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Office of Deputy Clerk not at the pleasure of the Speaker- Industrial Court rules

72 Wednesday 1st September 2021

The Presiding Judge, Benin Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Adunola Adewemimo has set aside the purported compulsory retirement of Edo State House of Assembly Deputy Clerk, Mr. Samuel Efezokhae from office.


The Court held that Mr. Samuel's employment is regulated by the Edo State Civil Service Rules and cannot be said to have held his office as Deputy-Clerk of the House of Assembly at the pleasure of the Speaker.


In addition, Justice Adewemimo ordered the Edo State House of Assembly Service Commission to reinstate Mr. Samuel to his position as Deputy Clerk (Legislative) of Edo State House of Assembly, without any loss of seniority with payment of all his salaries and entitlements from June 2019 till date.


From facts, the claimant- Mr. Samuel Efezokhae had submitted that he was employed in 1990, confirmed as an appointee of Edo State Civil Service in 1992, and was deployed to the Edo State House of Assembly, where he enjoyed several promotions and was eventually promoted to the position of Deputy Clerk till he was compulsorily retired on 24th June 2019, and argued that he still has six (6) years remaining in service.


He claimed that his retirement was unlawful as there was no allegation or proof of wrongdoing against him, and was yet to clock the statutory age of retirement at that point, that all effort to get back to office proved abortive.


In defense, the Edo State House of Assembly contended that Mr. Samuel's appointment as Deputy Clerk of the House of Assembly was held at the pleasure of the Speaker of the House and his compulsory retirement cannot be faulted, urged the court to dismiss the case in its entirety.


The Assembly counsel, R. O. Isenalumhe Esq stated that the Mr. Samuel suit is premature as he did not exhaust the house internal remedy tools and did not give pre-action notice before approaching the Court and the Edo State House of Assembly Service Commission has no role in the appointment and removal of a Deputy Clerk urged the court to strike out the case.


In opposition, Mr. Samuel's counsel, Ohenhen Esq argued that the Edo House of Assembly contention that his client's failure to issue and serve a pre-action notice before commencing the suit was misplaced urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.


Delivering the judgment after careful evaluation of the submissions of both parties, the presiding judge, Justice Adunola Adewemimo struck out the name of the State House of Assembly for the failure of Mr. Samuel to serve pre-action notice as required by law and affirmed the 2nd defendant- Edo State House of Assembly Service Commission as the sole defendant. 


Justice Adewemimo held that Samuel’s employment is regulated by the Edo State Civil Service Rules and cannot be said to have held his office as Deputy-Clerk of the House of Assembly at the pleasure of the Speaker.


The Court further held that the defendant’s action in compulsorily retiring the claimant before the date provided in the Rules is therefore not only premature but in clear breach of the Edo State Civil Service Rules.


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