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.



Industrial Court orders Academy to pay Teacher N2m psychological trauma for unlawful employment termination within 30 days

308 Monday 15th May 2023

The Presiding Judge, Makurdi Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Isaac Essien as declared Mrs Lucy Agabo’s employment termination from Trinity Model Academy on the grounds of alleged gross misconduct as unlawful, null and void as same was done in breach of Agabo’s fundamental right to fair hearing. 

The Court ordered Trinity Model Academy to pay Mrs Lucy Agabo compensation of N2,000,000 (Two Million naira only) for unlawful employment termination, psychological trauma and embarrassment, and the sum of N200k cost of action within 30 days. 

From facts, the Claimant- Mrs Lucy Agabo, a former teacher had submitted that she was employed by the defendant as a classroom teacher in September 2017 and was surprisingly issued a letter on the 5th of April 2019 from the 2nd defendant terminating her appointment alleging the acts of gross misconduct.

She asserted that she never engaged in any of the act of misconduct and was never issued a query before her termination, that the termination is an attempt to destroy her teaching career which she worked assiduously to build over the years and to further prejudice her chances of job prospecting in the future. 

In defense, the defendant- Trinity Model Academy posited that Mrs Agabo was found of misconduct despite several reprimands from the management of the school. The school’s counsel argued that since the appointment of Mrs Agabo was temporary in nature, it does not need strict adherence to statutory provisions but from the condition of service drawn from the instrument of employment, and urged the court to dismiss the case in its entirety.

In response, counsel to Mrs Agabo argued that the probation period was supposed to be for one academic calendar and his client had become a permanent staff from September 2018 when the new academic session commenced. Counsel argued that Mrs Lucy Agabo had ceased from being a temporary staff when her appointment was terminated, and urged the Court to grant the reliefs sought.

Delivering judgment after careful evaluation of the submissions of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Isaac Essien held that the failure of the Trinity Model Academy to confirm Mrs Agabo after one academic session and continuing to hold her in the employment is nothing but an unfair labour practice and she is deemed to have been confirmed by operation of the law. 

Justice Essien ruled that the failure of the Academy to issue Mrs Agabo query as provided in the contract of employment which would have afforded her the opportunity to defend the allegation of misconduct made against her was a clear breach of the right to fair hearing as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution as amended.

“The defendants painted a horrific picture of the claimant as a dangerous person who should not be allowed to go near school children but failed to substantiate the allegations. I agree with the claimant that if this termination is allowed to stand the claimant may have difficulty furthering her career in the future. The defendant cannot by their unlawful act impede the claimant’s right to be gainfully employed in the future.” The Court ruled

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