CYRIL O. OSAKUE V. FEDERAL COLLEGE OF EDUCATION (TECH) ASABA & ORS.(2002)

CYRIL O. OSAKUE V. FEDERAL COLLEGE OF EDUCATION (TECH) ASABA & ORS.

(2002)LCN/1089(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Monday, the 18th day of February, 2002

CA/B/154/98

 

JUSTICES

RAPHAEL OLUFEMI ROWLAND   Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

SAKA ADEYEMI IBIYEYE   Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

KUMAI BAYANG AKAAHS   Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

Between

 

CYRIL O. OSAKUE Appellant(s)

AND

  1. FEDERAL COLLEGE OF EDUCATION (TECH) ASABA
    2. DR. F. E. ULINFUN (PROVOST)
    3. F.U. ADUWA (DEPUTY REGISTRAR) Respondent(s)

 

AKAAHS, J.C.A. (Delivering the Leading Judgment): The plaintiff who holds N.C.E., B.ED and M.ED qualifications was employed as a senior lecturer at the 1st defendant’s College of Education in 1987 through exhibit “B” which reads:
“FEDERAL COLLEGE OF EDUCATION (TECHNICAL) P.M.B.1044 Asaba. Bendel State – Nigeria.
Our Ref. FCE (T) PROV. 5/9 Date September 29, 1987.
Mr. C.O. Osakue College of Education, Warri.
Offer of Appointment:
With reference to your application and the subsequent interview you attended from 12th – 14th August, 1987, for the post of Senior Lecturer (Educational Psychology) in this College, I am pleased to inform you that you are successful and that the Honourable Minister of Education has approved your appointment to the post of Senior Lecturer on Grade Level 13 Step 1 with effect from the day you assume duty. You are to teach courses in your area of specialization and Carry out other duties that may be assigned to you from time to time.
2. You are to formally accept this offer of appointment in the next one week, and report to the Provost for duty in the next one month, or earlier from the date of this letter.
3. Please note that this appointment requires that you present yourself to a Government Medical doctor for a certificate of fitness before assumption of duty.
4. This offer of appointment shall, however, be deemed to have been rejected by you if you do not resume duty two months from the date of this letter. Also, you may transfer your service to this college if you are already in a scheduled service.
5. Please accept my congratulations. Signed: DR. F. U. ULINFUN (PROVOST)
Federal College of Education (Technical) Asaba”.
The plaintiff accepted the offer and resumed work with the 1st defendant on 23rd November, 1987 (See exhibit 13). The plaintiff was assigned first as Acting Dean of the School of Education from 1987-89 and secondly, as Head of Department of Education from September – December, 1989. The School Authorities were not satisfied with his performance and so he was removed and replaced by Dr. Akinmoyewa and Compah – Keyeke to the two posts respectively. The relationship between the plaintiff and his immediate successors became strained. The strained relationship also extended to the 2nd defendant. This is the genesis of the crisis which culminated in the termination of the plaintiff’s appointment after he had refused to resign the said appointment when requested to do so by the Senior Management Committee of the College. There were series of communications between the plaintiff and the College Authorities with the plaintiff accusing the latter of witch-hunting. Series of queries were issued to the plaintiff. In answer to some of these queries, the plaintiff revealed that he had secured admission into the University of Benin where he was pursuing a Ph.D. programme. When the College Authorities confirmed that he had embarked upon a full-time post-graduate (Ph.D.) programme without permission, a Management Committee met to consider the report that investigated the incident and other acts of insubordination and he was served with a query. At the same time he was requested to appear before the Management Committee. The letter of query and invitation dated 7th March, 1990 and admitted as exhibit “S” states:-
“Our Ref: FCE(T) AS/REG. 38/Vol.1/29, Date 7th March, 1990., Mr. C.O. Osakue
u.f.s. Head, Dept. of Education, Federal College of Education (Technical) Asaba.
GROSS MISCONDUCT – RE: INVOLVEMENT IN FULL-TIME POST GRADUATE STUDIES WITHOUT PERMISSION.
