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The court has exclusive jurisdiction in civil causes and matters relating to or connected with any labour, employment, trade unions, industrial relations and matters arising from workplace, the conditions of service, including health, safety, welfare of labour, employee, worker and matter incidental thereto or connected therewith.

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Industrial Court sets aside demotion of SP David Akinmarin, orders PSC to pay salary from 2017 till retirement


380 Wednesday 2nd November 2022

The Presiding Judge, Lagos Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Maureen Esowe has set aside SP David Akinmarin's reduction of rank by the Police Service Commission for being wrongful.

 

The Court ordered the Police Service Commission, the Inspector General of Police, and the Commissioner of Police, Airport Command, Ikeja, Lagos State to pay SP David Akinmarin the full amount of his salary from 14th November 2017 till the date of his compulsory retirement being 1st March 2019.

 

Justice Esowe ruled on the unchallenged evidence that SP David Akinmarin Rtd was not given adequate opportunity to make his defence and there is nothing presented by the Police Service Commission and the Inspector General of Police to show the contrary, that no matter how well conducted the disciplinary hearing or investigations in respect of the allegations against the Claimant in breach of the principles of fair hearing remains a nullity; awarded the sum of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) only as general damages against the Police Service Commission and 2 others.

 

From facts, the Claimant- SP David Akinmarin had submitted that the Police Service Commission's decision to unlawfully suspend him without pay and compulsorily retire him from the services on the basis of an unproven allegation was done in breach of his right to a fair hearing and with no regards to compliance with proper disciplinary procedures set out in the Public Service Rules.

 

He submitted further that his demotion to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and the decision of the Force Disciplinary Committee to suspend and interdict him did not give him the opportunity to state his own side of the story thereby breaching his right to fair hearing, urged the court to grant all the reliefs sought.

 

However, despite the fact that the Police Service Commission and 2 others were served with the processes including several hearing notices, they elected to absent themselves from the entire proceedings as no processes were filed.

 

Delivering the judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Maureen Esowe held that the right to fair hearing shall be within a reasonable time, and no Court is allowed to wait for an indefinite period for a litigant to make up his mind whether or not to put up his case.

 

Justice Esowe stated that the absence of defense does not guarantee automatic success for the claimant because the law mandates the Court to make a finding as to whether those claims are sustainable.

 

The Court held that suspension is neither a termination of the contract of employment nor a dismissal of the employee and that SP David could not be interdicted and suspended concomitantly.

Justice Esowe ruled on the unchallenged evidence that SP David Akinmarin Rtd was not given adequate opportunity to make his defence and there is nothing presented by the Police Service Commission and the Inspector General of Police to show the contrary, that no matter how well conducted the disciplinary hearing or investigations in respect of the allegations against the Claimant in breach of the principles of fair hearing remains a nullity.

 

“Given the fact that the Claimant supposedly knew nothing of the disciplinary hearings and or investigation taking place with respect to the allegations against him only to receive information that he was to be penalized by a reduction of his rank, the mental hardship inflicted on the Claimant can only be best imagined. It is on this ground that I award the cost of N500,000.00 as general damages in favour of the Claimant against all the Defendants.”

 

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