Court orders Fayose to pay N234m to disengaged state officials
The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) yesterday in a judgment, ordered Governor Ayodele Fayose to pay over N234 million to chairmen and members of statutory commissions appointed by former Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Those sacked are members of the State Independent National Electoral Commission (SIEC), Civil Service Commission (CSC), House of Assembly Service Commission(HASC) and Local Government Service Commission(LGSC).
Fayose had sacked the officials on assumption of office in October 2014 when their tenures had not expired.Consequently, the officials through their lawyers, led by Femi Falana (SAN) went to court to reverse their unlawful sack and reinstate them to their positions.
They premised their prayers on grounds that the tenure of their appointment was statutory.Delivering judgment yesterday, Justice Oyeyibola Oyewumi ordered Fayose to pay the plaintiffs N234 million for terminating their appointments on October 20, 2014.
“It is trite that where an appointment of an employee is terminated outside the specified terms of agreement or specified terms of agreement or specified period, such a termination will be seen as wrongful or unlawful as the case may be.
It is upon this basis that I find the dissolution of the commissions and removal of their chairmen and members by the first defendant (Fayose), an act of executive recklessness, rascality and a grave disregard to the Governor’s Oath of Office, which he sworn to uphold, defend and protect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The action of the first defendant in this case leaves a sour taste in the mouth. A grotesque galore, which, cannot, and should not be allowed to stand in the way of justice,” Oyewumi held.
He said it was noteworthy that it has become fashionable that once governors take over the affairs of a state, their first cause of action was to dissolve government boards, whether statutory or not and fix their cronies into such positions.
“This act, disregards the constitutional procedure for doing so. This, to say the least, is most unpatriotic and should not go unsanctioned.“It is, therefore, declared that mere announcement of the dissolution of the offices of the claimants in the media is a breach of Constitutional trust, it is therefore declared null, void and of no effect. I so find and hold,” he ruled.
Justice Oyewumi, however, refused the claimants’ prayers for perpetual injunction restraining Fayose or his agents from forcefully withdrawing the monetised vehicles from them.
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