Abuja ---His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court, Abuja Judicial Division has dismissed the suit filed by former Administrators, Adamawa State Development Areas, Mr. Halidu Musa and 31 others against Government of Adamawa State for lacking in merit.
The Court further held that the claim for the sum of N26,942,144.00 (Twenty Six million Nine Hundred and Forty-Two Thousand One Hundred and Forty-Four Naira) representing salaries and allowances as contained in their respective appointment letters is a claim for special damages that must be proved with credible evidence which they have failed to establish.
From facts, the Claimants -Mr. Halidu Musa and 31 others via Originating Summons dated 9th day of August 2019 had asked for resolution among others whether the Adamawa Governor was right when he relieved Claimants of their appointments on the 6th June 2019, four months to the completion of their tenure?
Counsel H. T. Shabo, Esq urged the court to hold that the termination of or relieving of the claimants' appointment by the State Governor was wrong and of no effect, contended that the claimants are also entitled to the sum of N24,640,000.00 representing arrears of other allowances for March, April, and May (arrears) and for June, August and September 2019.
In opposition, A. M. Ilyasu, counsel for the State posited that Adamawa State Local Government Establishment and Administration (Amendment) Law empowers the Governor to dissolve or remove the Claimants from office before the expiration of their one-year tenure that the decisions taken, though painful, but he had to do it in the interest of the public.
He further contended that the Claimants are not entitled to benefit from 2016 circular issued by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs urged the Court to hold so.
In response, counsel for the claimants H. T. Shabo, Esq submitted that there is nothing to show that relieving the claimants of their appointments is in the public interest, that the power vested in the State Governor does not cover a blanket termination of all Development Area Committees in the State and thus, Claimants are entitled to be paid their salaries and allowances for the unexpired duration of their appointments as claimed.
Delivering judgment, the Presiding Judge, Justice Sanusi Kado held that provision of Adamawa State Local Government Law 2004 has vested in the Governor the power to, in the interest of the public, dissolve any State Development Area Committee or remove any of its members.
"I am inclined to agree with counsel for the defendants that the circular does not apply to the claimants in this case. The claimants in this suit have their employment governed by their letters of appointment containing in their terms and conditions of employment.
"In the case at hand, the defendants have even denied the amount being claimed as not the true reflection of what is the claimants' take-home pay. By disputing this claim, the claimants must prove their claim with credible, cogent and compelling evidence.
"Even if the claimants do not have payslips or are not being paid through banks, they should have obtained certified true copy of the payment voucher to show to the court their actual take-home pay.
"The claims for monetary sums by the claimant must, therefore, fail and so are hereby dismissed." Justice Kado