Lordship, Hon. Justice Elizabeth Oji of the National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos has declared that the argument that the court does not have jurisdiction to enforce the fundamental human rights of the DR. Kolapo Adeogun in a matter brought against Federal College of Education (Technical) Akoka and others as unfounded.
The court held that Dr. Adeogun failed to prove that the actions of the institution are illegal and unlawful that none of the exhibits tendered seeks to establish these facts, nor evidence to assist the court in making any finding.
The claimant sought against defendants for A DECLARATION that the directives contained in the internal memoranda dated 30th June and 21st July 2017 respectively and suspending payments of the claimant’s salaries are ILLEGAL, UNLAWFUL, ULTRA VIRES the powers of the defendants and to that extent are NULL and VOID.
Likewise, A DECLARATION that the directives directing the claimant to withdraw cases he has in court in respect of disputes over the management of Edutech Model Cooperative Society Limited are an infringement of the claimant’s rights to fair hearing as guaranteed in section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 among others.
The claimant, Dr. Adeogun a senior lecturer was invited by the institution in relation to the crises that had engulfed a Cooperative Society and he informed the defendants that matters had even been escalated into litigation as there were pending cases in court that he was shocked when defendants’ issued directives that his salaries be suspended pending resolution of the issues and parties should withdraw cases pending in court.
Defendants contended that they will not shut their eyes to the festering crisis in the cooperative and the need to discipline any of its erring staff to protect the image, integrity and reputation of the institution.
They submitted that the prayer of the claimant, as couched, is primarily an allegation of breach of claimant’s fundamental human rights as enshrined in Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which ought to have been brought under the special enforcement procedure provided therein for the enforcement of fundamental rights and which is not within the ambits of the jurisdiction of the court.
In opposition, the claimant argued that the defendants are not entitled to interfere with the payment of his salaries urged the court to grant the consequential relief to prevent future attempts to further tamper with or deny him his wages/salaries.
Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Elizabeth Oji held that the argument that the court does not have jurisdiction to enforce the fundamental human rights of the claimant, is unfounded, as the relief sought by claimant are clearly accommodated by the provision of the constitution that the relief sought is related and connected with a dispute over the application of section 36 of the constitution and relates to his employment.
“I do not find evidence on which to rely to begin a consideration of the illegality, unlawfulness or otherwise of the actions of the defendants. None of the exhibits tendered by claimant seeks to establish these facts, nor is there any evidence to assist the court in making any finding on it. This court cannot begin to imagine and assume facts.
“Claimant has not shown how the directive infringed section 36(1) of the constitution; nor how it took away or purport to take away the right of the parties. Neither the laws establishing the defendant nor the contract or conditions of employment of the parties is before this court.
In all, the court held that the claimant has failed to prove that the actions of the defendants are illegal, unlawful and dismissed the case in its entirety.