The National Industrial Court Of Nigeria in the Ibadan Judicial Division has ordered the reinstatement of a clerical staff, Ogunjimi Busola Adebisi, who was illegally dismissed from the services of the Oyo State Board of Internal Revenue.
The judgment was delivered on September 28, 2021, by Justice J.D Peters in suit number: NICN/IB/19/2016 in which Ogunjimi was the claimant while the Board of Inland Revenue, Oyo State, Civil Service Commission, Oyo State and the Attorney-General, Oyo State served as the defendants, subsequently referred to as judgment debtors.
Ogunjimi, who instituted the suit in 2016, had been employed in 2009 as an employee of the first defendant (Oyo State Board of Inland Revenue) but was served a dismissal letter in 2015.
She sought the order of the court to among other things, declare the dismissal letter referenced BIR/Vol. 1l621l43 and dated 16/11/2015 as illegal, unlawful, null void and of no effect, being contrary to the Civil Service Commission Regulations, Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2000.
She also sought a declaration that her dismissal is unreasonable, unjustifiable, mala fide and unfair labour practice.
Others include: “A Declaration that the Defendant’s letter dated 28l8l2015 with reference number BIR/Vol. IU50/325 promotion the Claimant remains valid and subsist.
“An Order setting aside the 1st Defendant letter with reference number BIR/Vol. 621/43 dated 16/11/2015, through which the Claimant was dismissed as Clerical Officer GL. 04.
“An Order reinstating the Claimant as Clerical Officer GL. 04 to the Pensionable establishment of the Board of Internal Revenue, without any loss of employment rights, including promotion.
“An Order for the payment of the full salaries, allowances, fringe benefits and all other outstanding entitlement accruable to the Claimant from February 2016 (when this suit was instituted) till the determination of this suit as if she was never dismissed.
“An Order for the payment of all earned backlogs of salaries and allowances amounting to =N=235,967.00 (Two Hundred and Thirty-Five Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Seven Naira) comprising of the following:-
“Payment of =N=114, 323.20 (One Hundred and Fourteen Thousand Three Hundred and Twenty Three Naira Twenty Kobo) being arrears of salaries from September 2015 till January 2016 at the rate of =N=22,864.64 (Twenty Two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty Four Naira Sixty Four Kobo) per month.
“Payment of =N=26, 400 (Twenty Six Thousand Four Hundred Naira) being annual leave bonus for the year 2014 and 2015, at the rate of =N=13,200 per month.
“Payment of =N=95, 244.00 (at the rate of =N=3, 968.5 per month for 24 months for the period December 2014 till January 2016) being share of between 3% and 5% of revenue generated’ (also called cost of collection) by the 1st Defendant, on the conventional average of between =N=3,000 to =N=5,000 per month, depending on what is arbitrarily declared by the 1st Defendant.
“An Order for the payment of 10 per cent interest per annum on unpaid salaries and allowance from September 2015 till the determination of this Suit; general damages against the Defendant for wrongful and unlawful dismissal of the Claimant in the sum of =N=1,000,000 (One Million Naira Only).
“Cost of this suit in the sum of =N=1, 250, 000 (One Million Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) only.”
Meanwhile, the defendants, in their counter-claim sought: “A Declaration that the dismissal of the claimant by the 1st Defendant through letter referenced BIR/VOL. 1/62:1./ 43 dated 16/11/15 is valid and lawful.
“An order for payment of the sum of =N=454,234.00 (Four Hundred and Fifty-Four Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty-Four Naira). An order for the payment of 10 per cent interest of the said indebtedness pending the determination of this suit.”
In their defence, the defendants said the claimant was employed and issued with Offer of Appointment letter by the 1st Defendant dated the 5th day of October 2009 as a Clerical Assistant on salary scale GL 03.
However, the court held that the processes of the Claimant are validly filed and the jurisdiction of the Court to hear and determine this case is not in any way negatively affected for incompetence.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Peters submitted: “I hold that the combined reading of Exh. BA1, Exh. BA2, Exh. BA5 & Exh. D2 points to an irresistible conclusion that the employment of the Claimant is one with statutory flavour.
“I hold that the 1st Defendant did not comply with the procedure enshrined in the Public Service Rules, Vol. 1, Section 4 030402 (L) of January 2013 in dismissing Claimant from its employment.
“I declare that the dismissal of the Claimant by the 1st Defendant through the letter referenced BIR/Vol. 1l621l43 and dated 16/11/2015 but served on the Claimant on 17/11/2015 is illegal, unlawful, null void and of no effect, being contrary to the Civil Service Commission Regulations, Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2000.
“I declare that the dismissal of the Claimant is unreasonable, unjustifiable, mala fide and unfair labour practice. I declare that the 1st Defendant’s letter dated 28/8/15 with reference number BIR/Vol. IU50/325 promoting the Claimant remains valid and subsist.
“I here set aside 1st Defendant’s letter with reference number BIR/Vol. 621/43 dated 16/11/2015, through which the Claimant was dismissed as Clerical Officer GL. 04.
“I reinstate and order an immediate reinstatement of the Claimant as Clerical Officer GL. 04 to the pensionable establishment of the Board of Internal Revenue, without any loss of employment rights, including promotion.
“I order and direct the 1st Defendant to pay to the Claimant all her arrears of salaries plus allowances from 1st September 2015 till the date of this judgment.
“Reliefs 7, 8 & 9 are refused and dismissed for lack of proof by cogent, credible and admissible evidence. The 1st Defendant is ordered to bear the cost of this proceedings assessed at =N=200,000.00 and pay same to the Claimant.
“All the heads of counterclaims sought are refused and dismissed for lack of proof by credible evidence. All the terms of this Judgment are to be complied with immediately. Judgment is entered accordingly.”
In a recent development, Ogunjimi’s counsels wrote the Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Oyo State and the chairman, Board of internal revenue to immediately comply with the court directive.
The letter was titled: Imperativeness of compliance with judgment in suit no: NICN/IB/19/2019 Ogunjimi Busola Adebisti Vs. Board Of Internal Revenue Oyo State & Ors delivered ON 28/9/2021 and signed by a managing partner of the Abope Chambers, Femi Aborisade.
It reads, “We have been briefed and our legal services retained by Ogunjimi Busola Adebisi, hereinafter referred to as our Client, on whose behalf and instruction we write this post Judgment letter.
“We represented the Judgment Creditor in the above-mentioned Suit in which the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), per Hon Justice JD. Peters delivered the Judgment on 28/9/2021.
“The Board of Internal Revenue, Oyo State, Civil Service Commission, Oyo State and the Attorney General, Oyo State were sued in the 1, 2 and 3 Defendants, respectively, though they are now better called judgment debtors.
“We recall the Counsel represented all the Judgment Debtors at the Court Hearing when the judgment was delivered. It is therefore a fact that all the Judgment Debtors are aware of the Judgment.
“The essence of the brief of Our Client is that the Judgment Debtors should observe the orders made by the Court without any further delay. This is because, unless and until set aside on appeal, decisions of the Court are binding on all authorities and persons.
“The summary of the key reliefs granted by the Court is as stated on pages 16 to 17 of the Judgment…We hereby attach a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the said Judgment dated 28 September 2021 for ease of reference and for compliance even though we are aware that all the Judgment Debtors are deemed to be aware of the Judgment through their Counsel.
“We are convinced that all the Judgment debtors, as law-abiding persons, would comply with the Judgment of the Court.”