Judge's Absence Stalls Hearing Of Suit


The absence of Justice Donatus Okorowo on Monday stalled hearing of a suit instituted by Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria against the Head of Service of the Federation.

Okorowo, a vacation judge, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, was billed to entertain the suit filed by 104 civil servants against the Head of Service and two others.

They had approached the court to challenge the alleged illegal directive by the head of service compelling them to write a competence examination. The plaintiff argued that only the Civil Service Commission was given the powers by the law to conduct any form of examination for the employees.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two other defendants in the suit are Federal Civil Service Commission and the Attorney General of the Federal (AGF).

The plaintiffs said that they based their arguments on the provisions of the relevant sections of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.

They are seeking a declaration that the powers to promote the 2nd to 133rd plaintiff, who are officers on grade levels 14 to 16, were vested in the 2nd defendants and not the 1st defendant.

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The plaintiffs, among other declarations, are asking the court to declare that the 1st defendant had no powers whatsoever to set the conditions for their promotion.

They therefore, sought for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st defendant or its agents from usurping the powers of the 2nd defendant’s guidelines and schedules for their promotion. The plaintiffs in a motion ex-parte also prayed the court to stall the conduct of the examination pending the determination of the case.

In a 42-paragraph affidavit to support the motion, the plaintiffs argued that the 2nd to 133rd plaintiff were due for promotion to their next salary grade levels of either 15, 16 and 17, respectively.

The matter was adjourned till Aug. 11 for mention.

The plaintiffs are some 104 federal civil servants on salary grade levels 14 to 16 who were directed by the Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Steve Oronsaye, to sit for competence examination on Monday, Aug. 11, failure to do so, they would be shown the way out of the service.

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