Wednesday, 1st February 2023
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

Court reinstates sacked college staff, awards each N4m damages

By Michael Egbejule, Benin City
25 January 2022   |   2:43 am
The Benin Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, yesterday, reinstated sacked workers of the Edo State College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi and ordered

National Industrial Court

The Benin Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, yesterday, reinstated sacked workers of the Edo State College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi and ordered a compensation of N4m to each of the affected workers and general damage of N500,000 to the claimants.

The suit marked: NICN/BEN/25/2018, had Mr. Imhenrion O. Martin, Mr. Adorolo O. Michael, Mr. Osayande Clifford, Mrs. Mercy Ozabor, and Mr. Eikhor Nosakhare Abel as claimants, while Edo State government; state commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources; the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Provost of the College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi, and the Governing Council of the College were defendants.

Delivering judgment, Justice Abiola A. Adewemimo ordered the defendants to compensate the claimants within 30 days, adding that failure to compensate the defendants, numbering about 87, would attract a yearly interest of 10 per cent.

The Justice held that the state government was wrong to have claimed that the workers were temporary workers.

She further held that their letters of employment indicated a period of probation, which does not translate to temporary workers.

“This court is to check labour practice and for the defendant to say their employment was temporary connotes unfair labour practices.”

Justice Adewemimo further held that even though an employer has the right to terminate employment, such actions must be done in accordance with established conditions of service, adding that the Edo State Government did not do so.

She said the special damages in the form of salaries and promotions claimed by the workers could not be given because they did not prove them with the statutorily required documents to enjoy such benefit.

Reacting to the judgment, counsel to the workers, Matthew Edaghese, said the court in its wisdom held that the so-called termination of appointment was null and void, adding that it negates all known and relevant labour laws.

“This is a warning to the executive arm of government that they are governed by the laws of the land and they are not laws unto themselves,” he added.

The workers instituted the court action in August 2018 following the termination of their appointment by the state government on the excuse that the school was being restructured.