At the Management Committee Meeting held on Tuesday, 6th March, 1990, the Committee considered the report of the panel which investigated your involvement in full-time post-graduate studies at the University of Benin. The Committee noted with dismay that you embarked upon a full-time postgraduate (Ph.D.) Programme since the beginning of the 1988/89 session without the written or express permission of your employer. Your action amounts to gross misconduct and a serious breach of the Civil Service Rule which prohibits an officer or employee on full-time payment from engaging in any other full-time activities unless he has previously obtained the permission of the appropriate authority.
The Committee was also informed about your various acts of insubordination exemplified by the following:
(i) Your refusal to reply the Provost’s query asking you to explain your involvement in full-time studies.
(ii) Your refusal to accept or receive the letters of invitation to appear before the investigating panel and failure to appear before the said panel.
(iii) Your refusal to carry out an official assignment from your Head of Department in respect of compilation of results and your unacceptable reactions to the issue.
The Management Committee viewed the totality of the offence committed by you very seriously and decided that you should be requested to submit, within 48 hours, written representations as you may wish to make, to show cause why severe disciplinary action should not be taken against you.  You are also requested to appear before the Management Committee on Wednesday, 14th March, 1990 at 11.00 a.m. Signed: F.U. Aduwa
Deputy Registrar/Secretary to Management Committee”.
The plaintiff replied to the query but failed to appear before the Management Committee which had re-scheduled its meeting for 15th March, 1990 instead of the 14th March and the plaintiff was duly notified through exhibit ”T” dated 12th March, 1990. The Senior Management Committee met on 15th March, 1990 and decided that the plaintiff should tender his resignation from his appointment within 7 days. The contents of the decision were conveyed to the plaintiff in a letter Ref. FCE(T)/AS/REG.38/ Vol.1/38 dated 15th March, 1990 which was received in evidence as exhibit “V” and it goes as follows:
“Mr. C. O. Osakue, u.f.s. Head, Dept. of Education Federal College of Education (Technical) Asaba.
SENIOR MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE DECISION ON YOUR GROSS ACTS OF MISCONDUCT
At the emergency meeting of the Senior Management Committee, held on Thursday, 15th March 1990, the Committee considered your involvement in full-time post-graduate (Ph.D.) studies without permission since the beginning of the 1988/89 session and your various acts of insubordination. The Committee also considered your representation which was considered irrelevant and noted that you disregarded it and its directive that you should appear before it to defend your gross acts of misconduct.
After deliberating extensively on the totality of the offence committed by you, and on the full penalty for the offence which is dismissal, the Committee decided not to invoke the full penalty on you, but to ask you to resign your appointment within the next seven (7) working days (i.e. on or before 26th March, 1990), failing which an appropriate action decided by the Committee will be communicated to you.
The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to inform you of the above decision of the Senior Management Committee and to ask you to comply accordingly.
Signed: F.U. Aduwa,. Secretary”.
The plaintiff failed to resign his appointment as demanded by the Senior Management Committee and so on 30th March, 1990 his appointment was terminated. A copy of the termination letter was put in evidence as exhibit ‘W’ which is reproduced as follows:
“FEDERAL COLLEGE OF EDUCATION (TECHNICAL), P.M.B. 1044, Asaba Bendel State, Nigeria.
PROVOST DR. F.E. ULINFUN, B.Sc Hon. (UNN) MA. Ed. Ed.D (Columbia)
Our Ref: FCE(T)/ AS/REG.38/Vol.1/39, Your Ref. Date 30th March, 1990.
Mr. C.O. Osakue u.f.s Head, Dept. of Education Federal College of Education (Technical) Asaba.
TERMINATION OF APPOINTMENT SENIOR MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE’S DECISION ON YOUR GROSS ACTS OF MISCONDUCT
I am directed to refer to our letter Ref. FCE(T)/AS/REG.38/Vol.1/38 of 15th March, 1990, in which you were asked to resign your appointment with this College within seven (7) working days (i.e. on or before 26th March, 1990), failing which an appropriate action decided by the Senior Management Committee on your gross acts of misconduct would be communicated to you.
Since you have failed to comply with the above directive, I have therefore been directed to now convey the action decided by the Senior Management Committee to you as follows:- The Committee considered as gross misconduct, your full-time post-graduate (Ph.D.) studies without permission since the beginning of the 1988/89 session and your various acts of insubordination, namely:
