The National Industrial Court, Abuja has directed an immediate reinstatement of two dismissed senior staff of the National Examinations Council (NECO) on ground that the action was taken while the matter was before the court.
The dismissed senior staff of NECO, Mr. Charles Berje and Dr. Anthonia Utoh through their counsel, Job Okebe in motion had prayed the court for their reinstatement.
Their counsel had also prayed the court for an order of mandatory injunction restraining the defendant from taking any further steps in the matter pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Specifically, the claimants were in court asking the court to restrain the Defendants from dismissing them and all the parties were joined in issues, yet the defendant went ahead to terminate the employment of the 1st Claimant and dismissed the 2nd Claimant.
In a ruling delivered on Tuesday, Justice Justice O.Y. Anuwe ordered immediate reinstatement of the two dismissed staff .
The trial judge held that in law since the matter is in court none of the parties is expected to take any further action or decision that would jeopardize the court process.
Her Lordship held that once parties submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the court as they have done in this case, none of them should be allowed to do anything that may foist on the court a situation of hopelessness.
Justice Awune states that the action of the defendant showed a clear disrespect for the court having gone ahead to dismiss the staff while the matter is still pending in court.
Recalled The court had in its earlier judgement delivered on February 25, 2022 ordered the defendants to strictly comply with the Public Service Rules by giving equal and fair opportunities to all eligible and qualified staff of the Council, including the claimants, in the suit marked, NICN/MN/06/2021 to participate in the exercise.
The court had also in its judgement set aside the said promotion examination, which was held without the names of the claimants, who were eligible for the examination but were unlawfully excluded.
However, while the substantive suit was in the process the defendant went ahead and terminated the appointment of the 1st & 2nd claimants on the ground of having absconded from their duty.
During Tuesday’s ruling, the trial judge ordered the defendant (NECO) to reinstate the claimants and warned against undermining the authority of the court.
Meanwhile, the main suit has been adjourned to October 24 for a hearing.