By Glory Abuh-Adejoh
Abuja – The National Industrial Court, Abuja, on Monday affirmed the dismissal of Mr Collins Uchechukwu, as West African Examinations Council (WAEC) exam officer.
Uchechukwu was dismissed over his involvement in examination malpractice during the November to December 1995 examination which he supervised.
Justice Rakiya Haastrup, said that in determining the case, the court adopted the sole issue distilled by the defendant (WAEC), in its written address.
According to the judge, the issue was whether the claimant had sufficiently proven his case based on the state of pleadings before the court to be entitled to the reliefs he sought.
Haastrup held that the evidence before the court tendered by the defendant, proved that the terms and conditions of employment of the claimant as contained in his offer of employment regulated his employment.
She added that however, the claimant from his entire evidence “seems to rely solely on his termination letter of employment, which is not what regulates his contract of employment.
“ It is trite law that where there is a valid contract agreement, parties are bound by the agreement, all its terms and conditions, and there should be no room for departure from what is stated thereon.” the judge held.
She also held that there was no evidence before the court brought by the claimant sufficient to support his claim that he was a bonafide staff of the defendant and was still entitled to salaries and allowances.
Haastrup further added that the claimant could not succeed in his relief to the effect that he was still a bonafide staff of the defendant, his employment having been terminated vide the letter of termination.
She equally said termination of employment by an employer cannot be wrongful, unless it was in breach of terms of contract.
“ All that is required by law is that notice shall be given or salary in lieu of notice, which the defendant complied with in this case.”
The judge concluded by saying that all the reliefs sought by the claimant in the suit, failed in its entirety and accordingly dismissed the suit.
The claimant’s counsel, Ezra Martins, had urged the court to declare that the claimant was a staff of the defendant and was entitled to salaries from 1996 till date to the tune of N240 million.
Martins also sought payment of N3million as cost of prosecuting the suit and N5 million as general damages.
The counsel in his submission said the claimant was dismissed based on allegations of examination practice and not for services no longer required as claimed by the defendant.
He also said in the letter of termination of his client’s employment, the defendant stated that his one month salary, gratuity and pension contributions will be given him, but he was never paid, except for month salary in lieu of notice.