Industrial Court sets aside purported retirement of NIPOST officer Bissan Akau, Orders reinstatement

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The Presiding Judge, Kaduna Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sinmisola Adeniyi has set aside the purported retirement of Mr. Bissan Akau from the Nigerian Postal Service [NIPOST], ordered his reinstatement to the position of Senior Postal Officer II with payment of salaries, allowances and entitlements from 2108 till date within one month.

 

The Court held that the retirement of the Bissan’s from the employment of the Postal Agency was improper, unlawful, null and void that nothing legally standing in the way from having his job back with its attendant rights, benefits and privileges, awarded the sum of N200,000.00 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) against the agency as costs of the action.

From facts, the claimant’s- Bissan Akau had submitted that a case of missing mail bag was investigated by CIO and was interrogated by the Police with two other colleagues and was subsequently released.

He testified that he was served with a query, replied but was shocked when he later received a letter of retirement and was later served with letter of promotion to Senior Postal Officer II, that he made an appeal for reconsideration of his retirement but all to no avail; and submitted that his retirement was done not in compliance with the disciplinary procedure for misconduct or gross misconduct as stated in the conditions of service.

In defense, the defendant urged the court to dismiss the case in its entirety for lack of jurisdiction that the cause of action arose on 21/07/2017, when the Claimant replied the query issued to him, not 13/11/2018, a period more than twelve (12) months required by the NIPOST Act to file an action against the Defendant

In opposition, the claimant counsel urged the court to dismiss the objection and grant the reliefs sought that the case is not stature-barred.

However, in spite of the adjournments, the agency failed to avail the opportunities to defend the case.

Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Sinmisola Adeniyi affirmed jurisdiction and held that the cause of action accrued on 13/08/2018 when the Bissan received the letter of resignation that the action was filed within the time stipulated by the NIPOST Act and not statute-barred.

“It is settled that an employer must follow the procedure laid down by law. Where such a procedure is violated, an employer’s order of dismissal or retirement as in the instant case would be inoperative and void.

“Or what reason can the Defendant offer for promoting and at the same time retiring an employee on the same day if not that its action was vindictive? The Claimant’s retirement was not only unlawful but was made mala fide. Perhaps, this explains the reason the Defendant had tried various means to further frustrate the Claimant and delay the case with spurious applications.”


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