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Court orders reinstatement of sacked don

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Justice J.D. Peters of the National Industrial Court (NIC), Ibadan, has ordered the immediate reinstatement of Dr. Adenike Ogunshe to her position as senior lecturer in the Department of Microbiology of the University of Ibadan without loss of benefit, perquisites of office, promotion and remuneration.
  
The claimant (Ogunshe) had, in September 9, 2016, filed a suit against the defendants (the University of Ibadan and The Council, University of Ibadan), asking for a declaration that the roles of the Vice-Chancellor (VC) in the processes leading to the termination of her appointment, constitute gross violations of the principles of natural justice and the rules of fair hearing.

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According to her, the VC acted as the accuser, the investigator and a witness, notwithstanding that he was at the same time chair of the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee (SSDC) panel that investigated the claimant.
  
She also argued that the query dated May 3, 2013, issued to her did not disclose the complaint against her.

She prayed the court to declare that her removal was wrongful and did not comply with Regulations 8.1.5(a)(i) and 8, 1.5(e) of the staff handbook: Rules and Regulations Governing Condition of Service of Senior Staff, August 2003, made pursuant to the enabling law of the University of Ibadan Act, Cap U6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (updated to December 31, 2010, vol 14), subsidiary legislation made pursuant to the University of Ibadan Act.

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Reacting to the suit, the defendants stated: “The claimant was offered appointment as a lecturer in the 1st defendant by the 2nd defendant (the VC), that the claimant was subject to the rules and regulations governing the appointment of staff in the 1st defendant.”

The defendant claimed that the claimant’s appointment was terminated because of insubordination and refusal to vacate an office, which she converted for herself through a letter dated June 14, 2016, on the directive of the VC that offered her appointment as an academic staff.
  
Delivering his judgment, Justice Peters held that the employment of staff with statutory flavour, who has been found guilty of misconduct, cannot be terminated by the employer as presented in the case.

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“Having found the employment of the claimant to be one with statutory flavour and that the defendants failed to comply with the applicable rules and regulations guiding the employment relationship especially respecting termination, I find and hold that the employment of the claimant remains intact.

“I declare that the termination of the claimant’s employment by the defendants was unlawful, null and void. I hereby set aside the letters of termination of appointment dated June 14, 2016, and August 15, 2016, written by the defendants and sent to the claimant.

“As a consequential order, therefore, I order the immediate reinstatement of the claimant to her position as senior lecturer in the Department of Botany of the first defendant without loss of benefits, perquisites of office, promotion and remunerations.

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“I further order and direct the defendants to pay the claimant all her arrears of salaries from the date of termination of her employment.

“By exhibit AO50, the monthly salary of the claimant as of November 2015 was N223, 075.88, before claimant’s appointment was terminated on August 15, 2016. The 1st defendant is therefore ordered to pay the claimant the sum of 13,607,028 only, being the salary arrears of the claimant from August 15, 2016, to the date of this judgment,” he held.

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