Unlawful Dismissal: Court Refuses British High Commission’s Request to Stay Enforcement of Judgment
Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Edith Agbakoba of the National Industrial Court, Abuja, has refused the request of the British High Commission for stay in the execution of its judgment on compensation of two staffs wrongly sacked by the office.
The court had last year nullified the sack of the two staff of the commission, Mr. Ayo Oyarero and Mr. Thomas Anakhuekha, and ordered the commission to pay five years’ salary as compensation to the claimants.
Dissatisfied, the British High Commission appealed the decision and subsequently applied for a stay of the judgment.
However, Justice Agbakoba in her ruling on Wednesday, declined to grant the Commission’s request.
She held that the British High Commission did not obtain the leave of the court to file the appeal as provided by the rules of the court.
“Without the application for leave to appeal, I cannot do anything,” she said.
The court had on June 30, 2021, nullified the termination of the employment of Oyarero and Anakhuekha by the high commission in a letter dated November 11, 2015, and ordered the payment of five years’ salary as compensation to the claimants for wrongful dismissal/termination of their employment, and compensation for unfair labour practices.
“Cost of this suit put at N200, 000, all payable within 30 days, thereafter 10 percent interest shall attach,” the court ruled.
Oyarero and Anakhuekha, who were employed as Transport Coordinator and Automobile Mechanic in 2007 and 2003 respectively, were sacked after a disciplinary committee set up to investigate allegations of sourcing of vehicle spare parts from unauthorized sources, cleared them of any wrong-doing.
Claimants’ Counsel, Mr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN), took up the matter where he argued that the sack without recourse to the disciplinary procedure recommended by the Locally Engaged Staff Handbook (2011 Revised Edition) was “wrongful, illegal, unlawful, unconscionable, malicious, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”
The claimants had contended that reports of the disciplinary committee of commission contained extraneous matters which were never raised during proceedings, while some vital testimonies made during the said proceedings were carefully and deliberately left out.