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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 orders NECO to reinstate Ibrahim Musa, awards damages


1052 Tuesday 21st March 2023

Hon. Justice Olufunke Anuwe of the Abuja Judicial division of the National Industrial Court has declared the employment termination of Mr. Ibrahim Musa from the service of The National Examinations Council (NECO) without a just cause and without due process of law as unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and of no legal effect.


The Court granted an order reinstating Ibrahim Musa to his employment with the NECO and to the position or rank he ought to be at the judgment date.


Justice Anuwe also directed the National Examinations Council to pay Ibrahim Musa all his arrears of salaries, allowances, benefits and other entitlements from 5th November 2021 when his employment was terminated till date and awarded the sum of N1,000,000 against the NECO as general damages and N200,000 cost of action within 30 days. 


The Court ruled that the termination of Mr. Musa’s employment was done in breach of provisions of the NECO Staff Regulation and in violation of his right to fair hearing.


From facts, the claimant- Mr. Ibrahim Musa had submitted that NECO issued him a query dated 13th August 2021 and he replied on 14th August 2021. After the 2021 SSCE examination, he returned to the headquarters and he was issued another query dated 15th September 2021 alleging that he was found of misconduct which contravened Rule 030102 of the Public Service Rules.


He further averred that NECO did not set up any Staff Disciplinary Committee or Administrative Panel with respect to the queries or the allegations for which his employment was terminated and he never appeared before any Disciplinary/Administrative Panel before any decision was taken against him. 


In defense, Defendant- NECO maintained that Mr. Musa’s employment termination was done in accordance with the rule of law and public service rules, and urged the court to dismiss the case in its entirety.


In opposition, the counsel to Mr. Musa, Daniel Omakor Esq maintained that none of the 2 queries served on his client were on the allegation of abscondment from office for which his employment was terminated, and urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.


Delivering judgment, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Olufunke Anuwe held that Mr. Musa’s employment cannot be terminated without strict compliance with the terms and conditions applicable to his employment. 


The Court held that Mr. Musa was not served any query where the allegation of “abscondment from office” or contravention of Rules 030301(o) and 030401 of the PSR was made against him prior to the termination of his employment, and the Management Committee did not investigate the allegation of abscondment from office against Mr. Musa.

 

The Court stated that Mr. Musa was not queried for the allegation for which his employment was terminated and as such, he never had the chance to reply to the allegation.


The Court held that Ibrahim Musa’s employment cannot be terminated without strict compliance with the terms and conditions applicable to his employment and granted the reliefs sought.


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