Back

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.

LIVE Proceeding VIRTUAL COURT

News


Industrial Court orders Civil Defence, Correctional Services Board to reinstate Medical Doctor


581 Friday 8th March 2024

The Presiding Judge, Lagos Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Maureen Esowe has nullified the purported dismissal of Dr Hemeson Edwin from the Service of the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire And Immigration Services Board.


Justice Esowe held that the allegations of gross misconduct against Dr Edwin contained in the suspension letter are different from those contained in the query letter which means that Dr Edwin was investigated, disciplined and dismissed for a different offence or misconduct an action that is against the Public Service Rules.


The Court ordered the reinstatement of Dr Edwin to office with payment of all his entitlements from the date of suspension 29th November 2019 till date.

 

From facts, the Claimant- Dr Hemeson Edwin, a medical doctor employed by the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire And Immigration Services Board on 18th December 2001, and was deployed to different correctional service centres had submitted that he was placed on suspension, and subsequently issued a query letter on alleged misconduct and was later dismissed from the service of the board.


Dr Edwin averred that the disciplinary procedure adopted by the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire And Immigration Services Board and the Controller General, Nigeria Correctional Services prior to his dismissal as well as his dismissal did not follow the Public Services Rules, and urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.

 

In defence, the 1st Defendant- the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire And Immigration Services Board filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection seeking a dismissal of the suit on grounds that it was incompetent and the Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain same as it was statute barred.

 

However, the 2nd Defendant- the Controller General, Nigeria Correctional Services had in its abandoned pleadings averred that Dr. Edwin was suspended to give room for investigation and to prevent him from tampering with information or documents that could affect or alter the investigation which the court noted that such averments was not supported by evidence and therefore goes to no issue.

 

In opposition, Dr Edwin’s Counsel, P. O. Otaboh-Oboh, Esq contended that the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire And Immigration Services Board acted outside the scope of their authority and without the semblance of legal justification of fair hearing before his client's dismissal which is an exception to the protection conferred by the Public Officers Protection Act, and urged the court to dismiss the objection in its entirety.

 

 

In a well-considered judgment after a thorough evaluation of the submissions of both parties, the Presiding Judge, Justice Maureen Esowe held that a party fails or neglects to utilize the opportunity afforded it by the Court to put up its case, such party cannot later be heard to complain of denial of fair hearing.

 

The Court struck out Dr. Edwin’s claims against the Controller General, Nigeria Correctional Services for being statute barred in accordance with the Nigerian Correctional Service Act which provides a three-month window for instituting a case against the Nigerian Correctional Service or any of its officials.

 

However, Justice Maureen affirmed that Dr Edwin’s case is not statute-barred against the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board, and that the action falls within exceptions to the application of the Public Officers Protection Act.


Justice Esowe held that Dr Edwin was suspended on an allegation distinct and different from the allegations levelled against him in the query letter issued by the Nigerian Correctional Service.

 

The Court held that the Civil Defence, Correctional Fire And Immigration Services Board has not established a serious prima facie case against Dr Edwin to warrant his immediate suspension, and the allegations levelled against him as contained in the suspension letter were unsubstantiated. 

 

“It is declared that the Claimant was not accorded a right to fair hearing by the Defendant in this matter as he was suspended before he was heard and his suspension and dismissal by the Defendants was null and void.”


Visit the judgment portal for full details www.nicnadr.gov.ng/judgement