The President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, PhD, FNIALS has dismissed the case filed by Imogie Solomon against Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, and Federal Civil Service Commission in its entirety for lacking merit.
The court held that Solomon’s prayer for a declaration that his suspension was wrongful cannot be granted as it has not been proved and the argument that he was not accorded fair hearing before his suspension is not tenable.
From facts, the claimant- Imogie Solomon had alleged that he was wrongfully suspended from office and has not been paid any salary or any money since 2016 till date contrary to the Guidelines for Appointments, Promotion and Discipline issued by the Federal Civil Service Commission that the Ministry went on its own frolic and legally wrong to extend the suspension prayed that his suspension be declared wrongful and reinstated back to work and all salaries and promotion arrears be paid till date as well as general damages and cost of the suit.
In response, the defendant- Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing submitted that the suspension of the claimant is in order in line with the Public Service Rule and in the interest of the Service considering the nature of the offence allegedly committed that the Ministry is not competent to act further until the Police conclude its investigation.
In making its submissions, the claimant counsel John Onuche Esq submitted that the defendants’ allegation is a mere allegation which the Court should throw into the dustbin that claimant was not given a fair hearing before the suspension and was NOT even placed on a half salary since 2016 till date urged the Court to grant all the reliefs sought.
Delivering Judgment, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip held that Public Service Rule did not stipulate any time limit for suspension, and it is very specific that suspension is without pay.
“Here lies its distinction with interdiction under which half pay is payable. See Rule 030404 of the PSR dealing with interdiction. So when the claimant agreed that he was not put on any salary, he confused his suspension with interdiction.
“Rule 030406 is very specific that suspension is without pay. There is accordingly nothing wrongful about the claimant being suspended without pay if that is the ground upon which the suspension is being challenged. I so hold.
“The claimant affirmed this in his testimony under cross-examination when he stated that he was queried before his suspension and he answered it.