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Court dismisses Bauchi varsity ex-staff suit against school

The National Industrial Court sitting in Bauchi State has dismissed the case filed by one Ahmed against Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, challenging his dismissal from service for being statute barred.

It said that the the claimant brought the case before the court after expiration of the three months window provided by law.

Delivering judgment after painstaking evaluation of the submissions of both parties, the school and the claimant, the Presiding Judge, Justice Mustapha Tijjani held that Mr. Ahmed’s action was filed outside the 3 months Prescribed by the Public Officer’s Protection Act.

Tijjani affirmed that the case is statute-barred having not fall into any of the exceptions to general rule.

On the merit of the case, Justice Tijjani held that Mr. Ahmed did not show to the court how the absence of the NASU Chairman in the investigative committee affected the proceedings of the committee or occasioned the breach of the principle of natural justice in the case.

“The law is settled that the composition of the Disciplinary Committee is intrinsic to the fulfilment of the requirement of section 36 of the Constitution that guarantees for fair hearing to whoever is accused of wrong doing. It follows therefore that a Claimant, as in the instant case, who fails to discharge this burden is bound to fail and his case is liable to be dismissed. I so hold.” The Court held.

From facts, the claimant- Ahmed had posited that the Committee set up by the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University was not properly constituted in line with the Condition of Service of the Institution and that he was unjustifiably dismissed from service.

In defense, the defendant- Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University averred that it complied with the Condition of Service and that the composition of Committees was properly constituted and the dismissal was done in line with the Condition of Service.

The Learned Counsel to the University, A. Acanny, noted that Mr. Ahmed’s action was filed nine months after the cause of action had accrued against the 3 months window accepted by the Public Officers Protection Act, and urged the court to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.

The counsel also stated that Mr. Ahmed has failed to establish by evidence his assertion that his dismissal was not in conformity with the provisions of Defendant’s Conditions of Service.

In opposition, Learned Counsel to Mr. Ahmed averred that his client is a member of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) of the University and in the entire membership of the Investigation Committee which was constituted in the matter; the Chairman of NASU was not among as provided by the Condition of Service.

Learned Counsel further argued Court that the composition of the Committee is improper and thus a breach which nullifies the committee’s proceedings and dismissal handed down by the University.

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