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Court Orders Oyedepo’s University to Pay Ex-employee N10.3m as Damages, Terminal Benefit

The National Industrial Court in Ota, Ogun State, ordered Covenant University to pay Dr Adekunle Oyeyemi N10.3 million in general damages, terminal benefit, and salary on Thursday.

In his decision, the judge, Justice Ayodele Obaseki-Osaghae, stated that the termination of the claimant’s employment was unlawful and in violation of the terms of his employment contract.

As general damages, the court ordered the payment of N8.2 million, which is equal to his 24-month wage.

The sum of N1.7 million was ordered as terminal benefits and N344,635 being salary in lieu of notice, to be paid within 30 days.

The judge ruled that the university’s unilateral evaluation of the claimant’s promotion to Senior Lecturer was unconstitutional.

According to the court, the conduct was uninvited and intended to make his employment unbearable and compel him to leave.

According to Obaseki-Osaghae, there was no misconduct shown before the court that required the claimant’s employment to be terminated with immediate effect.

“The words with ‘immediate effect’ have the effect of stigmatization.

“The termination of the claimant’s employment is wrongful and not in accordance with international best practices.” the judge ruled.

From facts, the claimant submitted that he was employed as a full-time Director of the University’s Counseling Centre from Oct.1, 2007, to Nov.15, 2016, when his appointment was terminated without any misconduct.

In addition, he stated that he sent an internal memo to the Secretary of the University Board to state his position against the board’s resolution on the issue of tenure of Principal Officers and Directors.

He further said that he got a reply letter informing him that his tenure as the Director of the Centre had come to an end and he was being redeployed to the Department of Psychology as a Senior Lecturer, which was against his terms of employment.

The claimant’s counsel, Funmi Falana, submitted that the termination of her client’s employment was done contrary to the institution’s law.

She, therefore, sought an order of reinstatement amongst other reliefs.

The defendant, on its part, submitted that the claimant was invited to a roundtable discussion when his service was no longer required in its counselling centre.

The university also stated that when the claimant was informed of its decision to transfer him as a Senior Lecturer on contract, he consented to the arrangement.

The university stated that it decided to retain the claimant as a Senior Lecturer on contract as a kind gesture as he was over 60 years as at the time and was due for retirement.

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