(i) Your refusal to handover items of School of Education to the new Dean and, also to hand over the Department to the Head of Department.
(ii) Your refusal to carry out the Provost’s directive to show evidence of your Ph.D. full-time studies as you claimed.
(iii) Your rejection of the letters of invitation to appear before the investigating panel and your subsequent failure to appear before the said panel.
(iv) Your refusal to carry out an official assignment from your Head of Department in respect of compilation of examination results and your unacceptable reactions to the issue.
(v) Your unseemly behaviour and rudeness to College Authorities and violent statements at Board meetings since your replacement as Acting Dean and Head of Department.
(vi) Your involvement in Ph. D. full-time studies while on a full-time job in this College in violation of Civil Service Rules, particularly circular No. SMD/1907/47 of 13/1/87.
Consequently, the Senior Management Committee decided that your appointment with this College be terminated for gross acts of misconduct now that you have failed to avail yourself of the opportunity to resign your appointment on or before the 26th of March, 1990. The Committee also directed that you should be paid the normal one month’s salary in lieu of notice.
The purpose of this letter therefore, is to inform you of the decision of the Senior Management Committee on your case. The termination of your appointment takes effect from 2nd April, 1990. By copy of this letter, the Bursar is being requested to pay your one month’s salary in lieu of notice together with February and March salaries less cost of items not surrendered by you.
You should please hand over all College property in your possession to your Head of Department and/or the Acting Director of Works Services and quit the College official quarters within 7 days from the date of this letter.
Signed: F.U. Aduwa Secretary, Senior Management Committee”
Before and after the appointment was terminated the plaintiff wrote to Honourable Minister of Education to intervene and reverse the decision. He also wrote an appeal to the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission to intervene in the termination of his appointment. Both the Minister of Education and the Chairman Civil Service Commission advised him to forward his request to the chairman of the Governing Council of the College. When he did not hear anything from the Chairman of the Governing Council he then sued claiming in paragraph 33 of the amended statement of claim as follows:
“33. Wherefore the plaintiff claims against the defendants jointly and severally as follows:
(1) A declaration that the purported termination of his appointment by the “Senior Management Committee” of the 1st defendant by a letter dated the 30/3/90 Ref. No. FCE(T) AS/REG.38/Vol.1/39 is null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
(2) A declaration that the Senior Management Committee of the 1st defendant is incompetent, lacks necessary jurisdiction and not the appropriate authority and/or body to terminate the plaintiff’s appointment.
(3) A declaration that the purported termination of the plaintiff’s appointment constituted flagrant and violent violation of his fundamental right of fair hearing.
(4) An order, directing the, 1st defendant to reinstate the plaintiff to his status as a Senior lecturer, without prejudice to entitlements and promotions which might have accrued to him during the period of the purported termination.
The defendants denied the plaintiff’s claims. Pleadings were filed with the plaintiff filing a reply to the statement of defence. There was a full blown trial in which the parties testified, called witnesses and tendered several exhibits. At the end of the trial, the trial Judge dismissed the plaintiff’s claims with N750.00 costs in favour of the defendants. He held that the Senior Staff Management Committee complied with the provisions of the guidelines Decree No. 43 of 1988. He also found that the Senior Staff Management Committee acted as an agent of the Minister of Education and so the defendants can avail themselves of the ouster clause contained in Decree No.12 of 1994; consequently the jurisdiction of the High Court to entertain the plaintiff’s claims was ousted by Decree No. 12 of 1994.
The plaintiff is dissatisfied with the decision of Akoro J. delivered on 30/9/96 and so lodged an appeal to this court. I shall henceforth refer to the plaintiff as the appellant while the defendants are the respondents in the appeal.
