Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

FUOYE Sacked Lecturers Accuse School of Disobeying Court Orders

FUOYE Sacked Lecturers Accuse School of Disobeying Court Orders

Dr. Akinyemi Omonijo and Professor, Adeyemi Oluwagbemiga both lecturers of Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE),  have accused management of the institution of flagrant disobedience to valid court orders and making their self-made orders.

The two lecturers said the management of the University refused to obey two separate judgements of both Akure and Abuja Divisions of the National Industrial Court (NICN), which ordered their immediate reinstatement

In the case of Dr. Omonijo, who is the current Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the University, was placed on an indefinite suspension by the University in 2019, via two separate letters dated February 14 and 15, 2019, signed by the then Acting Registrar of the institution, Mrs. Olayinka Adeniran-Ajayi.

Aggrieved by the decision, Dr. Omonijo through his lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) in suit number NICN/AK/21/2019 filed before the division of NICN, asked the court to declare his indefinite suspension without pay illegal, unconstitutional, and a violation of the provisions of the Trade Union Act.

However, during the pendency of the suit, both parties reached an amicable settlement of their disputes and requested that judgment of the court be entered based on the agreement.

Consequently, Justice Kiyersohot Damulak in a consent judgement set aside Dr. Omonijo’s suspension and ordered the University to reinstate him to his status as Senior Lecturer and to pay his salaries, allowances, and entitlements from February 2019.

Justice Damulak further held that the letters dated 14 and 15 February 2019 regarding his suspension should be withdrawn along with the withdrawal of the claimant’s claims in the suit.

Subsequently, the University in a letter dated November 10, 2021, signed by the Acting Registrar and Secretary to the Governing Council, Mufutau Ibrahim, acknowledged the receipt of the consent judgment.

The letter stated that the Governing Council of the University, at its sixth Extraordinary Meeting held on Wednesday, 3 November 2021, directed that, he should be reinstated to the service of the University with immediate effect.

The letter however added that considering the nature of the offence allegedly committed, further disciplinary action would be taken irrespective of the outcome of the criminal proceedings, in deference to the court.

But, Falana in a letter written to the University, asked the Governing Council to comply with the NICN’sconsent judgement, pointing out that the court did not attach any precondition in the judgement.

He warned that attaching a precondition would be in contempt of the court.

Similarly, Professor Adeyemi in suit numbered NICN/AK/64/2018, filed by against the institution, Justice Oyejoju Oyewumi of the Abuja Division of NICN, in her judgement delivered on November 12, 2019, declared his letter of termination dated  October 31, 2018, null and void.

Justice Oyewumi held that Professor Adeyemi is still in the school’s employment and should be reinstated back to his erstwhile position without any loss of seniority, rank and entitlement whatsoever.

The court also restrained the management of the University from further interfering with his rights, privileges and performance of his duties as an Associate Professor in the University.

Rather than complying with the court order, the University approached the Court of Appeal, Akure Division to challenge the judgement,

However, the appellate court in a ruling delivered on October 6, 2021, by Justice Rita Pemu, dismissed the appeal for want of diligent prosecution.

Justice Pemu observed that counsel for the appellant (University) was absent after having been duly served with a hearing notice.

Dissatisfied, the University again appealed to the Supreme Court praying the Apex Court to allow the appeal and set aside the judgement of the lower court.

The appellant argued that the lower court erred in law when it struck out its Motion on Notice filed on October 14, 2020, insisting that the appellant was present in court and was represented by the Head, Legal Unit, Mr. Lawrence Eni.

Dismayed, Professor Adeyemi accused the University of using delay tactics stressing that appeal from decisions of the NICN ends at the Court of Appeal.

He added that the NICN has exclusive original jurisdiction over employment-related complaints and cases, stressing that appeals from decisions of the NICN go to the Court of Appeal and the decision of the Court of Appeal, on any appeal arising from any civil jurisdiction of the NICN, is final.

He argued that only appeals from decisions of the NICN in respect of criminal cases can be made to the apex court of Nigeria.