The absence of Justice Edith Agbakoba of the National Industrial Court on Monday stalled a hearing in a suit filed against the Federal Character Commission by seven disengaged staff members.
The matter, which was slated for hearing, could not go on as the court registrar informed counsel and litigants that the court would not sit as the judge was indisposed.
Counsel was further directed to take new dates for their various matters and the suit was therefore fixed for hearing on June 7.
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From facts, the claimants in the suit— Uzuakpundu Anita, Adebiyi Babatunde, Unogwu Elizabeth, Rahman Faosiyat, Idoko Victor, Ahmed Halimat and Awoyo Adeola—alleged that they were employed by the defendants with appointment letters dated March 30, 2020
The disengaged staff further submitted that they were enrolled on Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System in June 2020 and they received their first salary in July 2020.
In addition, they averred that due to the Federal Government directive of ‘ stay at home’ for civil servants on Grade Level 1-12 due to covid-19 pandemic, they remained at home when public offices reopened in August 2020.
They added that they were not paid for August 2020 and by the time they demanded to know why they did not get their salaries, they were not given justifiable reasons.
According to the claimants, they only got to know about their disengagement through a notice of disengagement published in the Daily Trust newspaper on March 11, 2021.
They claimed every effort for them to be reinstated proved abortive, hence their instituting the suit praying for some relief.
Part of the reliefs sought by the claimants is an order of the court that their employment is valid and subsisting
The claimants are also seeking an order from the court for payment of their salary aggregate.
In addition, the claimants are praying for an order of the court directing the defendants to reinstate them to their various offices.
The defendants in response to the claimant’s allegation averred that the claimants’ appointments were terminated because the acting chairman of the commission when the claimants were employed did not get the mandatory waiver and approval from Civil Service Commission before they were employed.
The defendants, the FCC, Executive Chairman FCC, Dr Mubeeba Dankaka and the Head of Service, Civil Service of the Federation reiterated that the claimant’s employment did not follow due process.