Hon. Justice Edith Agbakoba of the Abuja Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court has nullified the purported employment termination of one Mrs. Oluwakemi Bankole from office through the letter dated 6th May 2019; ordered the Nigeria Export-Import Bank to reinstate her to rightful position with all entitlements.
The Court held that the action of the NEXIM bank in terminating the appointment of Oluwakemi Bankole was done illegally and ultra vires and is therefore null and void and Oluwakemi is entitled to be reinstated to her position as if she never left.
Justice Agbakoba held that the way and manner prescribed for the termination of Oluwakemi Bankole’s employment must be religiously observed otherwise such termination has no effect whatsoever and she will be deemed as continuing in her employment.
From facts, the claimant- Oluwakemi Bankole had submitted that on the 6th of May 2019, after the close of the day, she was singled out for a search and was subjected to a thorough search that her attempt to resume work prove unsuccessful after the incident as she was informed by the security men that she had been barred from the building by the Board of Directors.
In a further submission, she averred that she wrote to the agency requesting clarification on her employment status, and to her surprise, on 18th June 2019 she received a letter by courier dated 6th May 2019 notifying her that her employment has been terminated with immediate effect.
In defense, the defendant- Nigeria Export-Import Bank stated that Oluwakemi Bankole was duly informed of the termination of her employment and averred that there was no breach of any rule, regulation, or law as she was compulsorily retired in line with the agency’s Conditions of Service.
The Counsel to the agency contended that the provision of the agency’s staff condition of service gives the agency the power to terminate a staff’s employment and direct same to proceed on compulsory retirement for any or all of the above reasons, urged the court to dismiss the case for lacking merit.
In opposition, Counsel to Oluwakemi, Ahmad Belgore Esq. with Habib Tahir Esq posited that the employment contract of their client was not validly terminated, that no allegation was made against her, and no disciplinary panel was convened to try her; urged the court to grant the reliefs sought in the interest of justice.
Delivering the judgment after careful evaluation of the submission of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Edith Agbakoba held that the Letter of Termination with the heading ‘TERMINATION OF APPOINTMENT’, is not and does amount to Compulsory Retirement as argued by the bank.
Justice Agbakoba held that NEXIM bank failed to show that they follow the proper and statutory required procedure in terminating the employment of Oluwakemi and that the way and manner prescribed for the termination of such employment must be religiously observed otherwise such termination has no effect whatsoever and the employee will be deemed as continuing in his employment.
However, the court dismissed Oluwakemi’s N50,000,000 (Fifty Million Naira) psychological trauma and dehumanizing treatment claim for lacking merit.
“I find that the claimant is required to have introduced medical evidence to establish the physical trauma and or psychiatrist’s or psychologist report to evidence the diagnosis and any incidentals of psychological and physical trauma to enable the Court to make a determination in damages.” Justice Agbakoba ruled.
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