The Presiding Judge, Kano Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice E. D. Isele has dismissed the suit filed by suspended Vice-Chancellor of Federal University Dutsinma, Professor Haruna Abdu Kaita against the University in its entirety for lacking merit.
The Court held that suspension of the Prof. Kaita pending investigation does not amount to a breach of his right to a fair hearing.
From facts, the Claimant- Prof. Kaita had submitted that he was appointed by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for a single term of Five (5) years effective 11th February 2016 as the Vice-Chancellor of the University.
He further averred that the Defendants did not observe the principles of due process and fair hearing in any way or manner in the process leading to his suspension from office.
In defence, the Defendants maintained that the main purpose of constituting the investigative committee was to investigate the various allegations labelled against the Claimant with a view to determine the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations and report back to Council of its findings.
The Defendants insisted that asking the Claimant to step aside pending the investigation and the outcome of the Committee’s investigation which was to be submitted to the 1st Defendant for consideration did not breach any right to fair hearing and is a normal Civil Service process.
In reply, Claimant’s learned counsel A. Addau, Esq. with Aliyu Abdullahi, Esq charged that the University had introduced their new nomenclature variously referring to the words, stepping down and stepping aside which impliedly admitted that Prof. Kaita was suspended or punished before being heard, without being afforded fair hearing and further that the constitution of the Investigative Committee by the Governing Council is irregular and illegal as the Chairman of the Governing Council by law is to be a part of the Committee of which he was not.
After careful consideration of the submissions of both counsel, the presiding Judge, Justice Isele held that suspension of the Appellant pending investigation can never amount to a breach of his right to fair hearing.
“The act of suspension, in this case, is an administrative act intended to ensure good and stable administration of the University and the Vice-Chancellor acted within his powers to suspend the Appellant.
“On the whole, the issue whether the Claimant’s right to fair hearing was breached is answered in the negative.”