Abuja---His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court, Abuja Judicial Division has declared null and void the compulsory retirement of Lt Col. Dukup Daza by the Nigerian Army Council from the services of the Nigerian Army, ordered immediate reinstatement and payment of Three Hundred Thousand Naira cost of action.
The Court held that the defendants breached the doctrine of natural justice in the process of retiring the claimant from service, which has rendered the action of the Nigerian Army Council as unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful and ultra vires the powers of the defendants.
From facts, the claimant- Lt Col Dukup submitted that his compulsory retirement on the 9th June 2016 was not in accordance with harmonized terms and conditions of services for officers and other relevant laws that he appealed and has not been told of any serious offences which he committed, neither was he invited to appear before any panel before he was retired.
However, the defendants contended that the suit of the claimant be dismissed for lack of merit filed alongside that the Court lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter, the court overruled the application and assumed jurisdiction.
Counsel for the defendants submitted that the combined provisions of harmonized terms and conditions of services, the option of appeal to Mr. President is not available to the claimant urged the Court to dismiss the claims of the Claimant for lacking merit and award N1,000,000.00 cost in favour of the defendant.
Defendants witness also testified that the claimant was rightly retired by the Army Council as they have right as employers of the claimant to retire him from service and was because his services are no longer required.
Counsel submitted further that the claimant has not discharged the burden of proof imposed on him by the law, as there was no evidence as to Army Council acted unconstitutionally, illegal, unlawful and ultra vires in removing claimant.
Delivering judgment, the trial Judge, Justice Sanusi Kado held that nowhere in the pleading of the defendant where it was averred that the claimant was compulsorily retired because his services were no longer.
“The defendant never denied the assertion of the claimant that he was not aware of any allegation levelled against him nor was he invited before any panel to answer the allegation. The defendant did not directly and frontally attack the averment of the claimant and cannot, therefore, be heard to assert that there was no evidence of unconstitutionality and illegality of compulsory retirement.
“The defendants having failed to confront the claimant with the serious offences which the claimant was alleged to have committed that led to his compulsory retirement, they are in breach of the rights of the claimant to be informed of the allegations against him and giving him the opportunity to defend the allegations levelled against him.
“In the circumstance, the claimant’s compulsory retirement is hereby nullified and set aside and the defendants are hereby ordered to reinstate the claimant back to the service of the defendants with immediate effect.
“With the nullification of the claimant’s employment, the employment has been as if there is no retirement and the claimant is still in service. This means he is entitled to his salaries. But, the claimant failed to prove to the court the exact quantum of the salary as the payslips have different amount of money. In the circumstance claim for salary has not been proved and same is hereby refused.” Justice Sanusi Ruled.