NICN Judge Charge UI Management, Ex-Lecturer On Amicable Dispute Resolution

Justice John Peter of an Ibadan Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN, has expressed disappointment over the attitude of the parties in an eight million naira damage suit filed by an ex-lecturer at the University of Ibadan, UI, Professor Adenike Ogunshe, over alleged unlawful termination of her appointment.

Professor Ogunshe formerly of the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, had dragged the institution and its council to the court and demanded for 8 million naira as damage against the institution, saying due process was not followed.

At the last hearing, the parties expressed readiness to settle the case out of court.

However at the resumed hearing of the suit on Wednesday, Counsel to the University of Ibadan, Mr Adebayo Ajayi, informed the court that he had communicated to the institution management on December 14, 2020 directive of the court to settle the matter out of court.

Mr Ajayi, who was in company of retired Professor Oluwole Osunubi and Professor Ishola Fashidi, who were appointed by the institution to oversee the settlement, said he was unable to get the cooperation of the claimant’s counsel.

Justice John Peter later called the two professors to brief the court on what they noticed why trying to settle the matter.

Professors Osunubi and Fashidi informed the court that they discovered that the UI Department of Microbiology where the claimant used to work was not willing to take back the claimant when consulted.

The professors said the department wanted the claimant to apologise and repent before they could take her back.

The claimant’s counsel, Mr Femi Aborisade, told the court that there was an indication that the defendants were not willing to settle the matter amicably but to delay the matter unnecessarily.

Mr Aborisade said the institution being the employer did not need to consult Microbiology Department on their decision on the settlement, if they were serious with it.

He noted that the University of Ibadan ought to take a decision on the settlement and not the Microbiology department and urged the court to allow him move his application for adoption of final written address.

Justice John Peters said it was wrong for Microbiology department to insist on not taking the claimant back, adding that they are all employees and no law allows employees to dictate to the employer.

Justice Peters said there was the need for the parties to tolerate one another, adding that life was about shifting grounds.

He appealed to counsel to find way to resolve this matter amicably, saying “Section 20 of the National Industrial Court Act encouraged reconciliation and amicable settlement of matters.”

The judge then adjourned the matter till April 5 for adoption of final addresses.

Sunday Ogunyemi

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