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Court Upturns Demotion Of Associate Professor Of FUO, Awards N5m Damages

The National Industrial Court (NIC) sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State has upturned the decision by the authorities of the Federal University, Otuoke, to demote an associate Professor in Modern Sciences, Dr. Timothy Falade-Obalade Adedapo to a Senior Lecturer of the Institution, declaring that the action of the institution is illegal, null and void.

The Court also awarded the sum of N5 million in damages to Dr. Timothy Adedapo over the decision of the university at wrongly questioning his qualification and ridiculing him in public and in the Nigerian tabloid.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Bashar Alkali, in his ruling on the suit numbered NIC/YEN/2019 and filed by Dr. Timothy Falade-Obalade Adedapo (claimant) against Federal University, Otuoke and the former Vice Chancellor, Prof. Seth Accra Jaja (defendants), declared that the demotion of Dr. Timothy Falade-Obalade Adedapo from the position of Associate Professor to Senior lecturer of the Institution.

“The demotion from the position of Associate Professor to Senior Lecturer is illegal, null and void.”

On the allege defamation of character and qualifications, Justice Alkali, ruled the defamatory aspect of the claim by the FUO against the claimant is reckless and against normal practice,” they ought to have investigated that he does not have the scholarship to qualify him as Associate professor. I declare that the sum of N5million be paid in damages to the claimant.”

Dr. Timothy Falade-Obalade Adedapo had in his suit against the Federal University, Otuoke argued that there seven lecturers affected by the decision of institution attributed to its Governing Council , “ But in the institution press release dated 18th December,2018,had announced that he was downgraded from the rank of

Associate Professor to Senior Lecturer. That the said publication portrayed him as a criminal who forged certificate with which he obtained employment with the Institution (first defendant).That the publication potray him as a person who is not a fit and proper person to be employed as an associate professor.”

“That the publication portrayed him as a criminal who used criminal pretense to earn salaries and other prerequisite of office that he is not entitled to. That the publication portray him as a person who is unfir for the position of Associate Professor which he is occupying and is so bad in his chosen field that he has to be downgraded from Associate Professor to the position of Senior Professor.”

Adedapo, however, prayed the court to declare that the purported conversion of the claimant’s pensionable appointment to a contract appointment is ultra vires the defendants having regard to the Federal University, Otuoke (establishment) Act,2015, the 1999 constitution(as amended) and all known practices, “A declaration that the purported re-classification of appointment of the claimant by the defendants from the position of an Associate Professor to Senior Lecturer on the ground that the claimant did not have the requisite scholarship at the point of entry without hearing the claimant is ultra vire, unconstitutional, null and void.”

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