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Court Reinstates Unlawfully Dismissed Immigration Officer

The National Industrial Court in Abuja has set aside the decision by the immediate past Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Mohammed Babandede, to dismiss a senior official of the NIS, Daniel Makolo.

Justice Elvis Agbakoba, in a judgment on Tuesday, held among others, that the NIS, under Babandede, was lawless in the manner it suspended and dismissed Makolo without just cause.

The judgment was on the suit NICN/ABJ/337/2020 filed by Makolo.

Makolo, who was then a Chief Superintendent of Immigration was suspended on November 7, 2017, and his salary stopped until he was dismissed via a letter, dated April 25, 2018, for querying the legality of some policy decisions by the Babandede-led NIS.

The NIS, in the letter, said his dismissal took effect from the day he was suspended and that he was dismissed for insubordination and making false claims against a government official.

Defendants in the suit were the Minister of Interior, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Head of Service of the Federation and the Attorney General of the Federation.

Justice Agbakoba, who particularly frowned at the NIS decision to suspend Makolo despite a pending court order for parties to maintain the status quo, said the NIS acted unlawfully in suspending the claimant (Makolo) because he sued the organisation.

In voiding the claimant’s dismissal, Justice Agbakoba held that the defendants failed to comply with the relevant provisions of the Public Service Rules in the way they went about dismissing the plaintiff.

The judge held that issues relating to discipline and termination are governed by statute, which must always be complied with, but in Makolo’s case, his suspension and termination were done outside the provisions of the Public Service Rules, and therefore null and void.

The judge, among others, ordered the claimant’s reinstatement within 30 days from the date of the delivery of the judgment.

She said: “An order is made reinstating the claimant to the employment of the defendants without loss of rank, position or privileges as his contemporaries still in the defendant’s service are now Deputy Comptroller-Generals of the 4th defendants (NIS).”

The judge further ordered the defendants to forthwith pay the claimant all his outstanding salaries, emoluments, allowances and other entitlements due to him from November 7th, 2017 when his salary was stopped unlawfully, till when the claimant is fully reinstated to the employment of the 4th defendant without loss of rank, position and privileges as his contemporaries still in the service of the defendants.

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