The Presiding Judge, Enugu Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Oluwakayode Arowsegbe has nullified the purported termination of the Mr. Ikechukwu Ohanele from the employment of the National Agency For The Prohibition Of Traffic In Persons And Other Related Matters (NAPTIP); ordered reinstatement with payment of full salaries, entitlements, allowances, rights and privileges from the 14th November 2014 till date and the sum of 200,000 cost of action within 30 days.
The Court held that Ikechukwu appointment is subject to the Public Service Rules, which prescribed that determination of appointments must be justified by reasons.
From facts, the claimant- Ikechukwu Ohanele had submitted that his employment was confirmed 17th February 2009 but was surprised on 16th November 2014 or thereabout, when he received a letter dated 14th November 2014 terminating his appointment.
The claimant pleaded that he was not invited nor present at the purported Junior Staff Committee meeting and was neither invited, nor make any representation to the said committee that his appointment termination was not in accordance with the Federal Civil Service Rules.
In defence, the defendant pleaded that the appointment of the claimant was terminated for gross misconduct that the service of the claimant was riddled with queries and warnings and was given a fair hearing on the alleged misconduct alleged, invited to the disciplinary committee, where the claimant and other staff involved were orally interviewed and that, the appointment of the claimant was terminated based on the recommendation of the committee that the activities of the defendant must be done in accordance with the Official Secret Act, prayed that the suit be dismissed.
In reply, the claimant averred that he was not found guilty of misconduct that; the purported report attached to the Statement of Defence was concocted as the termination letter did not state that as the reason for the termination.
After careful analysis of the submission of both counsel, the trial Judge, Justice Arowosegbe held that employment of a civil or public servant could not be determined without giving reason because, they do not owe their employments to the whims and caprices of their bosses or employers but, to the provisions of the rules and regulations that govern and regulate their employments.
“I have combed through the whole gamut of the exhibits tendered and the rulings by which they were admitted and could not find the report that contains the recommendation of the JSC’s in issue or any other.
“It means I could not find the alleged recommendation; and that, since the document allegedly containing the reason for the termination of the appointment of the claimant was not tendered, and the reason was not stated in the letter of termination itself, the reference in the letter of termination to the JSC Meeting of 13th November 2014, as the source from which the defendant picked the recommendation to terminate the appointment of the claimant, therefore referenced to a non-existent document.
It is this report, the queries and answers and the record of proceedings/evidence at proceedings that the JSC Meeting of 13th November 2014 was supposed to deliberate upon and come out with a decision by virtue of Rule 030307(ix)-(x) of the Public Service Rules. It means, in effect, that, no reason was given for the determination of the appointment of the claimant, and I so hold. It makes the termination liable to be set aside.
“So, the mention of the Official Secret Act, though not well articulated, for its connexion with the facts of the case and the section breached was not stated, is red herring and has nothing to do with the termination.”