Justice Maureen Esowe of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Lagos Division, on Thursday, has ordered the Lagos State University and its Governing Council to reappoint Dr Ebarefimia Udegbe as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Marketing, Faculty of Management Science.
The judge further ordered the LASU authorities to effectuate a continuous remuneration to Udegbe with immediate effect from the period where she was demoted to the position of Lecturer One to the date of her dismissal.
This order also covered all her salaries and entitlements from September 2017 when she was unlawfully discharged of her position following allegations that were later proven false.
Justice Esowe’s orders were in alignment with the settlement by the parties in Suit No NICN/LA/435/2021 and Suit No. NICN/LA/685/2016.
The orders also by implication set aside the judgment in the suit marked NICN/LA/597/2017The Plaintiff filed a case marked NICN/LA/685/2016 against LASU and it’s Governing Council, Ojo, as first and second respondents, respectively to counter her unlawful dismissal and termination of her employment following an unproven allegation.In the originating motion, dated November 17, 2021, her counsel, Mr Jeff Kadiri, prayed the court to declare null and void the illegal dismissal of the senior lecturer over an unproven allegation.The institution had accused her of alteration of marks and manipulating results.
However, her appointment as a senior lecturer was vindictively withdrawn by the respondents, which prompted her to file a suit against the respondents, challenging the wrongful withdrawal of her hard-earned appointment before Justice Abimbola Obaseki in suit No.NICN/LA/686/16.
Whilst the case before Justice Obaseki was still pending, on April 5, 2017, she was issued a query, titled, ‘Allegation of Alteration of Marks,’ accusing her of manipulating the result.
The allegation of manipulation of the student’s result levelled against her was never proved as the purported student whose result was said to have been manipulated did not appear before the respondents’ disciplinary committee and nobody came up to testify against the claimant, hence, the panel recommended that she should be placed on suspension for three months.
However, rather than follow the recommendations of the Joint Council/Senate (Academic) Disciplinary Committee, the respondents whimsically decided to dismiss her against the disciplinary committee’s recommendations.
The respondents suppressed material facts before Justice N.C.S Ogbuanya, which led to the judgment dated July 29, 2021, affirming her dismissal.The respondents misled the Judge to believe that she had altered the results of students based on false evidence presented by the respondents.Justice Ogbuanya believed that the said altered results existed, and made a consequential order dated July 29, 2021, and directed the respondents to recall the results/certificates of the affected students for re-computation and reissue to reflect the correct Cumulative Grade Point Average and class of degree, compliance to be published in a national newspaper within two months of the judgment and evidence of compliance to be filed in the case file.
However, the respondents disobeyed the order made by Justice Ogbuanya directing them to recall the results/certificates of the affected students for re-computation and reissue to reflect the correct Cumulative Grade Point Average and class of degree, compliance to be published in a national newspaper within two months of the judgment and evidence of compliance to be filed in the case file.
The respondents’ failure to obey the court order led the claimant to file a new suit marked NICN/LA/435/2021 before Justice Esowe where she prayed to the court for an order setting aside the judgment of Justice Ogbuanya, dated July 29, 2021, in suit No NICN/LA/596/2017 same having been obtained by fraud, misrepresentation and deceit.
During the proceeding, the respondents called for an amicable settlement of the matter, culminating in the agreement, which terms of settlement dated November 8, 2023, were adopted by Justice Esowe.The parties, therefore, agreed thus, “the reinstatement of the claimant to the post of Senior Lecturer in the Department of Marketing, Faculty of Management Sciences of the 1st defendant (LASU).“That the claimant shall be paid her salary differential with effect from the period of her demotion to the position of Lecturer One to the effective date of her dismissal, and the process of the claimant’s promotion from Senior Lecturer to Associate Professor in the university shall be concluded and same be made effective from the relevant assessment year with payment of three months’ arrears in line with the defendants’ extant rules on outstanding accrued salaries.
The claimant shall be promoted to the position of Associate Professor.“That the claimant shall be paid the sum of N5m as out-of-pocket settlement for expenses incurred and the terms of settlement by parties will not constitute or be construed as an admission of any wrongdoing or liability whatsoever by the parties in the subject suit.“The court has carefully looked into the terms, which were duly signed by the parties. The court therefore adopted the same as the judgment of the court,” Esowe stated.