The Presiding Judge, Kaduna Division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sinmisola Adeniyi had dismissed the suit filed by ex-soldier Private Tijani Sheriff against the Nigeria Army and General Officer Commanding (Goc) 1 Mechanized Division, Kaduna in its entirety for lacking merit.
Justice Adeniyi held that ex-soldier Tijani has failed to satisfy the Court with credible evidence to prove that his dismissal was unlawful.
Until his dismissal, the Claimant - Private Tijani served as a soldier with the Nigeria Arny at the Infantry Corp Centre Headquarters, Jaji. He contended that due process was not followed and was not accorded fair hearing before he was dismissed from service.
In defence, the Defendants-Nigeria Army and GOC 1 Kaduna denied the substance of the claim and submitted that the trial and dismissal of the Private Tijani from the Service by the Commanding Officer was proper and in accordance with the Law.
Learned counsel for the Claimant formulated for a determination whether or not the Defendants’ summary trial and the pronouncements thereto are in material breach of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20 LFN, 2004; which is in breach of the Claimant’s right to a fair hearing, and as such the Claimant is entitled to the relieves (sic) sought.
Delivering judgment, the trial judge, Justice Adeniyi held that going by the testimony of the Claimant that there was an allegation against him and that series of investigations were conducted by the Defendants which subsequently led to his trial; that the Claimant was afforded fair hearing since he was given opportunity to explain himself for the alleged offences.
“Once a person likely to be affected by a disciplinary proceeding is given adequate notice of the allegation against him and he is given an opportunity to enable him make a representation in his own defence, the rule of natural justice and fair hearing, would have been satisfied.
“The argument of the learned counsel for the Claimant on the issue of non-compliance with the process and procedure amounts to blowing hot and cold and is hereby discountenanced.
“Firstly, as I had earlier noted, the duty to prove the wrongfulness or nullity of the summary dismissal rests with the Claimant, not the Defendant.
“Secondly, I had carefully examined Sections 115 and 117 of the AFA (supra) which the learned counsel relied on and found that these sections are not applicable to the Claimant being a private soldier.” Justice Adeniyi
In all, the Court ruled that the Claimant has woefully failed to discharge the burden to entitle him to his declaratory claim, reinstatement and salaries; dismissed the suit in its entirety for lacking merit, ordered parties to bear their respective costs.