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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 dismisses reinstatement claim against Nigerian Army


171 Tuesday 15th November 2022

The Presiding Judge, Ibadan Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Dele Peters has dismissed the reinstatement claim filed by one Private Henry Ahamefule against the Nigerian Army for lack of jurisdiction.


Justice Peters ruled that the court neither has the power to review or sit on appeal over the decision of the General Court Martial, that having been sentenced and the sentence confirmed by the confirming authority, the available option to Private Henry was to approach the appellate court for intervention.


From facts, the Claimant- Private Henry Ahamefule had submitted that he was enlisted into the Nigerian Army as a Private until 2017 when his services were orally terminated by the Nigerian Army and Chief of Army Staff.


He stated further that in 2012 he was court martial for assault by the GOC and was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment; that the confirming authority did not confirm the sentence within the stipulated statutory period and that by the decision of Federal High, Lagos Division, the Court Martial was set aside and the Nigerian Army authority refused to abide by the decision of the Federal High Court and he served the terms of imprisonment after which he was refused of reinstatement.


In defense, the defendants- Nigerian Army and Chief of Army Staff and GOC maintained that any member of the Armed Forces sentenced to prison is automatically dismissed and the confirmation of sentence is the notice of termination of appointment.


They averred that the present action was statute-barred having not been brought within 4 months of confirmation of the sentence or instituted within 3 months; that only the Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to determine the reliefs of the Claimant over the confirmation of the sentence leading to the dismissal and the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit.


Counsel prayed the Court to hold that Private Henry was sentenced and dismissed in accordance with the provisions of the Armed Forces Act that the Judgment of the Federal High Court did not nullify the sentence of the General Court Martial, urged the court to dismiss the case in its entirety.


In opposition, the leaned Counsel to Private Henry submitted that the dismissal of his client was unlawful; that the effect of the proceedings of the Court Martial were rendered null and void because of a situation where the Court has held that a party was not afforded a fair hearing such a proceeding will be declared null and void.


Delivering the judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Dele Peters held that there is no evidence before the court to the effect that Private Henry appealed to the General Court Martial either for a review or setting aside of that sentence. 


Justice Dele Peters stated that for Private Henry to have approached the Industrial Court to set aside the sentence of the General Court Martial and order his reinstatement is procedurally wrong, as the court neither has the power to review or sit on appeal over the decision of the General Court Martial. 


“Having been sentenced and the sentence confirmed by the confirming authority, the available option to the Claimant was to approach the appellate court for intervention.


“It is apparent that this Court lacks jurisdiction to ear and determine the case as instituted by the Claimant. Accordingly, I resolve the first issue against the Claimant and dismiss this case in its entirety."  Justice Peters ruled.

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