The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja on Monday nullified the termination of employment of a lecturer, Malam Mu’azu Maiwada, by Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
Delivering judgment in a case of unlawful termination of employment filed against the university by Maiwada, Justice Maureen Esowe said that ABU did not comply with its laws.
She held that the defendants did not follow the provisions of Section 3 of the ABU’s regulation guiding its employment contract with the claimant.
Esowe explained that the employment of the claimant was guided by rules and regulation and as such enjoyed statutory flavour.
The judge held that the defendants did not show any proof or evidence to support their allegation that the claimant was involved in a misconduct.
She also held that the claimant sufficiently proved to the court that he was not given the opportunity to defend himself before his employment was terminated and that no reason was given.
“There was no proof that the claimant was given fair hearing before terminating his employment by the defendants.
“No reason was given for terminating the employment of the claimant other than `that your services are no longer required.’”
Esowe ruled that since the defendant could not justify its action by terminating the employment of the claimant, the termination was a nullity.
“This court hereby holds that the termination of employment of the claimant is null and void and is hereby set aside.
“Since the termination is null and void, there is no termination in the eye of the law and the defendant is hereby ordered to reinstate the claimant and pay all his entitlements due to him,” she said.
The claimant had sued the university and its vice chancellor to challenge the termination of his employment in 2011.
He told the court that he was employed as a graduate assistant in 1987 and had risen to the position of Lecturer 1 before his dismissal in March 2011.
Maiwada prayed the court to make a declaration that the termination of his employment by the defendant was illegal, null and void.
He also prayed the court to declare that the defendant did not give him fair hearing before terminating his employment as provided in the regulations guiding his employment contract.
Maiwada further urged the court to order the defendant to reinstate him and pay all his entitlements from the date of the termination to the date of judgment.
During the hearing, the defence counsel, Mr Folorunso Majiyagbe, had told the court that the claimant’s employment was terminated due to alleged misconduct.
Majiyagbe said that the claimant was engaged in a negative media campaign which caused disharmony in the institution and urged the court to dismiss the case.
But the counsel to the claimant, Mr Suleman Gani, submitted that the only issue before the court for determination was whether the defendants’ action was legal.
Gani commended the court for the well researched judgment and thanked the judge for the justice given to his client.
Maiwada said the court was the best thing that had happened to the Nigerian legal system.