His Lordship, Hon. Justice Elizabeth Oji of the National Industrial Court, Lagos Judicial Division has declared the failure, refusal or negligence of the Nigerian Customs Service to furnish retired officer Lateef Adewale with the Medical Report or Certificate warranting his retirement on medical grounds as unlawful and wrongful.
The court ordered Nigerian Customs Service not later than 30 days to forthwith furnish the Mr Adewale with the Medical Report or Certificate warranting his retirement on Medical Grounds on the 20th day of December 2011 to enable access to his Retirement Savings fund.
From fact, the claimant-Adewale by evidence showed was retired from service on the medical ground with effect from Monday 19th December 2011 despite presenting certificate of fitness.
In 2014, He challenged the retirement in court but the suit was dismissed for being statute-barred and all effort to access the benefits in his Retirement Savings Account were abortive as it was required of him to furnish the PFA with the medical condition warranting the retirement.
Furthermore, the claimant approached and wrote the defendant severally to produce the medical certificate upon which he was retired but all to no avail till date, and argued that the law has imposed a legal duty on the defendant which it is expected to perform in the discharge of its responsibility to the claimant urged the court to do Justice.
However, the defendant- Nigerian Customs Service was afforded all opportunities to defend the case but despite service of the processes and hearing notices and evidence attesting to the same, the defendant did not file any process nor was it represented at the trial by a Counsel.
Delivering judgment, the trial Judge, Justice Elizabeth Oji held that Pension is not merely a statutory right of the claimant but is also a fulfilment of a constitutional promise and further that it becomes a statutory duty on the defendant as are required to enable the claimant to take the benefits of his pension.
“I am convinced that the defendant owes it to the claimant to issue that medical certificate to enable the claimant to fulfil the pre-condition for accessing his pension. That is, in my opinion, the just thing to do. I, therefore, find that claimant’s case succeeds.”