The National Industrial Court, sitting in Akure, Ondo State has reinstated 32 out of over 900 workers disengaged by the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti (EKSU) in December last year.
The institution’s management had on December 5, 2019 disengaged over 900 of its workforce for alleged certificate forgery, irregular appointment, overage among other sundry allegations that contravened its conditions of service.
In the suit number NICN/AD/03/2020, 32 technologist out of the sacked workers dragged EKSU, EKSU Governing Council and EKSU Vice Chancellor (first to third defendants respectively) to industrial court to seek redress.
They asked the court to determine whether their employments with EKSU enjoyed statutory protection and whether their disengagement was compatible with their status of employments which enjoyed statutory flavour.
Among others, they sought a declaration of the court that their disengagement as staff of EKSU “in the manner it was done was unlawful, irregular, illegal and therefore null and viod and of no effect.
“An order for the immediate restoration and reinstatement of the claimants to their offices without loss of salaries, promotions, emoluments and other allowances due to them as staff of the First respondent (EKSU).
“Payment of the claimants’ three months salaries, emoluments and other allowances owed them before the purported and unlawful disengagement,” they requested among others.
But counsel to the university, prayed the court not to grant the request of the 32 technologists, saying they had not been able to establish in the case that their appointments with EKSU were unlawfully determined.
After listening to the submission of both the claimants’ and defense Counsel, the
presiding Judge, Justice K.D Damulak, declared the termination of the workers’ appointment as “unlawful, null and void”.
In the judgment delivered on December 8, which copy was made available to journalists in Ado Ekiti on Sunday, Damulak said, “The claimants are hereby reinstated to their erstwhile positions in EKSU. The first defendant (EKSU) is hereby ordered to pay the claimants (the 32 technologists) their three months’ salaries owed them before their unlawful disengagement.
“The first defendant (EKSU) is hereby ordered to pay the claimants their salaries, emoluments and allowance and from the date of their unlawful termination till reinstatement today 8th December, 2020 and subsequently till retirement.
“The employment of the claimants with the defendants enjoys statutory favour. The employment of the claimants with the defendants is hereby regulated by the defendants’ statute, regulations and the claimant’s letter of employment,” the court ordered.
Although the court said the claimants were not entitled to general damages, it ordered the defendants to pay each claimant cost of N50,000 only.
It ordered, “The salaries and cost up till today 8th December, 2020 are to be paid within 30 days of this judgment or the amounts will attract 10 per cent interest per annum”.