The appellant filed six grounds of appeal from which the following issues were formulated. They are:-
(a) Whether the termination of the appellant’s employment on six enumerated grounds (exhibit “W”) was in accordance with the specific provisions of the enabling statute and subsidiary Legislation, Federal College of Education Decree No.4 of 1986 and Guidelines for the Management of the Federal Colleges of Education (exhibit 8) issued by the Federal ministry of Education.
(b) Whether the termination of the appellant’s employment on 30/3/90 issued from the Appropriate Authority in view of the unambiguous provisions of the enabling Decree and Guidelines (Decree No.4 of 1986 and exhibit 8) as opposed to Decree No. 43 of 1988 only.
(c) Whether the respondents can seek refuge under Decree No. 12 of 1994 to justify the termination of appellant’s employment.
(d) Whether the appellant proved his case on the balance of probabilities.
The appellant filed a reply brief in answer to the issues raised in respondents’ brief. On their part the respondents also framed four issues for determination as follows:
(a) Whether the trial High Court, Asaba has the jurisdiction to hear the case in view of the parties involved, the nature of relief sought and the relevant provisions of the law.
(b) Whether or not termination of the appellant’s appointment was valid, legal, proper in all the circumstances of the case.
(c) Whether the learned Judge (was) right in holding that the appellant had been accorded a fair hearing before the termination of his services having regard to the provisions of the enabling Decree No.4 of 1986 and section 31 (1) of the 1979 Constitution.
(d) Whether in the circumstances of the case the court could make the order of reinstatement of the appellant to his employment.
A close look at the issues framed by the parties shows that they are the same though differently worded. Thus, issue (c) in the appellant’s brief is the same as issue (a) in the respondents’ brief while issues (b) and (d) in both briefs are the same and issue (c) in the respondents’ brief equates with issue (a) in the appellant’s brief. I will start the consideration of this appeal with the issue on jurisdiction which is issue (c) in the appellant’s brief and issue (a) in the respondents’ brief.
Mr Ijatuyi, learned counsel for the appellant arguing issue (c) in the appellant’s brief submitted that the provisions of Decree No. 12 of 1994 Federal Military Government (Supremacy & Enforcement of Powers) is not applicable to the facts of this case. It is, his contention that Decree No. 12 of 1994 is meant principally to prevent people from challenging the competence of the Federal Military Government to enact Decrees for the maintenance of law and order and territorial integrity of Nigeria. He argued that the appointment and termination of the appellant’s employment is governed by Decree No.4 of 1986 and the Guidelines for the Management of the Federal College of Education (exhibit 8). He reiterated that the procedures clearly spelt out in both the Decree and the Guidelines for the termination of the appellant (on GL 13) were not followed as the letter of termination of employment (exhibit “W”) was not issued from the appropriate authority as stipulated in the statute. He submitted that any Decree or law that tends to take away the right of citizen to resort to a court of law is construed strictly and he relied on Monday Ben Edo-Osagie v. University of Benin Teaching Hospital Management Board, Appeal No. CA/B/156/93 delivered on 7/7/95. He argued in the reply brief that the learned trial Judge was quite right when he held while considering Decree 107 of 1993 that “Jurisdiction of court is examined not when it is invoked but when the cause of action arose and so the obligation and rights of the parties must be considered in the light of the law at the time the cause of action arose. He submitted that the above views accord with the authority of F. S. Uwaifo v. Attorney-General of Bendel State (1982) 7 S.C. 124. As the appellant filed his claim in 1992 but the commencement date of Decree 107 of 1993 is 17th November, 1993 the present case was not being contemplated when Decree 107 was promulgated; neither was Decree No. 12 of 1994.
