Court nullifies sack of FAAN chief, orders payment of salaries

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Judgement in suit on slain traders fixed for March 9 

THE Lagos division of the National Industrial Court, (NIC) has declared the sack of former General Manager, Legal, of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Mr. Bayo Aladun by the government as illegal and ordered payment of his salaries. 

   Justice B. B. Kanyip while delivering the judgment held that the retrenchment of the claimant, (Alabidun) from service on October 4, 2011 by the authority of FAAN was wrong, hence it ordered the full payment of his salary from October 4, 2011 to May 29, 2015 within 30 days of the judgment.

   The court also awarded the cost N50, 000 to the claimant as cost of the action filed in court.

It added that the failure to pay the damages and the salaries as ordered by the court “shall attract interest at 10 percent per annum.”

   Meanwhile a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere has set aside March 9, 2015 to deliver judgment in a fundamental rights suit filed by Ekwulobia Youths against the Inspector General of Police and four others.

   The presiding judge, Justice Oyindamola Ogala fixed March 9 for judgment yesterday after the applicants counsel, Abioye Akerele filed further Written Address and urged the court to grant justice to the deceased.

   The Ladipo traders: Anthony Ezenwafor, Chukwuemika Ezeofor, Aloysius Osigwe and Izuchukwu Ezeama, who were also members of the Ekwulobia Youths Association, were allegedly murdered by the police from the Aguda Police Station, Surulere, Lagos on July 1, 2001.

   Members of association led by Akaraka Chinweke, Chris Opara, Remigius Ezenwane and Ifeanyi Okoye, in 2011, had since instituted a suit against the Inspector General of Police, Attorney General of the Federation, Attorney General, Lagos State, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Chief Marvellous Akpoyibo, and Divisional Police, Aguda police station for the violation of human rights of the deceased.

   The youths are seeking ‘for an order for payment of the sum of N4 billion as damages and compensations to the families of the said four victims for their alleged unlawful killing.’

   The FAAN chief: Alabidun, who was the General Manager, Legal department of FAAN until the termination of his appointment joined the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Minister of Aviation as defendants in his suit.

   Among other reliefs, Alabidun prayed the court to declare that he is still a staff of FAAN until his appointment ceases by due process of law and in accordance with the staff conditions of service governing his contract of employment with FAAN.

 He urged the court to declare that the “defendants’ letter Ref. No. FAAN.CA/CPF 4949/1/15 dated Ocober4, 2011 purporting to ‘disengage’ the plaintiff from his public service position or as public servant is unconstitutional, unlawful, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”

   Also, he prayed the court to grant him damages in the sum of N1billion for abuse of office by the defendants “in unlawfully interfering with plaintiff’s employment as a public servant.”

   However, in their response, defendants noted that “the claimant was relieved of his position as General Manager, Legal of FAAN in 2011 along with others, who the Interim Board believed, after a careful study, could not fit into the Transformation Agenda in the Aviation sector of the current administration.”

   In his judgment, Justice Benedict Kanyip, held that Alabidun did not succeed in proving that he is statutory employee of FAAN, but that FAAN was wrong in terminating his appointment on the grounds that “the reasons given by the defendants for the disengagement were not justified, and the signatory of the disengagement letter has not shown to be the Board or Managing Director of FAAN, the employer of the claimant.”

   The court further held that though the disengagement of the claimant from service was wrongful, however, his employment came to an end from the day he was terminated from office.

   The court further held that the evidence tendered by the defendants did not justify the claim of re-organization on which Alabidun’s sacking was hinged. “Throughout the submissions of the defendants, I did not read anywhere where it was stated what nature of re-organization was, other than that it is line with the Transformation Agenda of the government and reform of the Aviation sector. I repeat once again, I cannot blindly use the word reform or re-organization as justification without stating what it entails and its components.

   “The defendants appeared top have simply found the word convenient to use and so that to them is sufficient justification. To be such the defendants must prove the need for the reform or re-organization, its component parts and how they succeeded in doing that in regards to the case at hand. The claimant in the instant case was the General Manager, Legal Services. 

   In disengaging him from his employment, was the office he occupied scrapped in order to justify the re-organization? The defendants did not tell the court. If anything, Exhibit MBA5 in paragraph 2 had even asked the claimant to hand over the affairs of the his unit to the Deputy Manager, Legal Services, presupposing thereby that the office of the General Manager, Legal, was still intact. All of this means that the defendants have not succeeded in justifying the reasons for which the claimant was disengaged, and I so find and hold!”



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