The National Industrial Court (NIC) in Abuja on Tuesday, directed the National Examinations Council (NECO) to reinstate its two dismissed senior staff.
The dismissed senior staff of NECO, Mr. Charles Berje and Dr. Anthonia Utoh through their counsel, Job Okebe in motion had prayed the court for an order of reinstatement of his clients.
Their counsel had also prayed the court for an order of mandatory injunction, restraining the defendant from taking any further action in the matter pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Specifically, the claimants had asked the court to restrain the defendants (NECO) from dismissing them and all the parties were joined in issues, yet the defendant went ahead to terminate the employment of the 1st claimant and dismissed the 2nd Claimant.
In his ruling, Justice O.Y. Anuwe ordered immediate reinstatement of the two dismissed staff on the ground that the action was taken while the matter was before the court.
The trial judge held that in law, since the matter is in court, none of the parties is expected to take any further action or decision that would jeopardize the court process.
She further held that once parties submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the court as they have done in this case, none of them should be allowed to do anything that may foist on the court a situation of hopelessness.
Justice Awune stated that the action of the defendant showed a clear disrespect for the court having gone ahead to dismiss the staff while the matter is still pending in court.
Recall that the court had, in its earlier judgement on February 25, 2022, ordered the defendants to strictly comply with the Public Service Rules by giving equal and fair opportunities to all eligible and qualified staff of the council, including the claimants, in the suit marked, NICN/MN/06/2021 to participate in the exercise.
The court also set aside the said promotion examination, which was held without the names of the claimants, who were eligible for the examination but were unlawfully excluded.
However, while the substantive suit was on, the defendant went ahead to terminate the appointment of the 1st & 2nd claimants on the ground of abscondment from their duty.
In Tuesday’s ruling however, the trial judge ordered the defendant (NECO) to reinstate the claimants and warned against undermining the authority of the court.
Meanwhile the main suit has been adjourned to October 24 for hearing.
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