National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned the hearing of a suit filed against the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, by 110 staff who were disengaged from service.
The claimants had on December 2012 instituted a suit against the authorities of ABU over what they described as wrongful termination of their appointment from 1996 to 1999.
Also joined in the suit are the Federal Ministry of Education and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
In his preliminary objection, counsel to the first respondent, Mr Ewere Aliemeke argued that during the era of military government, the sole administrator of the institution appointed by the regime had the power to dismiss the staff and as such their suit was “statute-barred.”
Mr Aliemeke pointed that after the action was taken in 1996, the parties did not go to court immediately even when it was right to take such step and they had the opportunity to do so.
Their inaction, according to him, did not show that they were aggrieved.
Meanwhile, counsel to the third respondent, Mr Oluwafemi Aweda in his argument said the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.
“The claimants’ suit should not be entertained because my objection is based on the fact that the point of law enforced at that time was the Public Officer protection Service of 1982,”Aweda said.
However, counsel to the claimants, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, argued against the preliminary objection, insisting that the suit was not statute-barred because they had shown evidence of three white papers.
“Assuming the case was statute-barred, they would not have gotten a reply when they wrote to the government on the matter,” he said.
He, therefore, urged the court to discountenance and dismiss the preliminary objections of the first and third defendants.
The presiding judge, Justice Peter Lifu in his ruling adjourned the case for further hearing to May 21.

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