2nd July, 2021
By Glory Abuh-Adejoh
The National Industrial Court on Friday ordered the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund ( NSITF) to reinstate its dismissed staff, Ayeni Akinwande with immediate effect.
Delivering judgment, the judge, Justice Ayodele Obaseki-Osaghae affirmed the jurisdiction of the court and held that the commencement of the case by originating summon did not render the action incompetent as argued by defence counsel.
Furthermore, the court held that the officials who wrote and signed the dismissal letter had no power to do so.
The judge, in addition, said that there was no documentary evidence that the agency complied with its own rules and provisions of the constitution in dismissing the claimant.
She, therefore, declared the summary dismissal of the claimant on Feb. 15 2017, as unlawful, null and void and of no effect.
She equally ordered his immediate reinstatement to the position of Deputy Manager with all the rights and privileges attached to his office, and with no loss of seniority.
The court further ordered NSITF to pay Akinwande within 30 days all his outstanding salaries, allowances, emoluments, and all other perks attached to his position as Deputy Manager from Feb.13, 2017, till date.
In addition, the court ordered that the claimant be placed in the same position as his colleagues who were Deputy Managers when his employment was unlawfully terminated.
From his statement, the claimant, Akinwande had submitted that while he was ill and was on admission, the hospital sent an excuse duty certificate to his office.
Akinwande also said the hospital had to write another letter and sent a social officer to his office notifying them of his health condition, as a result of the pressure from the office for him to resume duty.
He said while still in hospital, he was ordered to resume as the defendant claimed that his attention was urgently needed and on arrival, he was given a dismissal letter without query.
His Counsel, Ibrahim Idris, averred that the agency did not follow the procedure for dismissal as laid down in its Rules and Conditions of Service and that his client’s right to a fair hearing was violated.
The defendant, through its counsel, Rita Adie, maintained that the excuse duty certificate issued by the hospital did not state Akinwande’s ailment nor the form of treatment he was receiving as it was ambiguous without clarity.
The defence further submitted that the claimant rather than get the hospital to respond to the letter, did not, but rather he abandoned his duties for over two weeks.
The defence equally argued that the claimant’s dismissal was following the staff regulations and conditions of service.
In opposition, the claimant’s counsel, Idris argued that the only proper way the agency could have dismissed his client was by complying with the conditions of Service.
He, therefore, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought in the interest of justice.