Justice Rabiu Gwandu of the Lagos Judicial division of the National Industrial Court has ordered Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board and Local Government Education Authority, Epe to pay jointly pay to one Balogun Taofikat the sum of N1,739, 338.22 being the salaries, allowances and other entitlements due to her from 4th October 2010 to 31st January 2018, One million naira damages and Two Hundred Thousand Naira cost of action within 30 days.
The Court held that the continuous non – payment of salaries, entitlements of Taofikat’s as an employee of the Local Government Education Authority, Epe since assumption of duty on the 4th of October, 2010 till date is unlawful and unconstitutional.
Justice Gwandu also ordered for continuous payment of salaries, leave bonus, annual increment, allowances and other entitlements as at when due to the claimant till her contract of service is finally determined.
From facts, the claimant’s Balogun Taofkat had submitted that she was employed by Local Government Education Authority, Epe and was subsequently posted and assumed duty at Anglican Primary School On 4th October 2010, that the defendants refused to pay her salaries and allowances that she continued reported for duty diligently, behaving appropriately, discharging the duty of her office, and was never issued any query till date.
In defence, the defendant maintained that after recruitment of 250 non-teaching officers, it was discovered that credentials used by Taofikat’s for her appointment was incomplete and verification exercise was embarked upon to authenticate same that Claimant was never employed having failed to fulfil the conditions precedent as stated in the letter of employment and public service rules as it relates to his credentials, verification exercise and medical tests.
Defendant’s counsel O.F Matanmi Esq and Bamidele Adaramewa Esq argued that the Claimant’s failed to prove to the Court how she arrived with the total sum being claimed for service that she never rendered any service for the State Government urged the Court to dismiss the case.
Taofikat Counsel Afolabi Medeton Esq and Bola Disu Esq argued that the condition indicated in the letter of employment was fulfilled upon claimant’s assumption of duty that the clause “this appointment takes effect as from the time you assume duty”, and has been in the employment since 4th October 2010 till date.
Counsel argued that the defendants’ failure and refusal to pay claimant’s salaries despite passionate demand and plea for several years caused hardship, losses and emotional distress and can only be ameliorated by compensation.
Delivering the judgment, the presiding judge, Justice Rabiu Gwandu held that the Defendants have waived the requirement that the contract be accepted in writing and activated the second clause by allowing the Claimant resume work, posting her to a duty station and also issuing her with a resumption of duty certificate.
“The Defendants also maintain that the Claimant failed to pass the verification exercise embarked upon by the Defendants, again there is no document before the Court which proves this assertion.
“Again the Defendants in paragraph 7 of the statement of defence averred that the salary of the officer was withheld for a period of three months to enable the authority verify and clear the Claimant, this is an admission that the Claimant worked for three months after the issuance of exhibit AOH 4 despite not accepting in writing.
“It is unconscionable that an employee would work for over 7 years without remuneration, it is unethical, unconstitutional, a violation of every right known to an employee, the Claimant by the Courts reckoning and discretion find that the Claimant is entitled to damages which will not be enough to cover for the period of stagnation suffered in the period she was kept dormant by the Defendants.”