His Lordship, Hon. Justice Edith Agbakoba of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Abuja Judicial division has declared the purported appointment termination of Secretary of the Nigerian National Merit Award, PROFESSOR GBOLAGADE AYOOLA before the expirations of his two year tenure of office as null, void and of no effect whatsoever for breaching the principles of the terms and conditions of the appointment.
The claimant-Prof. Ayoola via final written address asked for determination among others whether the provisions of the law regarding the disciplinary procedure and fair hearing were not breached by THE GOVERNING BOARD OF THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL MERIT AWARD in suspending and terminating his appointment before the expiration of his tenure.
The GOVERNING BOARD stressed that the various acts of the claimant flouting the directive of the board amount to acts of insubordination that claimant was dismissed by the governing board upon the recommendation of the committee set up to investigate him.
The defendants opined that the claimant was not just told to quit his position, that after issuing him query which he failed to respond to, and was also invited to appear before the committee which he refused to do and as a result of this, his appointment was terminated urged to court to dismiss the case with cost.
In rebuttal, the PROFESSOR AYOOLA stated that at no time did he leave his duty post that he sought approval for annual leave from THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION-3rd Defendant through the Permanent Secretaries (Special Duties, General Services) that he was neither invited to appear before any committee.
However, THE GOVERNING BOARD submitted that Claimant was just a mere appointee of the Board which he is wholly responsible to and which exercises disciplinary control over him including dismissal.
Delivering judgment, the trial Judge, Justice Agbakoba held that suspension of an employee is not an unusual procedure taken in order to facilitate investigation of an alleged impropriety, and further that Claimant’s dismissal must be in accordance with the laid down procedure.
“I find that the procedure culminating in a letter of termination is foreign to the claimant’s employment and is thus liable to be declared irregular, wrongful, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever and that the letter of Termination is required to be set aside.”
The court set aside the letter of termination of the Claimant’s appointment as Secretary of the Nigerian National Merit Award dated the 7th April 20 16, ordered defendants to pay Claimant all salaries and allowances due to the him from the date last paid until the end of his contract 7th April 2016 and sum of N300,000.00 cost of action within 30 days.