Hon. Justice Edith Agbakoba of the Abuja judicial division of the National Industrial Court has ordered the Vice Chancellor and Governing Council of the Federal University Dustin-Ma to pay Dr. Aondoakaa Asambe the sum of Four Million, Eight Hundred and Ninety-Eight Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty-Six Naira (N4, 898, 560.00 ) as call duty allowance for 1st October 2015 to 30th September 2020.
However, the Court declined to grant an order to compel the University to convert the placement of Dr. Aondoakaa on the Rank of Assistant Lecturer on CONUASS 02/02 to Lecturer II on CONUASS 03/02 effective from 24th September 2013 to the date of his next promotion, with the consequential annual increment for lacking merit and held that the court cannot enforce the term in favour of Dr. Aondoakaa as being sought on the premise that he accepted the contract without protest.
From facts, the claimant- Dr. Aondoakaa Asambe had submitted that his appointment was regularized from Temporary to Provisional and was later confirmed vides a correspondence dated 17th February 2016 and sought for a declaration that his placement as a Veterinary Officer in the University Farm on Grade Level 9 CONTISS II 08/02 instead of Grade Level 12 on CONMESS 02/02 was illegal, wrongful and a violation of the University’s Conditions and Schemes of Service and the Scheme of Service for Federal Civil Service.
Likewise, an ORDER COMPELLING the University and its Governing Council to pay him the cumulative sum of N11,018,3 16.06 (Eleven Million Eighteen Thousand Three Hundred and Sixteen Naira Six Kobo) only being the total salary shortfall and unpaid allowances and the sum of N50m general and exemplary damages among others.
Dr. Aondoakaa had stated that after about a year of assumption of office as academic staff, he was never paid the requisite CONMESS allowances, and was advised to wait and apply after the University establishes a Veterinary Clinic, and sometime in the year 2015, a Veterinary Clinic for the University was launched and effectively took off and he brought his professional expertise as a Veterinary Doctor to bear in rendering services at the Veterinary Clinic and was not paid.
In defense, the University stated that Dr. Aondoakaa Asambe has not exhausted all the internal dispute resolution mechanisms of the institution before filing the action, and can only be entitled to the allowances he claimed after the University established the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine or Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
The University stated that Dr. Aondoakaa’s placement as Lecturer II on the completion of his Masters was in order and argued that Claimant cannot be heard to complain that he was not properly placed when he was employed in 2013 because he accepted the employment willingly and continued to enjoy the benefits associated with the level on which he was employed.
In a further submission, the University averred that Dr. Aondoakaa’s case is statute-barred having been filed out of time, and urged the court to decline jurisdiction.
In opposition, the Counsel to Dr. Aondoakaa submitted that there is nothing whatsoever in the University Act, making it necessary for the Visitor to have a say on any dispute between an employee and the University management before resorting to litigation, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.
Delivering judgment after careful evaluation of the submission of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Agbakoba dismissed the objection for lacking merit and held that the Claimant worked happily with the defendants all those years till 2017 and as such the court considered this as a period where the Claimant agreed to work infer the conditions given to him and he cannot be allowed to complain now having condoned the said conditions.
The court further held that the claimant has proved his claim for N4, 898, 560.00 being money due to him as call duty allowance for the period 1/10/2015 to 30/9/2020 and accordingly entitled to same computed at 40 units per month for the said period and declined other reliefs sought for lacking merit.
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