The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NIC), sitting in Ibadan has ordered the management of the Federal Polytechnic Ede, Osun State to reinstate back to their duty posts with immediate effect, all 28 staff of the Institution dismissed in the year 2018.
The Court also directed the Polytechnic to pay the staff all their due entitlements for the work done and to do from January 2018 till today, 23rd of November 2023 when the judgement was delivered.
The Court which refused their claim of damages of 28 million naira, however, awarded a cost of 500 thousand naira against the Federal Polytechnic Ede in favour of the dismissed staff.
The affected staff included Mr Cornelius Nwokoro, Mr Ayodele Oni, Thomas Aborowa, Fatai Adeeyo and 24 others who were security men in the school and were sacked in the year 2018.
The orders are contained in a judgement by the presiding Judge, Justice Opeloye Ogunbowale in a suit No NICN/OS/04/2018 filed by the 28 affected staff through their counsel, Mr Yemi Abiona.
Delivering the Judgement, the Court agreed with the submission of the claimants’ counsel, Mr Abiona and held that, “the disengagement of the claimants from the service of the defendants is ultra vires of its authorities and a breach of Section 17 of the Federal Polytechnic Act, 2004, provision of the Federal Polytechnic Ede Staff Manual, 2018, violation of the claimants’ fundamental human rights to fear hearing and rights of employment until the mandatory retirement age of 65”.
Justice Ogunbowale said from the preponderance of evidence including documentary evidence before the court, it was established that the contract between the claimants and defendant was that with statutory flavour, therefore “subsequent termination and disengagement of their contract of employment is subject to their respective letters of employment, confirmation of employment, provisions of the Federal Polytechnic Act, 2004 and regulated by the Federal Government of Nigeria public service rules”
The Court discountenanced the submission of the Counsel to the Polytechnic, Mr Oluremi Ojo that the dismissal of the claimants from service was based on a Federal Government policy issued in 2007 to MDAs to outsource security personnel, saying such directive can not be applicable to the claimants whose appointments are based on statutory provisions.
The Judge further noted that the defendants failed to point out whether due process was followed in the termination of the claimants’ appointment based on their contract of employment.
Shortly after the judgement, Counsel to the claimants, Mr Yemi Abiona lauded the reasoning in the decision of the Court which he had done justice on the matter and restored the dignity of the breadwinners.
The 28 claimants were staff in the security department of the Federal Polytechnic Ede who were sacked in December 2017 based on a Federal Government policy directing MDAs to outsource security.
They were initially seconded to the Federal Polytechnic Consult as contract staff with 25 thousand Naira monthly salary but were completely disengaged after that.