His Lordship, Hon. Justice Olufunke Anuwe of the Abuja Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court has nullified the dismissal of Ambassador Mohammed Dauda from service of National Intelligence Agency, ordered reinstatement as a director with payment of salaries and entitlements from March 2018 till date.
The Court held that the procedure adopted by the Defendants in the process leading to the dismissal of Ambassador Dauda falls short of the provisions of the NIA Instrument of the National Securities Agency Act, awarded the sum N1,000,000.00 against the agecny as cost of action.
From facts, the claimant- had submitted that he took over as acting Director-General of the Intelligence Agency November 2017 and was removed without any reason that he remained in his position as Director that his dismissal from service did not follow the due process and was wrongful that the Special Management Staff Disciplinary Committee [SMSDC] set up to investigate the charges against him was constituted in violation of the National Security Agency Act that he was not given the opportunity to defend himself before any competent disciplinary committee.
In defence, the agency maintained that Ambassador Dauda was at no time appointed as Acting DG that he was only made to coordinate the activities of the agency being the most senior Director at that time, the reason why no official appointment letter was issued to him.
Further submitted that It was impossible to compose the Management Staff Disciplinary Committee MSDC in the manner provided in the Regulation because there was no Deputy DG appointed as at 15th January 2018 that the Claimant was the most senior officer then that the interest of the service did not make it possible for the Claimant or any senior management staff to appear before their subordinates in disciplinary proceedings that the agency resorted to the doctrine of necessity by constituting the Disciplinary Committee of retired Directors, all senior to the Claimant in rank, to serve on the SMSDC including a representative of the Legal Department as Judge Advocate.
That the committee found that the Claimant has violated Agency Rules and Regulations and consequently recommended the dismissal from service, upheld by the Senior Management Committee [SMC] and approved by the President.
Delivering the judgment, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Olufunke Anuwe held that the appropriate committee to investigate disciplinary cases against management staff of the Agency under the Regulation is the Management Staff Disciplinary Committee, that the Special Management Staff Disciplinary Committee SMSDC was not a competent committee under the Agency Regulation.
“The fact that the appropriate committee under the Agency Regulation was not set up in the first place defeats the Defendants’ reliance on necessity in the composition of the Special Management Staff Disciplinary Committee SMSDC.
“The foregoing shows that the reliance placed by the Defendants on Agency Regulation to justify the dismissal of the Claimant is self-defeating.
“From the evidence before me, the committee that investigated the case against the Claimant and recommended his dismissal from service is not the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee. The composition of that committee is also not as prescribed in the Instrument.
Lastly, the Court held that there is no provision for retired Directors of the agency to be members of the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee that the reliance on the doctrine of necessity cannot avail the Defendants.