The National Industrial Court of Nigeria-Akure Division has nullified the compulsory retirement of a former Director of the In Vitro Fertilisation unit of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Prof. Augustine Orhue, from the institution.
It also awarded the sum of two million naira as damages in favour of Orhue.
The claimant, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, was on February 6, 2015, directed by the university to proceed on a compulsory retirement for allegedly authoring an unsigned petition against a former Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Osayuki Oshodin.
He was said to have sent the petition to the Ministry of Education, calling for Oshodin’s removal on health grounds.
Dissatisfied with the recommendation of the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee, Orhue had, through his counsel, Mr. Edward Aibangbe, approached the industrial court on April 10, 2015, for an order to nullify his retirement and pay his entitlements.
He had urged the court to reinstate him to his erstwhile position as a staff or Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the university’s college of medicine.
He also prayed the court to order the institution to pay him the sum of N10 million as general damages.
In his judgement, Justice Oyebiola Oyewumi, described Orhue’s compulsory retirement as null and void and, therefore, set aside his letter of compulsory retirement.
Oyewumi stated that the claimant was entitled to his outstanding salaries, promotions, bonuses, benefits, emoluments, allowances and entitlements pertaining to his employment in the university from January 13, 2015 to May, 2017.
The judge said that the date, which represented his purported compulsory retirement to his final date of lawful retirement, was to be calculated and same paid to the claimant forthwith.
Oyewumi added, “I award as damages the sum of N2m in favour of the claimant. Payment of all sums awarded are to be paid to the claimant by the defendant within 30 days of this judgement, failing which is to attract an interest of 10 per cent.”
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