Wednesday, September 17, 2014 4:45 pm
Justice Babatunde Adejumo of the National Industrial Court (NIC) on Wednesday declared the Community Staff School (CSS), Asokoro, a public institution and ordered the State Security service (SSS) to reinstate all sacked staff.
Justice Adejumo gave the order in Abuja while delivering judgment in a case brought by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) against the SSS, its director-general of SSS and the attorney-general of the Federation.
The case, earlier filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Dec.14, 2009, was transferred to the NIC on the Dec.7, 2011.
The claimants are teachers in the employment of 1st defendant who are demanding the regularization of their employment and their right to unionise.
Adejumo, in his judgment, ruled that even though CSS was established by the first defendant, the school was being run and funded by the Federal Government and as such could not be regarded as a private school.
He said there was no evidence by the first and second defendants to prove that the school was a private institution.
He said based on evidence, the institution was incorporated under Civil Service Rule.
“On the basis of the evidence, the first and second defendants did not show any evidence that proves that CSS is a private institution though CSS is owned and run by SSS, an agency under the government and financed by the government.
“I have come to the conclusion that a school established and funded directly or indirectly by the government, cannot be seen as a private school.”
The court declared the claimants as public servants within the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, adding that they could associate freely as members of the NUT.
“Based on the terms of employment, the claimants are entitled to enjoy the Conditions of Service applicable to all persons employed by the Federal Civil Service Commission.
“ They are also entitled to associate freely as members of the Nigerian Union of Teachers without any threat, harassment and intimidation by the defendants and their officers, agents, subordinates and privies.’’
Adejumo further ruled that the termination of the employment of some staff on grounds that they were unionised was unlawful.
He ruled that the staff were entitled to associate freely without threat, adding that the 1st defendant violated the fundamental human right of the staff as enshrined in section 40 of the constitution.
“ The defendants are hereby ordered to reinstate them and pay their salary in arrears with all their entitlements.’’
While commending the NUT for its bold step, the Judge noted that in all his years in service, this was the first case of a union fighting on behalf of its members in court and urged other unions to emulate them.
The claimants’ Counsel, Anthony Itedjere commended the Judge for restoring the hope of the common man in the country.
The defendants’ counsel was not in court.