Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The 100 staff members of the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti (EKSU), who were disengaged last December, have sued the institution, seeking the quashing of the sack and immediate reinstatement on the premise that they were illegally pushed out of the system.
The disengaged staff had instituted a legal action at the National industrial Court of Nigeria, Akure division in Ondo State against the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Edward Olanipekun, and the management of the university, alleging illegal disengagement from the service of the institution.
The affected staff waged the legal battle after they exhausted all other options, including pleading, non-violent protests among others to ensure that the university management reverses its decision to sack them via letters of notification of disengagement on December 5, 2019, which were handed over to the affected staff.
In the suit challenging their disengagement from the services of the university, the affected staff, who were represented by Mrs. Oyinlola Omowunmi Yinka, Mr. Ajayi Babatubde A, Mr. Adejoro Blessing and three others as claimants, has the vice-chancellor, the Governing Council of the university and the Ekiti State University as defendants.
The claimants sought the following reliefs: ‘An order setting aside the provisions of the Ekiti State University regulations governing the services of senior staff and Junior staff,” stating that the employment of confirmed senior and junior staff of the third defendant can be terminated by notice or payment in lieu of notice, the said provision being incompatible with the employment status of the claimants.
“A declaration that the disengagement of all the named and unnamed claimants from their appointments letters of December 5 , 2019, is illegal, null and void; an order reinstating all the named and unnamed claimants to their appointments or employments with the payment of their salaries and allowances from the date of disengagement to the date of the judgement thereafter.
“Also, the court should issue an order directing the defendants to pay the claimants their three months salaries, which has remained unpaid by the defendants.”
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, the presiding judge, Justice K. D. Damulak, said the statement of facts before the court cannot be disputed, and therefore, directed that the two legal counsel to both parties, Olabanjo O. Ayenakin for Claimants and Dayo Akinlaja for the defendants, prepare their defence for the court’s ruling in the next hearing.
While the counsel to the claimants accepted the court’s decision on the grounds that the defendants are not disputing statements of facts stating that there are no grounds given by the defendants for terminating the affected staff’s appointment, among others, the counsel to the defendants pleaded that the court should allow him seek advice from his senior counsel before taking decision on the matter.
The court thereafter adjourned the case to October 13 for further hearing.