Mr. W.O. Ezeanwu learned counsel for the respondents referred to section 230 (1)(a) (r) and (s) of Decree No. 107 of 1993 which provides that jurisdiction over a suit concerning the Federal Government and all the organs it uses for its functions is conferred upon the Federal High Court and not the State High Court. Since the 1st respondent was established by Decree 4 of 1986 Federal College of Education Act – it is an agency of the Federal Government which is subject only to the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court. He argued that although the cause of action arose in 1990 and the suit was filed on 14th December, 1992 the actual hearing of the suit started on 18th January, 1994 after decree No. 107 had come into effect on 17th November, 1993; hence the applicable law should be Decree No.107. He made a further submission that the present action against the respondents has abated and the High Court, Asaba has no jurisdiction and the proper venue is the Federal High Court. He cited University of Abuja v. Ologe (1996) 4 NWLR (Pt.445) 706 and University of Ilorin v. Olutola (1998) 12 NWLR (Pt.576) 72 at 79 in support of his contention.
I agree with the submission of appellant’s counsel that the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the existing law or the law prevailing at the time the suit was filed and not by the change of the existing law. See Sossa v. Fokpo (2001) 1 NWLR (Pt.693) 16; Governor of Oyo State v. Folayan (1995) 8 NWLR (Pt.413) 292; I.G.P. v. Aigbiremelen (1999) 13 NWLR (Pt.635) 443. The cause of action accrued on 30/3/90 when the appellant’s appointment was terminated and in 1992 when he filed the action in court, Decree No. 12 of 1994 had not been promulgated. The right to sue became vested long before the Decree was promulgated and so the well recognised principle of construction of statutes that a statute is not to be construed as to impair an existing right or obligation, unless such construction is clear from the words of the section and such effect cannot be avoided without doing violence to the language of the enactment must be strictly adhered to. In other words, where a statute does not clearly and expressly so provide, it should not be construed so as to invest it with a retrospective effect or to operate by implication to deprive a person affected of vested rights as such a construction will result in absurdity. See Udoh v. O.H.M.B. (1993) 7 NWLR (Pt.304) 139 at 149 per Karibi-Whyte J.S.C. A statute should be construed so as not to have a greater restrospective operation than its language renders necessary. See Lauri v. Renad (l892) 3 Ch. 402; In Re: Athlumney (l899) AC 457.
In IGP v. Aigbiremelen supra, the appeal by the Inspector General of Police that the State’s High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the respondents claim was allowed because at the time the respondent was compulsorily retired, the Constitution (Suspension and Modification) Decree No. 107 of 1993 had been promulgated which amended section 230 (1)(s) of 1979 Constitution to vest exclusive jurisdiction on the Federal High Court in civil causes and matters arising from any action or proceeding for a declaration or injunction affecting the validity of any executive or administrative action or decision by the Federal Government or any of its agencies. I am therefore of the firm view that the learned trial Judge was wrong to declare that the court’s jurisdiction was ousted by Decree No. 12 of 1994. For the Decree to oust the jurisdiction of the High Court in the suit which was filed in 1992, two years before the Decree was promulgated, the provision of the Decree must specifically state that it is meant to abort the proceedings in this case under appeal. See Njokanma v. Mowete (2001) 6 NWLR (Pt.709) 351. It is gratifying to note that the learned trial Judge did not base his decision entirely on ouster of jurisdiction since he went further to consider the issue of fair hearing before declaring that the appellant’s appointment was properly terminated.
Arguing issue (a) learned counsel for the appellant stated that from the pleadings and evidence adduced before the lower court, it is clearly not in dispute that the appellant was in the employment of the 1st respondent as a Senior Lecturer. He submitted that the termination of employment and other disciplinary actions against the appellant should be governed by the provisions of Decree No.4 of 1986 (which established the 1st respondent) and the Guidelines for the Management of the Federal Colleges of Education (exhibit 8). He contended that the Provost is responsible for the appointment, and promotion of all staff below GL. 7 i.e junior staff. Under Rule 8.01 of the Guidelines Statutory Committees of the College other