A Court of Appeal (Lagos Division) has voided the dismissal of two lecturers of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta ( FUNAAB), Dr. Janet Bamgbose and Mr. Akeem Bamigbade, by the institution for alleged plagiarism.
The lecturers, both of the Chemistry Department, were sacked in May 2013 after an investigation and disciplinary committee recommended their dismissal which was upheld by the governing council of the university.
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Dissatisfied by the dismissal, the duo of Bamgbose and Bamigbade who were Associate professor and Assistant Lecturer respectively, had approached a lower court seeking justice on claims that their appointments were wrongfully terminated on the allegation of plagiarism.
They contended that they were not accorded fair hearing in the course of appearing before the Investigate Panel, and subsequently the Governing Council of the institution.
And in December 2016, the National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos declared the termination of their appointments as wrongful, unlawful, null and void.
Justice John Peters while delivering judgement in a suit number NICN/LA/371/013 brought before the industrial court by the defendants said the sack was contrary to the procedure of staff discipline outlined in Section 18 of the Federal University of Agriculture Act, Cap F22, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Peters also held that the final decision of the university council, following the consideration of the report of the disciplinary committee, was in breach of the principle of natural justice and fair hearing.
The industrial court also declared that the claimants were denied fair hearing by the university in the procedure that led to the termination of their appointments.
The judge ordered the university to pay the affected staff their salaries and allowances from May 2013.
FUNAAB, dissatisfied by the decision of the lower court, filed an appeal against the judgement.
However, the Court of Appeal in the Lagos Judicial Division has dismissed the Appeal suit marked CA/ L/ 127/2017 which was filed by FUNAAB.
Justice Adebunkola Adeoti Banjoko supported by Justice Obande Festus Ogbuinya and Justice Abubakar Sadiq Umar upheld the judgment of the lower court in the matter.
“From the above analysis, one can only safely conclude that the Appellant (FUNAAB) was the complainant and at the same time the judge determining the fate of the respondents’ in the allegation against them, and by so doing ,it cannot be said that the respondents’ would enjoy fair hearing in the process. This Appeal is hereby dismissed,” the court held.