Kehinde had submitted that four months after his employment, the Local Education Authority came out with the Lagos State Government Teaching/Non-Teaching Service Salary Structure and indicated that his salaries would be paid at the end of the 6th month of his service being March 2011. He added that the authority issued Staff Verification Exercise Clearance to him in June 2016 and confirmed him as its staff, with the assurance that his salary will be paid. That despite all the promises, the authority refused or neglected to pay him.
In defense, the local education authority, state education board, and 2 others averred that Ogunbanwo’s salary was delayed due to his failure to produce necessary documents to be computed into the Database System, and further that no evidence before the Court that Ogunbanwo’s were certified by a State Medical Officer as medically fit for Government Service which is contrary to the Lagos State Public Service.
The defendant urged the Court to hold that failure of the Ogunbanwo to comply with the terms of their contract of service is fatal and urged the Court should dismiss the case.
In opposition, Ogunbanwo’s counsel Afolabi Medeton Esq argued that by Defendants’ acceptance of his resumption of duty had waived the requirement that till date his employment has not been terminated and the continuous non-payment of salaries, allowances, and other entitlements for services rendered since 4th of October 2010 till date is unjust, urged the court to hold so.
Delivering the judgment via virtual proceeding after careful perusal of the submissions of both parties, the presiding judge, Justice Elizabeth Oji held that no evidence that the Ogunbanwo Kehinde employment has been terminated or that the Local Education Authority had communicated to the Claimant that there were any problems with his employment status that Ogunbanwo’s continues to be an employee of the Defendants until lawfully terminated.
Declaring further, Justice Elizabeth maintained that the Defendants’ argument that the Claimant did not tender a letter of acceptance of the appointment is untenable in the circumstances of the case that the act of confirmation was expected to come from the Defendants, and the Defendants cannot seek to rely on their failure to confirm or determine the contract to challenge the Claimant’s status as their employee.
“It is indisputable that Claimant’s salaries and allowances have not been paid since 2010 when Claimant was employed by the Defendants. Payment of salaries and wages to employees is as essential as necessities to a human being and no employer can deny same.” Justice Elizabeth ruled.
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