The Presiding Judge, Benin Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Adunola Adewemimo has nullified the purported dismissal of Mr. Asigene Peter from Ambrose Ali University, ordered reinstatement into his former position before dismissal with payment of all entitlements and emoluments from April 2020 till date.
The Court held that the Hon. Commissioner of Education lacks the capacity, powers, or vires to unilaterally alter or change the decision of the University Governing Council in a matter which led to the dismissal of Mr. Peter that in the face of the finality of the demotion, it is no longer open to the University to revisit the issue as there is no provision in the terms of employment to support such re-visitation under any guise.
From facts, the claimant- Asigene Peter had contended that the governing council having earlier demoted him, lacks the vires to dismiss him at the intervention of the Hon. Commissioner for Education for the same offense.
His Learned counsel argued that the disciplinary powers vests in the Governing Council and no other body that the Hon. Education Commissioner acted ultra vires when he intervened in the business of the governing council and directed them to dismiss his client, urged the court to so hold.
In defense, the University and 5 others argued that upon the intervention of any member or other persons, the council may review its decision in line with the laws and regulations of the university that the intervention of the Education Commissioner was proper, and posited that the subject matter is academic, as the facts clearly show that the commissioner did not dismiss the claimant, urged the Court to dismiss the suit in its entirety.
After listening to the submissions of both parties, delivering the judgment via virtual proceeding, the presiding judge, Justice Adunola Adewemimo held that no provision supporting the univeristy assertions, especially on the point that the council can review its decision to impose another punishment after the conclusion of a disciplinary process for the same offense.
Justice Adewemimo declared that the University governing council being the final organ as far as the employment and discipline of staff is concerned, cannot be overruled by the Education Commissioner that the governing council has considered the report of the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee against the claimant and settled on demotion as the final punishment.