The National Industrial Court sitting in Lokoja has reinstated two staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Idris Busari and Danjuma Sanni, who were sacked over allegation of double registration against Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
After reviewing the pleadings of the parties and the evidence adduced by parties in support of their case, the court in its judgment held that the dismissal of the 2nd and 3rd claimants, Idris Busari and Danjuma Sanni by INEC “is illegal and unlawful having been done in breach of the procedure laid down for the dismissal of an INEC Staff”.
The court further held that compulsory retirement of the 1st claimant, Ajani Salau, another INEC staff involved in the matter, by INEC was is illegal and unlawful and is hereby set aside.
Accordingly, the court ordered that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd claimants “are hereby reinstated to their respective positions as Staffers of INEC.
“INEC is ordered to pay to the Claimants all their entitlements due to them by virtue of their respective positions including all salaries and allowances from December 2017 till the date of compliance with the judgment of the Court. Cost of N100,000 each is awarded in favour of each Claimant and against INEC. INEC is given 30 days from 16th December 2019 to comply with the judgment of the Court”, the court further ordered.
INEC had on December 14, 2017 summarily dismissed two of the staff members for alleged acts of gross misconduct and further ordered the immediate and compulsory retirement of a third staff, an electoral officer, for act of gross misconduct in relation to their alleged participation in the alleged double registration of Governor Bello of Kogi State.
Dissatisfied with the decision of INEC, the affected staff by way of complaint approached the National Industrial Court, Lokoja a declaration that INEC’s (the Defendant’s) compulsory retirement of the 1st claimant was illegal and unlawful.
They prayed the court for a declaration that the dismissal of the 2nd and 3rd claimants was illegal and unlawful having been done in breach of laid down procedure.
Accordingly, they sought the court for an order setting aside their compulsory retirement and dismissal, as well as an order reinstating them as Staffers of INEC and the payment of all their entitlements due by virtue of their position including all salaries and allowances from December 2017 to the date of the judgment.
In a swift reaction, Governor Bello described the court verdict reinstating the INEC staff illegally sacked and dismissed over the false double registration allegation against him as victory of truth over falsehood.
The Director General of Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, the governor said, “The judgement of the court that INEC has no evidence to support the allegation of double registration against the affected staff simply means that truth has won over falsehood”.