The Presiding Judge, Awka Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice John Targema has declared that the retired Agricultural Science teacher at Community High School Amorka in Ihiara Local Government Area of Anambra State, Mr. Okeoma Joseph Obiasogu is entitled to the review of his pension from 2008 till date.
The Court granted an order of Mandamus, compelling the Governor of Anambra State and its Head of Service to review Mr. Obiasogu’s pension to an appreciable rate.
From facts, the Claimant- Mr. Okeoma Joseph Obiasogu a retiree since 1996 had submitted that he has been receiving N16, 448 (Sixteen Thousand, Four Hundred and Forty-Eight Naira) since the last review of the pension rate implemented by the then Governor of Anambra State in 2003; that till date, no other reviews have been conducted by the State Government and his pension has remained the same.
He further submitted that the Federal Government has reviewed the pension rate for the Federal Pensioners several times and he has written several letters through his Solicitors to the Governor of Anambra State and its Head of Service headed by the immediate past governor to review the pension rate in order to ameliorate the economic hardship caused by inflation on his pension but all to no avail, urged the Court to grant the reliefs sought.
In defense, the defendant- Governor of Anambra State, and its Head of Service denied receiving letters from Mr. Obiasogu and submitted that the Court lacks the jurisdiction to hear and determine the case for being irredeemably statute barred and ought to be dismissed.
In further submission, the defendant maintained that the 6% and 15% increases approved by the National Salaries and Wages Commission for pensioners throughout the Federation had already been implemented for Anambra State workers on 2007 and 2008 respectively that due to poor allocation and dwindling economy of the Respondent salary and pension has not been reviewed up to date but efforts are being made to do so soon.
In opposition, Mr. Obiasogu’s counsel, C. D. Ugwu, Esq. stated that his client’s cause of action is continuous and no evidence of compliance to Section 210 (3) of the Constitution by the Respondents for the past thirteen years that the suit is not statute-barred and prayed the Court to hold so.
After careful evaluation of the submission of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice John Targema affirmed the Court’s jurisdiction and dismissed the objection for lacking merit.
Justice Targema declared that Mr. Obiasogu is entitled to a review of his pension every five years or together with any State Civil Salary reviews whichever is earlier, by the State Government.
In all Justice Targema held that granting an order of mandamus has become unnecessary to compel an act already in motion.
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