The Presiding Judge of the National Industrial Court, Kaduna Judicial division, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sinmisola Adeniyi has declared the dismissal of Boy Cpl Sadiq Muhammed from the Nigerian Military School, Zaria as unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.
The Court held that the dismissal awarded by the commandant was in contravention of the provisions of the Armed Forces Act, ordered immediate reinstatement and payment of Sadiq entitlements, emoluments from 2017 till date within 30 days.
From facts, the Boy Cpl Sadiq contented that he was not accorded fair hearing during his trial and also that he was punished twice on the same allegations which amounted to double jeopardy and due process was not followed by the Nigerian Army.
The defendant-Nigerian Army witness testified that after the investigations and findings, Sadiq was charged with offences on two separate charges that the trial and dismissal of the Claimant from the Nigeria Army by the Commandant was proper and in accordance with the School’s Rules and Regulations and the Law.
The defendant further argued that Sadiq admitted the testimonies of the witnesses while being cross-examined by the Commandant during the proceeding that the Claimant has not discharged the burden of being denied fair hearing.
The Claimant also maintained that his right to fair trial was violated by the summary trial conducted by the Commandant for not affording him with the opportunity of calling witnesses or cross-examining the witnesses that were called by the School to prove the alleged offence.
Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Adeniyi held that Defendant failed to discharge the onus placed on it that the School’s Rules and Regulations and administrative requirements were not placed before the Court.
“I am of the view that a party, as the Claimant in the instant case, who will be affected by the result of a decision must be given an opportunity of being heard. It is essential for a fair trial that the parties are given equal treatment, opportunity and consideration in the conduct of their cases, but this was not done in the present case.
“Therefore, I am in agreement with the learned counsel to the Claimant, that the refusal to give the Claimant the opportunity to call witnesses to support his defence obviously amounted to deprivation of the right of the Claimant to obtain substantial justice, especially bearing in mind that the Claimant was a minor at the time of the summary trial was conducted. And I so hold” Justice Adeniyi Ruled.
In all, the court ordered that Claimant shall be reinstated forthwith to the status quo ante before he was dismissed on 31/03/2017, and the Defendant shall within thirty (30) days pay to the Claimant all his accrued entitlements and other emoluments from the date of the unlawful dismissal till the date with N250,000 cost of action.