Court reinstates Yabatech bursar, awards N21m against college
The National Industrial Court (NIC) has ordered the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) to reinstate its embattled bursar, Mr. Olu Ibirogba, who was sacked in 2015 for allegedly exposing corrupt practices in the institution.
Besides, the court awarded the sum of N21m as damages and legal costs to the bursar for subjecting him to physical and emotional torture having unfairly sacked him.Justice O.A Obaseki-Osaghae also directed the institution to pay Ibirogba all outstanding salaries and benefits due to him since he was dismissed in July 2015.
The judge recalled that the same court had in July 2015 ruled in favour of Ibirogba in a similar matter he filed against the institution’s management over his illegal suspension.She faulted the role of the institution during the legal process saying its action was a disrespect of the judicial process and the rule of law.
She also directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Chairmen of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to commence investigations into the allegations of corruption raised by Ibirogba against the institution’s management.
Justice Obaseki-Osaghae who ordered the council to pay Ibirogba all his accrued benefits said this should be done within 30 days, failure of which would attract 10 per cent interest.
The judge said, “I find that there was a calculated and deliberate attempt by YABATECH management to subvert the cause of justice. This is one of the instances the court must grant punitive costs to forestall a repeat of the contemptuous actions of the defendants. Consequently, I award the sum of twenty one million naira as punitive damages jointly and severally against the defendants for the unjust termination of the claimant’s appointment and deliberate attempt by the defendants to subvert the cause of justice.”
The college’s public relations officer, Mr. Ndubueze Ejiofor, said the legal department is working towards getting the details of the judgement before deciding on the next line of action.
Ibirogba had dragged the college before the industrial court in 2013 over allegation of releasing sensitive information about the institution to a third party. But shortly after the court ruled in his favour in 2015, the college converted his suspension to expulsion; a decision described as a subversion of the cause and administration of justice by the court.