than Academic Board are the Finance and General Purposes Committee (FGPC), Senior Staff Appointments and Promotions Committee (APC). According to Regulation 8.02 of the Guidelines no decision of the Committee shall have effect unless it is approved by Council. Learned counsel submitted that the respondents did not comply with the statutory provisions when they purported to terminate the appointment of the appellant with the 1st respondent through the Senior Management Committee (exhibit “W”). He argued that the appellant’s employment is one with statutory flavour and therefore one with guarantee tenure. According to learned counsel the respondents are bound to comply strictly with the provisions of the enabling statute and regulations as they relate to the 1st respondent and its staff. Since there was no Governing Council for the Management of the Affairs of the 1st respondent at the time the appellant’s appointment was terminated, the Authority of the Federal Ministry of Education substitutes in the absence of the Council. It was submitted that the respondents had no power under both the Decree and Guidelines to terminate his employment but rather the Federal Ministry of Education. He further submitted that as an autonomous institution (exhibit 4) the general provisions of Decree No. 43 of 1988 cannot override the specific provision of Decree NO.4 of 1986. He contended that even if the Senior Management Committee” was competent to investigate allegations of gross acts of misconduct levelled against the appellant, that committee cannot take a final decision on the fate of the appellant and relied on Olatunbosun v. Niser Council (1988) 3 NWLR (Pt.80) 25.
Learned Counsel for the respondent submitted that Decree No. 4 of 1986 which sets out the powers of the Council is silent on the discipline of the senior staff of the institution. The Guidelines failed to detail the procedure for disciplining the Senior Staff of the institutions. Learned counsel submitted that in the absence of the Council, the duty of the Provost, 2nd respondent, is to keep the Federal Minister of Education informed of the misconduct of the appellant and take steps to discipline him.
As observed by learned counsel for the respondent, the enabling Decree No.4 of 1986 is silent on the discipline of staff. Section 17 only deals with the discipline of students. The guidelines which were tendered and admitted as exhibit ‘W’ contain rather glibly the conditions of appointment of the category of staff i.e. Senior Staff to which the appellant belongs. Rule 2.01 of the Guidelines stipulates that:
“The Governing Council of a College of Education is responsible for the overall superintendence and the general management of the College”
Rule 8.02 states that:
“No decision of a Committee shall have effect unless it is approved by Council. By the same token Council can set aside the decision of any committee appointed by it and has the power of any such committee. However, council may delegate some of its functions in writing to a Committee”.
It is in evidence that throughout the period of the appellant’s employment, there was no Governing Council for the 1st respondent. To fill in the gap, Rule 16.02 of the Guidelines was invoked so that when the authority of the Council is required by the Guidelines or by the Decree the authority of the Minister responsible for Education substitutes. Hence when the appellant was employed, it was the Minister who approved the appointment. (See: exhibit B). It therefore follows that if a Senior Staff is to be disciplined, the matter must he referred to the Minister where the Governing Council is not in existence. The argument by learned counsel for the respondents that the Senior Management Committee which considered the report of the ad hoc Committee which investigated the allegation that the plaintiff was pursuing a full-time Ph.D programme course at Benin University without the approval of the 1st defendant’s College together with the defence of the appellant was a competent body by virtue of section 2(d) of Decree No. 43 of 1988 failed to take cognizance of the fact that it was the decision of this Committee to terminate the appellant’s appointment which was conveyed to him through exhibit “W”. That decision ought to have been taken by the Minister of Education in the absence of the Governing Council. So when the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission wrote exhibit 4 advising the appellant to address his appeal to the Chairman of the Governing Council, he was aware that it was the latter who had the power to deal with the appellant’s termination. Alternatively the Minister of Education could have validly exercised the power. It has not been shown that the Honourable Minister of Education gave any directive to anybody concerning the disciplinary action to be taken against the appellant. It cannot be presumed without actual proof that the Minister of Education delegated the power to consider any disciplinary action against the appellant.
