JUDICIARY

Court asked to compel Lai Mohammed to pay ex-presidential award winner, Shuaib, retirement benefits.

From Kayode Lawal, Abuja.

The National Industrial Court, Abuja has been asked to compel the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to immediately pay retirement benefits of a former presidential award winner, Malam Yushau Shuaib as ordered by the Court in its November 22, 2017 judgment.

The Industrial court was also prayed to hold that refusal of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture under Mohammed to pay the retirement benefits since 2017 court verdict constituted contempt of the court punishable with imprisonment.

In a motion on notice filed by the applicant through his counsel, Mr. James Abah, he applied for an order of the court for the enforcement of the judgment delivered on November 22, 2017 against the Federal Civil Service Commission and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

Specifically, Shuaib, who is the publisher of the PRNigeria Limited, an online news media, prayed the court to order the two respondents to immediately compute salaries, allowances and other emoluments due to him from July 2013 when he was unlawfully sacked as the Chief Information Officer in the Federal Ministry of Information and November 22, 2017 when court ordered his reinstatement.

The applicant also requested the court to compel the two respondents to present before the court, the total sum as computed in respect of the judgment which ordered payment of his salaries from the period he was unjustly sacked to the period he was lawfully reinstated.

The motion on notice brought pursuant to Sections 254 and 287 of the 1999 Constitution as well as Section 10 of the National Industrial Court Act, 2006 was predicated on eight grounds among which was that the court has power to enforce its own judgment and commit to prison any person whose action constitutes contempt of court.

In a 19-paragraph affidavit, the applicant claimed that he was unlawfully sacked by the respondent in 2013 and got a court judgment on November 22, 2017 which voided and set aside his purported sack on the ground that it violated labour laws, having not followed due process of law.

He averred that Justice David Isele in the landmark judgment, ordered his reinstatement and payment of his salaries and entitlements within one month of the delivery of the court verdict.

The applicant claimed that the Federal Civil Service Commission being the first respondents in the court action, complied with the court order by reinstating him to his duty post on September 3, 2018.

Shuaib further claimed that after his brief resumption of work, he voluntarily retired from service on July 1, 2019 and notified appropriate authorities as required by law and labour practice.

However, since his retirement, the applicant claimed that he had written five different letters through his counsel dated December 4, 2017; December 14, 2017; January 9, 2018; December 19, 2019 and June 16, 2020 requesting the respondents to pay his salaries and entitlements as ordered by the court but which were not honoured.

The applicant averred that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, on November 25, 2019 approved his voluntary retirement adding that there was no basis for refusal to obey the court order since there is pending appeal or stay of execution of the judgment that ordered payment of his salaries and entitlements.

He therefore, prayed that the court to hold that the action of the respondent constitutes disobedience to the judgment of the court and that the court should enforce its power to degrade unfair labour practice adding that since the delivery of the judgment, the respondents have not adopted any measure to indicate that they will comply with the order of the court.

Meanwhile, no date has yet been fixed for hearing of the motion.

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