Abuja---His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court, Abuja Division has dismissed the case filed by Mr. Christopher Njoku against Nile University of Nigeria seeking payment of salaries and entitlement for lacking merit.
The court held that no validly accepted contract of service between Mr. Christopher and the Institution as a result of incomplete acceptance that would enable the claimant to make claims for salaries and also entitled to order of the court that he is still in the service of the defendant.
The claimant prayed for AN ORDER of this Honourable Court compelling the Defendant to pay the Claimant all his aforementioned monthly salaries and/or employment benefits effect from January, 2018 till the Honourable Court enters judgment and further compel the Defendant to pay the Claimant his salaries on a monthly pro-rata basis thereafter as the contract of employment remains among others against the defendant.
From the statement of facts, the case of the Claimant was that he was employed by the Defendant on the 2nd August 2016 as a full-time lecturer, and the Defendant has, however, did not pay him salary since his employment as a lecturer of the University. He further averred that he had participated in many other academic activities of the Defendant. He further stated that he attended the sample lecture presentation but, was not allowed to make a presentation because his course has been given to another new lecturer. The Claimant is praying the Court to grant his reliefs as stated on his complaint.
The Defendant agreed that the Claimant was given employment, but he, however, did not completely accept the said employment and never resumed to assume duty. The Defendant stated that the condition precedent to the claimant’s offer being confirmed was that he was to undergo the lecture presentation interview, signing, countersigning, documentation and resumption on duty. All of which the Defendant stated that the claimant failed to do.
The Defendant further stated that the Court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the Claimant’s suit as it is statute-barred having not commenced within 6 months of termination of the claimant’s employment, stated that the claimant is not entitled to the reliefs claimed and called the Court to dismiss the suit with cost.
The defendant filed final written address submitted for determination whether there is a contract of employment between the Claimant and the Defendant, argued that the reason for collecting the offer letter was that the service of the claimant was not yet needed. And the letter stated that the claimant’s appointment commences from the date of assumption of duty.
Counsel further submitted that the claimant by his own admission has failed to offer any work for the defendant and that salary or wages has been held by the Court as compensation for work that no place where an employee would be paid without working urged the Court to dismiss the suit in its entirety as frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of process of the Court.
Also, in his written address, counsel to the claimant contended that the defendant contradicted itself when in one breadth it held that employment of the claimant was terminated, in another breath-holding that Claimant’s employment was never terminated urged the Court to disregard the evidence presented by the Defendant.
Delivering the Judgment, Justice Kado discountenanced all submissions made by counsel for both parties regarding sample lecture presentation as to no issue that no clause makes reference to such as one of the terms or conditions of the contract of service between the claimant and the defendant in the suit.
“An assiduous and meticulous examination of the provisions of the last page of the letter of appointment, will in no doubt exposed the fallacy of the claim of the claimant that he had fully and completely accepted the offer of appointment as Assistant Lecturer in the Department/Faculty of Mass communication.
“To this extent, the claimant has not resumed duty at the defendant as required by the terms, conditions, and agreement to govern his contract of employment with the claimant. The non-signing which is a condition precedent to the validity of the acceptance has rendered the acceptance of the offer of appointment inconclusive in view of the said defect in the acceptance of the contract.
“In view of this glaring finding, I hereby hold that there is no contract of employment between the claimant and the defendant to entitle the claimant to have his claims granted by this court. The reason for this decision in not farfetched. It is due to lack definite acceptance which was as a result of non-signing of resumption.” Justice Kado rules
In all, the court held that there no validly accepted contract of service between the claimant and the defendant as a result of incomplete acceptance and dismissed the suit for failure of the claimant to establish his claim.