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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 employment termination claim against Akanu Ibiam Polytechnic


747 Wednesday 31st May 2023

The Presiding Judge, Enugu judicial division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Olukayode Arowosegbe has dismissed the case filed by one Jonathan against Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Ebonyi State and 2 others challenging his employment termination for lacking merit.


The Court held that Jonathan was aware that he could be dismissed based on a prior indictment if he failed to disclose the history of his earlier employment with the government before securing another government employment. 


From facts, the claimant- Mr. Jonathan had pleaded that his dismissal hinged on White Paper was contrary to the Public Service Rules which regulated his appointment.


He pleaded that the White Paper was made without a fair hearing and he challenged it by a suit, which was struck out.


In defense, the defendants- Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Ebonyi State and 2 others stated that Abia State Government issued a White Paper which indicted Jonathan for misconduct and he was dismissed. They counterpleaded that Jonathan suppressed the information at his appointment about his dismissal and when they eventually discovered, due process and fair hearing in terminating Jonathan's appointment were followed.


In opposition, Jonathan argued that the White Paper did not direct his dismissal and never gazetted to have legal effect to warrant such disclosure and the circumstances under which he can be dismissed from the defendant's employ by virtue of the PSR is serious misconduct.


Delivering judgement, the presiding Judge, Justice Olukayode Arowosegbe held that Jonathan’s issue of lack of fair hearing on the processes leading to the issuance of the White Paper is an entirely different cause of action for which the extant defendants could not be sued and could not answer. 


Justice Arowosegbe held that a court lacks jurisdiction to hear a case where the defendant is not brought to the Court, and dismissed Jonathan’s issues of absence of fair hearing in the processes leading to the issuance of the White Paper as irrelevant, stale and academic.


The Court held that Jonathan was aware that, he could be dismissed on the basis of the prior indictment of being asked to resign or retire, if he failed to disclose it, before securing another government employment. 


“I found in p. 5, para. (ix-x) of the Report of the GCC that, the claimant absconded from his former employment to avoid dismissal and concealed the indictment from the defendants when he got an appointment with 1st defendant. 


“I found too that the defendants cited Rule 020206(1) to the effect that, it makes it an offence to secure employment with the 1st defendant when there is an indictment of dismissal or being asked to resign or retire hanging on him in a previous employment." The Court ruled.


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