By Aderogba George
Abuja – The National Industrial Court (NIC) Abuja, on Thursday dismissed a suit filed by 582 ex-Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) employees for lack of merit.
The suit, which was filed in July 2018 on behalf of the ex-workers by Simon Galadima, Charles Otaka and Faith Azizi, is challenging the NIS, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Prisons Service Board.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the officers were those employed by the Service in May, 2015, after the exercise which claimed lives and injured many following a stampede
Justice Benedith Kayip, in a ruling dismissed the suit, saying it was not filed within the time provided by the law.
NAN reports that the law provides a period of three months window for a suit to be filed against an employer.
The judge insisted that the law suit ought to have been filed within the three months right from the day of the termination of their appointment on Aug. 25, 2015.
“The argument of the claimants counsel that the injury on his clients is a continuous one is faulty.
“They filed this suit on July 19, 2018; so this suit is statutorily barred for not being in line with time.
“I find no fault that the defendant acted maliciously or outside the confines of the law of the office.
“I find merit in the objection of the defendant, the suit is hereby struck out and dismissed accordingly,’’ he ruled.
Earlier, while moving a motion on the grounds that the suit was filed out of time, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, counsel to the defendant, prayed the court to dismiss the petition.
Abubakar said that the suit was out of jurisdiction since it was filed out of time and that paragraph 15, 16, 17 and 18 of the claimants’ prayers were not cogent based on the issue on ground.
He told the court that the defendant was challenging the suit on point of law that it was incompetent; and urged the court to dismiss it.
Also, counsel to the second defendant, Mrs Madesola Olatunde, aligned herself with the submission of the first defendant’s counsel, and urged the court to dismiss the suit.
According to Olatunde, her client has filed a preliminary objection on why the suit should be dismissed, and prayed the court to do justice to the matter.
Mr Baba-Musa Panya, counsel to the claimants, who argued his point on the credibility of the suit, said his clients were employed sometimes in May 2015, but were given no prior notice before their appointments were terminated on Aug. 25, 2015.
He urged the court to first determine the cause of the action which was without any cogent reason or prior notice.
“Their disengagements were questionable, unlawful; the action was malicious, outside a constituted authority, and no legal justification for the disengagement of the officers,’’ Panya said.
He said that the claimants even submitted themselves for re-screening in 2016 when they were called; and urged the court to look into the circumstances that played out during the employment in 2016.
NAN reports that the court had also early last year, refused to grant an application by the ex employees barring the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) from conducting any recruitment exercise.
They had prayed the court to compel the board of the NIS not to approve any recruitment, until they were all reinstated back into the Service.
Justice Sanusi Kado refused to grant the injunction on the grounds that the NIS Board, on which the injunction was sought, was not party to the suit which the claimants filed before the court.