Industrial Court Faults Employment Termination of Dr. Bonat Abungwon from Kaduna State University, Awards N5.7m Damages


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The Presiding Judge, Kaduna Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Sinmisola Adeniyi has faulted the employment termination of Dr. Bonat Abungwon from Kaduna State University; ordered the Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, and the University Governing Council to pay Dr. Bonat the sum of N5,721,158.70 (Five Million, Seven Hundred and Twenty-One Thousand, One Hundred and Fifty-Eight Naira, Seventy Kobo) only as damages for breach of contract within 30 days.

The Court held that Kaduna State University breached the contract of appointment by terminating Dr. Bonat Abungwon’s appointment before the end of the duration of the contract as agreed by both parties.

From facts, the claimant- Dr. Bonat Abungwon had submitted that his contract of employment as a Senior Lecturer of the Kaduna State University was terminated before the date of expiration of the contract; that his employment termination was in breach of the mandatory statutory provisions of the Staff Conditions of Service. 

He further contended that the purported letter of termination of his appointment is ultra vires the power of the Registrar of the University, and urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.

In defense, the defendant- Kaduna State University, Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, and its Governing Council averred that the termination of Dr. Bonat Abungwon’s appointment was for services no longer required and therefore, the termination was not a breach of contract and that compliance with the disciplinary procedure as stipulated in the Staff Conditions of Service does not apply to the case.

They further maintained that the Registrar merely conveyed the instruction of the Vice-Chancellor Defendant being the scribe of the 1st Defendant.

In reply, Dr. Bonat Abungwon’s counsel, Gloria M. Ballason Esq argued that the pith and substance of the instant case are that his client’s appointment was arbitrarily determined outside the purview of law and the mutual contract of the parties.

The Court in its well-considered judgment presided by Justice Adeniyi held that Dr. Bonat Abungwon cannot admit that the Registrar has the power to issue his letters of appointment and renewal of his contract as Registrar of the University and yet deny or reject his power to issue the letter of termination of his appointment that the attempt by the learned counsel to make the Court believe that the University’s registrar acted ultra vires his power in issuing the letter terminating the Dr. Bonat Abungwon’s appointment is not convincing at all.

Justice Adeniyi held that the appointment of Dr. Bonat Abungwon was for a fixed term of two years from 14th November 2017 to 13th November 2019, and it’s crystal clear that the University breached the terms of the contract of employment by terminating the Claimant’s appointment before the expiration of the two- year fixed term as agreed by parties.

Read full judgment here


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