Court cautions ministry over delay in three-year old suit
The National Industrial Court (NIC) has warned the Federal Ministry of Information against persistent delay in the hearing of a three-year-old legal action instituted against it and two others by a former employee, Yushau A. Shuaib.
The warning was as a result of a complaint from counsel to the plaintiff, James Abah Odeh that the Ministry of Information had in the past three years, employed delay tactics to frustrate hearing of the civil action while other defendants including the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) have been diligent in the court.
At the resumption of the hearing, the Federal Ministry of Information was not represented by its counsel, as the ministry had instead written a letter to the court requesting for an adjournment.
The plaintiff counsel, Abah Odeh, accused the ministry of frustrating the hearing of the legal action instituted against it to challenge the legality of the compulsory retirement of the plaintiff (Shuaib), three years ago.
Justice Edeth Esele warned the defendant against undue delay of hearing of the case in the interest of justice adding that Justice delayed is justice denied.
He thereafter granted the adjournment till July 12, 2016,
Shuaib had dragged the FCSC, Federal Ministry of Information and the Former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala before the Industrial court in Abuja to challenge his compulsory retirement from the Federal Civil Service after a media publication.
The plaintiff had prayed for an order of the court against the civil service commission, to reinstate him to the service and to his position as Chief Information Officer forthwith without any loss at to seniority, salaries, positions and other emoluments.
He also prayed for an order of the Industrial Court to compel the Federal Ministry of Information and FCSC to compute and pay to him all his salaries, allowances and other emoluments due to him from the month of July 2013 up to the date of judgment.
In the legal action instituted on his behalf by James Ode Abah, the plaintiff claimed that he was offered automatic employment in to Federal Civil Service in 1994 as one of the NYSC National Honour recipients for meritorious service and outstanding performance and had served as Press Secretary in the Federal Ministry Information, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Health, Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
The claimant further averred that by a letter of June 26, 2013, he was purportedly retired by the Federal Ministry of Information where he was the Chief Information Officer.
The plaintiff claimed that the compulsory retirement was based on an issue of misconduct raised against him by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala over a publication in the media without allegedly following due process of the law relating to civil service procedure.
He therefore prayed the court to declare that the letter of compulsory retirement as having no force of law, that it is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever being in flagrant violation of the rules of the public service 2008 edition.