The giving of a hearing or affording an opportunity to the appellant to be heard is not the issue at stake but rather the decision to terminate the appellant’s appointment where he failed to resign the appointment is the crux of this appeal. The case of Olatunbosun v. Niser COUNCIL (1988) 3 NWLR (pt.80.) 25 supports the view that the matter ought to have been referred to the Governing Council to take the final decision. Even though I have found that the appellant’s matter ought to have been referred to the Governing Council, this would only be a matter of formality since the appellant could not exculpate himself of the allegation that he undertook a full-time Ph.D. programme without the permission of the College Authorities and this among other allegations which were found proved constituted gross misconduct and it will amount to a wrongful exercise of judicial discretion to order that the appellant be reinstated.
I have taken a hard look at Decree No.4 of 1986 and the letter of appointment which was given to the appellant. Apart from the appointment having a Statutory flavour since it was made pursuant to section 6(i)(j) of the Federal Colleges of Education Act, Cap. 129, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.(otherwise known as Decree No.4 of 1986) there is no direction as to the period of time a staff should continue in his employment or a period for giving notice of termination. The employment is therefore at large. Under the common law a general employment without determinable time, is determinable by reasonable notice and damages is assessed on that basis. In James v. Thomas H. Kent (1951) K.B. 551 three months notice was taken as reasonable for dismissal of a director who worked for the company for 21 years at the salary of N35.00 per month. In David Olaja v. Kaduna iles Lid (1970) NNLR 42, the plaintiff who was in the employment of the defendant as overlooker which carried managerial status at a salary of 1334 pounds p.a. had been in the employment of the defendants in various lower capacities for 11 years. He was dismissed without notice and without pay in lieu of notice. There was no written agreement governing his employment. On the question of damages for wrongful dismissal Bello S.P.J. (as he then was) held that the plaintiff was entitled to notice or pay in lieu thereof and awarded him 6 months salary in lieu of notice. And in Olatunbosun v. Niser Council supra the Supreme Court confirmed the 6 months salary in lieu of notice which was offered the appellant by the respondent. In the instant case the appellant was offered employment as a Senior Lecturer on Grade Level 13 Step 1 but he did not state what his salary was at the time the appointment was terminated. However since he was employed as a Senior Lecturer but was awarded only one month’s salary in lieu of notice, I hold that six months salary in lieu of notice is the reasonable amount that he should have been given and I accordingly award him six months salary in lieu of notice.
In conclusion since the appellant admitted under cross-examination that it was necessary to obtain permission from his employer before he could embark on the work study Ph.D programme but undertook the course without such permission, there is justification for the termination. This is a proper case in which the parties should be asked to bear their own costs as the appellant has won only a technical victory.

ROWLAND, J.C.A.: I have had the privilege of reading in draft the judgment just delivered by my learned brother, Akaahs, JCA and I agree entirely that this appeal has merit and should be allowed. I have nothing more to add. I make no order as to costs.

IBIYEYE, J.C.A.: I have had the benefit of reading in draft the judgment delivered by my learned brother, Akaahs, JCA. I am in agreement with the reasoning and conclusion in the lead judgment. I also find merit in the appeal and it is allowed. I equally award no costs.
Appeal allowed.

 

Appearances

  1. O. Ijatuyi, Esq.For Appellant

 

AND

  1. O. Ezanwu, Esq.For Respondent

 

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