The National Industrial Court located in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, has ordered the reinstatement of seven disused lecturers at Federal University, Otuoke in Ogbia Local Government Area of the State.
Justice Bashiru Alkali, who gave the order on Tuesday, also awarded the sum of N20 million as compensation towards the institution, for the benefit of the lecturers.
He decided that the claimants should be reinstated to their full status while the institutions' rights and rights should be paid out.
The presiding judge ordered the university to pay each claimant N5 million for defamation and N200,000 for the court costs.
All litigation was from the diaspora who returned to serve at the university.
They include Leonard Shilgba – Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Professor Steve Nwabuzor – Department of Civil, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and Dr Sepribo Lawson-Jack – Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering.
Others are Dr. Obalade Falade – Department of Banking and Finance, Dr Marcellina Offoha – Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Dr Evans Eze – Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Dr Felina Nwadike – Institute of English and Communication Studies.
The university's board of directors had made key decisions that involved hiring and discipline that led to the reclassification of some academic appointments.
It downgraded seven hires for teacher staff to lower grades due to lack of necessary scholarships, including Professor Nwabuzor.
Dissatisfied with the development, Professor Nwabuzor and the other head of the institution, Professor Seth Jaja, and the senior management of the Industrial Court of Nigeria left.
In the suit marked NICN / YEN01 / 2019, Nwabuzor sought a court order declaring that the regulation of his appointment as professor of a pensionable employment by the institution's employment letter dated September 1, 2015, and the confirmation of his appointment by letter dated February 21, 2017, cannot is subject to exceptions in accordance with Federal University, Otuoke (Establishment) Act 2015.
He also sought a "statement that the alleged conversion of the plaintiff's pensionable appointment to a contract appointment is ultra vires the defendants with respect to the Federal University, Otuoke (Establishment) Act, 2015, 1999 Constitution (as amended) and all known labor practice . "
The donor called for the right to declare that the alleged reclassification of his appointment from professor to lecturer 1 on the grounds that he did not have the necessary scholarship at the point of entry without hearing him was unconstitutional, invalid and ineffective.
He asked the court to set aside the defendants' letter of July 5, 2018 and convert his statutory appointment to a clean employment contract.