From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The National Industrial Court (NIC) has fixed February 16 for the final adoption of processes in a suit filed by Mr Funmilayo Omosule against the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority Administration (OGFZAA) over his alleged unlawful suspension.
Justice Olufunke Anuwe, in a short ruling, also directed parties to regularise their processes before the next adjourned date.
Omosule and OGFZAA are engaged in a fierce legal battle to resolve the legality or otherwise of his suspension, following his petition against some management staff of the agency on alleged corruption.
Upon resumed hearing, Omosule’s counsel, Dr Tunji Abayomi, informed that the defendant had just served him with their written address shortly before the commencement of the proceeding.
Abayomi said new issues were raised in the process which would need a response, even though he had already filed their written address following the failure of the defendant to do so on time.
OGFZAA’s counsel, Michael Ajara, who apologised for the late filing of their application, said a motion for an extension of time had been filed.
He said the motion sought an order to deem their application as being properly filed.
Consequently, Justice Anuwe granted the motion and adjourned the matter until Feb 16 for the adoption of final written addresses.
The judge, who held that the adjournment would also allow Abayomi to respond to the defendant’s final written address by filing a fresh one, directed parties to regularise their processes before the next date.
OGFZAA had, via a letter dated April 18, 2011, suspended Omosule as the manager of its Abuja office on the grounds that he had refused to comply with its letter dated December 3, 2010, which had directed him to present the originals of his credentials for verification.
Omosule, however, refuted the claim of the authority, stating that he made available to the defendant CTCs of his educational certificates/credentials, including GCE ‘O Level certificates and degree certificates as instructed.
Omosule had claimed that the originals of his credentials were misplaced in untraceable circumstances as in 2010 when the report to submit originals was made.
The claimant also averred that the CTCs of his certificates submitted to the defendant were certified by the issuing institutions, which included the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the University of Ado-Ekiti, then Ondo State University, Ado Ekiti, respectively.
The claimant is seeking the court‘s declaration that he was still a staff of the organisation and entitled to all the rights, privileges and benefits due to him by reason of his employment.
He is praying the court for an order directing the defendant to reinstate him to the position of a director, on grade level 17, a position he claimed his contemporaries were holding currently.
Omosule is equally seeking the order of the court to direct the defendant to pay all his outstanding salaries, benefits and entitlement since 2011 and to also order the defendant to pay him the sum of N50 million as exemplary and general damages.