National Industrial Court, NIC, has warned the Federal Ministry of Information against continued delay in the hearing of a three-year-old suit instituted against it and two others by a former employee, Mr. Yushau A. Shuaib.
The court’s warning followed a complaint by lawyer to the plaintiff, Barrister James Abah Odeh of Bamidele Aturu Chambers, that the Ministry of Information had in the past three years employed delay tactics to frustrate hearing on the suit while other defendants, especially the Federal Civil Service Commission, FCSC, had been diligent in the court.
At the resumption of the hearing when the plaintiff was to be cross-examined, the Federal Ministry of Information was not represented but instead, the ministry wrote a letter to the court requesting for another adjournment.
The plaintiff’s counsel, Mr. Abah Odeh who was surprised that the ministry wrote for an adjournment instead of its counsel, accused the ministry of frustrating hearing on the case that was instituted against it to challenge the legality of the compulsory retirement of the plaintiff three years ago.
Although the adjournment was granted till July 12, 2016, Justice Edeth Esele warned the defendant against undue delay of hearing of the case in the interest of justice.
The plaintiff, Mr. Shuaib had dragged the Federal Civil Service Commission, Federal Ministry of Information and the former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, before the Industrial Court in Abuja to challenge his compulsory retirement from the federal civil service after a media publication.
In the court action, the plaintiff prayed for an order of the court against the Civil Service Commission to reinstate him to the service and to his post as Chief Information Officer forthwith, without any loss to seniority, salaries, positions and other emoluments.
He also prayed for an order of the Industrial Court to compel the Federal Ministry of Information and FCSC to compute and pay to him all his salaries, allowances and other emoluments due to him from the month of July 2013 to the date of judgement.
In the suit, the plaintiff claimed that he was offered automatic employment into federal civil service in 1994 as one of the NYSC National Honour recipients for meritorious service and outstanding performance, and had served as press secretary in the Federal Ministry Information, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Health, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, and National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.
The claimant further averred that by a letter of June 26, 2013, he was purportedly retired by the Federal Ministry of Information where he was the Chief Information Officer.
The plaintiff claimed that the compulsory retirement was based on imaginary misconduct raised against him by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala over a publication in the media without following civil service procedure.
He therefore asked the court to declare that the letter of compulsory retirement as having no force of law, illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever, being in flagrant violation of the rules of the public service 2008 edition.
The plaintiff further asked the court to declare that the decision of the Federal Civil Service Commission in June 26, 2013, on his compulsory retirement without conducting any investigation, without giving him opportunity to defend himself and without complying with the conditions, precedent for retirement, is contrary to Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution and the Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right and Enforcement Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and the Public Service Rules 030305 and 030601 of 2008.
Meanwhile, Justice Edet E. D. Isele has adjourned further hearing in the case till July 12, 2016, when the Ministry of Information is expected to cross-examine the plaintiff.

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