Hon. Justice Olufunke Anuwe of the National Industrial Court, Abuja Judicial Division has ordered the Hon. Minister of Health, Federal Civil Service Commission, and Federal Medical Centre Keffi to restore the salary of one Uzoma Gabriel Umeh by re-entering his name in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System [IPPIS] and to pay him all arrears of his salary, accruing entitlements, and benefits from November 2017 till date.
Justice Anuwe also gave an order mandating the Federal Medical Centre Keffi and others to regularize and put everything in place to enable Uzoma to be entitled to pending promotions, rightful grade level with the payment of all accruing allowances, entitlements, benefits of such new grade levels and awarded the sum of N800,000.00 for general damages and N200,000.00 cost of action.
The court held that the Federal Medical Centre had no legal justification to have stopped Uzoma’s salary on the recommendation of the Minister in March 2018, that nowhere in the Public Service Rules give the Minister disciplinary power over the staff of parastatals.
From facts, the claimant, Uzoma Umeh had sought among others for a declaration that the resolution of the House of Representatives dated 6th November 2018 upholding the recommendation of the Hon. Minister of State for Health by directing the Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre Keffi to restore his salary and pay all arrears, entitlements, and benefits be implemented.
Mr. Uzoma stated that in April 2017, the head of his unit verbally told him to leave the unit for the Histopathology Unit but he requested a formal letter of transfer and protested via letter to the Medical Director.
He said he was invited to appear before the Disciplinary Committee and was not confronted with any charges or accusations to respond to, that at the end of November 2017, his salary was stopped as he was not on suspension nor dismissed from the employment even though he has been attending work and carrying out duties assigned to him.
The House of Representatives deliberated on his petition in the proceedings of 6th November 2018 and adopted the recommendation of the Committee that the Defendants should restore his salary and pay him all arrears of salary, entitlements, and benefits but all to no avail.
In defense, the defendants averred that Uzoma Gabriel was to proceed on the posting since on 4th May 2017 but failed to do so up till October 2017; that Uzoma was also invited before the Disciplinary Committee, informed of the reason for his invitation and was found guilty of misconduct and the disciplinary committee recommended that his employment be terminated.
They concluded that the Minister’s recommendation that Uzoma be placed on 3 months suspension and issued a warning letter was implemented; that the Federal Medical Centre is not bound by the resolution of the House of Representatives urged the court to dismiss the claim in its entirety for lacking merit.
Delivering the judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Olufunke Anuwe held that the court lacks jurisdiction to consider or make a pronouncement on the aspect of the question relating to the enforcement of the Resolution of the House of Representatives.
“Consequently, the recommendation of the Minister which was implemented and communicated to the Claimant is ultra vires the Minister. The said recommendation of the Minister of State for Health and its implementation against the Claimant are null and void.
"The Claimant is accordingly deemed not to have ever been suspended without pay in March 2018.” Justice Anuwe ruled.