LawPavilion Online


Back

NASARAWA STATE SPECIALIST HOSPITAL MANAGEMENT BOARD & ORS v. PHARM. (DR) SALISU MOHAMMED

(2018) LPELR-44551(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Friday, the 1st day of June, 2018

CA/MKD/155/2015


Before Their Lordships

JUMMAI HANNATU SANKEY Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

ONYEKACHI AJA OTISI Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

JOSEPH EYO EKANEM Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

1. NASARAWA STATE SPECIALIST HOSPITAL MANAGEMENT BOARD (NSSH)
2. CHIEF MEDICAL DIRECTOR (NSSH)
3. JIBRIN A. UMAR - Appellant(s)

AND

PHARM. (DR) SALISU MOHAMMED - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Labour Law.
FACTS:
This appeal is against the ruling of the High Court of Nasarawa State sitting in Lafia delivered on 4/12/2015 in suit No. NSD/LF77/2013. 

The facts of the case are that the respondent was a civil servant on Grade level 15 with the 1st appellant as the head of its Pharmacy Department. The appellants issued the respondent a query on 31/5/2012. He was also issued with a letter dated 4/6/2012 suspending him from work. The respondent challenged his suspension and the legality of the Disciplinary Committee set up to try him through an originating summons at the Nasarawa State High Court. The said Court set aside the suspension. He was thereafter recalled from suspension.

Subsequently he was served with a letter dated 16/6/2013 directing him to answer the query of 31/5/2012 and he replied to the query. He was served with a letter dated 26/6/2013 inviting him to appear before the Disciplinary Committee (of the 1st appellant). The respondent consequently filed a suit challenging the letters of 16/6/2013 and 26/6/2013 as well as the legality of the Disciplinary Committee. Again, he was issued with another query dated 12/11/2013 which his counsel brought to the High Court's attention. The 1st and 2nd appellants thereafter served the respondent a letter to appear before a disciplinary committee. The respondent did not appear before the said committee. His appointment was thereafter terminated. 

The respondent with the leave of the High Court amended his writ of summons and statement of claim to claim some declaratory reliefs against the appellants. The appellants in the response to the claims filed a joint statement of defence and a notice of preliminary objection praying the High Court to strike out respondent's suit on the ground of  lacking jurisdiction to entertain plaintiff's suit, the subject matter having related to or connected with employer/employee relationship and same having arose from the work place of the plaintiff.  The High Court in its ruling overruled the objection of the appellants. 

Dissatisfied with the decision, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on the issues raised by the Appellant and couched as follows:

1. In consideration of the reliefs as contained in paragraph 29 of amended Statement of Claim, whether the Plaintiff/Respondent's reliefs fall under Section 254C (1) (a - m) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) (Third Alteration) Act 2010 and if the answer is in the affirmative whether the trial judge was right to have overruled the appellant's preliminary objection.

2. Whether the case of Osoh v Unity Bank Plc (2013) 9 NWLR (pt. 1358) heavily relied upon by the trial judge is applicable to the instance case.

3. Whether by virtue of Section 254 - C (1) (a-m) and Section 254 D of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) Third Alteration) Act 2010, the Natonal Industial Court can grant declaratory reliefs as it relates to issue of termination of appointments.

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court found merit in the appeal and accordingly allowed same.  The decision of the High Court was set aside and in its place the preliminary objection of the appellants was upheld. The suit of the respondent numbered Suit No NSD/LF77/2013 before the High Court was thereby struck out for lack of jurisdiction.


Read Full Judgment