The Presiding Judge, Lagos Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Obaseki-Osaghae has dismissed the case filed by the former trainee of the Nigerian Navy Basic Training School, Adekunle Agboola against the Nigerian Navy, Minister of defence and Attorney General of the Federation in its entirety for being frivolous.
The Court held that Agboola’s has not provided evidence as to how, or which of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution that deals with the right to dignity of the person has been breached; neither has he identified the provisions in the Armed Forces Act that the defendants have breached.
From facts, the claimant- Adekunle Agboola averred that he was recruited into the Nigerian Navy Basic Training School at Port-Harcourt that he dutifully began the training until October 26, 2012, when he had fractured with his left leg, averred that he was taken to the training school sickbay but was not given any medical care that On the 4th day he was referred to a nearby hospital outside the Training School where an X-ray was conducted and was instructed to contact his next of kin.
The claimant averred that while the treatment was on-going, his mother was in frequent contact with the assurance that he would pass out with his colleagues since it was only one month and eighteen days left for passing out parade (POP) when he sustained injury, that after his treatment he has made several efforts to be re-admitted for the purpose of passing out but not successful urged the Court to grant the reliefs sought.
In defence, the defendants stated that the claimant was promptly given first aid treatment at the training school sickbay that the X-ray was conducted at the expense of the Navy that the sickbay in the Training School is not an orthopaedic centre and could not have managed the claimant’s injury.
They stated further that a trainee would only be considered for passing out upon fulfilment of the entire training and academic requirements that if the claimant was still interested in joining the Nigerian Navy, he could have re-applied for enlistment.
The Nigerian Navy and Minster of Defence averred that at the time Agboola sustained the injury he was not their employee or fully-fledged personnel, and they are not liable to pay his medical bills.
The claimant’s Counsel Taiwo Olawanle Esq with Amara Nwosu Esq submitted that the defendants owed the claimant a duty of care to provide medical facilities to treat any injury sustained while training as this was forseeable, and were negligent in failing to provide medical assistance to address the claimant’s health condition, and is tantamount to depriving the claimant of his right to life.
Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Obaseki-Osaghae held that the defendants did not refuse to treat the claimant that the treatment the Agboola’s received at the sickbay was the level of medical care the sickbay was capable of providing.
“Under cross-examination, the claimant confirmed that he was issued with the Training School Code of Conduct. In the introduction paragraph, it is stated that “the purpose of this code of conduct is to spell out rules and regulations that bind a Trainee while on training at the Nigerian Navy Basic Training School.
“By the claimant’s own evidence, a trainee must complete the six months training before he is allowed to pass out; and he was in the Training School for 4 months and 2 weeks and did not take the final exam because he was in the sickbay. I find that the claimant was absent for more than 30 days; and that his injury while training militated against the completion of the six (6) month training period, and his ability to sit for the final exam. Both of these are compulsory pre-conditions for being enlisted.
“The claimant could not meet up due to his injury and this led to his automatic withdrawal as provided in Paragraph 22 (e).
“I hold that the defendants were right in refusing the claimant enlistment in the Nigerian Navy as he was not qualified.”