The court also directed that an annual interest rate of 10 per cent be charged on the money in the event of default and granted N50, 000 cost against the polytechnic.
Delivering the judgment on Thursday in Makurdi, Justice Peter Lifu ruled that “the `sudden and impromptu decision’’ of the institution’s management committee to stop the payment of the plaintiff’s salaries was without recourse to fair hearing.
He said that the plaintiff had proved that he was a bonafide employee of the defendant, stressing that the evidence adduced in that regard were not controverted.
Lifu said that the defendant had also agreed that it granted the plaintiff three years study leave to pursue his B.Sc and M.Sc degrees in the United Kingdom in 2011 but was released for the programme in January 2012.
He said that with the approval of the study leave and the eventual commencement of the programme by the plaintiff, his salaries ought to have continued without termination.
The Judge expressed regret that the plaintiff’s salary was stopped by management of the Polytechnic on the grounds that it
acted in error to grant three years study leave at a stretch.
He said that failure of the defendant to avail the plaintiff the benefit of fair hearing in a matter that directly affected him amounted to violation of his fundamental rights.
He controverted the defendant’s claims that the plaintiff’s claims were not covered by evidence.
He said that the letter of approval for the study leave and the letter directing stoppage of his salaries were enough proof.
Lifu quoted the letter terminating the study leave to buttress his argument.
“The earlier approval granted you to pursue B.Sc, M.Sc was done in error and contrary to the provisions of the polytechnic policy,” he read.
Eze had dragged the polytechnic to the Industrial Court for stoppage of his salaries following the decision of the management committee that reviewed the study leave.
The plaintiff applied for six reliefs including an order to restore the payment of his salaries; an order directing the defendant from disrupting his study leave; an order setting aside all processes proceedings and recommendations of the committee by the polytechnic.
The defendant argued that the decision of the management committee was an administrative issue that needed no fair hearing.
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