Hon. Justice Zaynab Bashir of the Portharcourt Judicial division of the National Industrial Court has dismissed the salary and other entitlement claims filed by Ndubueze Uchechukwu against National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for lacking merit.
The court held that NAFDAC legitimately stopped the payment of Ndubueze Uchechukwu salary when he stopped working on the 9th of December, 2010 and did not deserve any payment from March 2012 to date that the consideration for salary is work.
From facts, the claimant- Ndubueze Uchechukwu had averred that he was yet to recover from the devastation of the kidnap incidence when he was hurriedly transferred to Maiduguri with immediate effect.
He posited that due to the fear of repeat of the incidence, he did not resume at Maiduguri upon which he was queried. He added that he was never sacked but his salary was stopped unofficially sometime in 2011 although his pension scheme was still running and suggested why he was not sacked officially, urged the court to grant all the reliefs sought.
In defense, the defendant- NAFDAC objected to the suit on the grounds that the suit is an abuse of court process in view of the fact that Ndubueze had a suit pending at the federal high court, and the failure to serve a pre-action notice, urged the court to dismiss the case.
The NAFDAC maintained that Ndubueze Uchechukwu was commiserated with a sum of N50,000.00 and was not abandoned, added that posting is a routine thing in civil service and the said salary was stopped since he could not effect verification having not resumed work in Maiduguri.
Counsel to the NAFDAC, O.M. Abutu Esq added that the conduct of Ndubueze is willful disobedience to lawful orders of his employer and is well aware of the implication of such disobedience.
In opposition, Ndubueze’s counsel G.N. Choko Esq posited that NAFDAC is under a very serious duty to provide safe working environment for his client and not to force the traumatized staff into a war zone, that no case was pending at the federal high court,urged the court to do justice by granting the reliefs sought.
Delivering the judgment, the presiding judge, Justice Zaynab Bashir dismissed the objections for lacking merit and affirmed that Ndubueze Uchechukwu did not resume work in Maiduguri as ordered by his employer NAFDAC.
“Bearing the foregoing in mind, I reckon that there are other employees of the Defendant in the said Maiduguri and I cannot agree any less with the counsel to the Defendant.
“In all, what is deducible from the combination of Exhibits the letters written by the Claimant to the DG is that the Claimant had stayed away from work since 9th December, 2010. He didn’t resume at the Maiduguri office at all and also stopped working at the Port Harcourt office where he was before the posting.” Justice Zaynab ruled.