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DR. AJEWUMI BILI RAJI v. UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN & ORS

(2018) LPELR-44692(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 1st day of June, 2018

SC.155/2007


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMIRU SANUSI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

DR. AJEWUMI BILI RAJI - Appellant(s)

AND

1. UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN
2. THE GOVERNING COUNCIL, UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN
3. STAFF AND APPEALS COMMITTEE, UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN
4. PROFESSOR SHUAIB OBA ABDULKAREEM (VICE CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN)
5. MR. MURTALA TUNDE BALOGUN (REGISTRAR AND SECRETARY GOVERNING COUNCIL, UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN) - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

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Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Civil Procedure.
FACTS:
The appeal is against the decision of the Court of Appeal, sitting at Ilorin, delivered on 31st May, 2006.

The fact of the case is that the appellant joined the service of the 1st respondent University on 7th January, 1991 and by the year 2000 he had become a Senior Lecturer in English in the department of Modern European Languages, Faculty of Arts of the University. In February, 2000, the appellant was awarded the Alexander Von Humboldt Research Fellowship tenable in the Federal Republic of Germany. The appellant thereupon applied for leave to utilize the external award from the Administration of the University. His application in this regard was expressly supported by his Head of Department and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts. 

When, by 13th March, 2000, it dawned on the appellant that the Appointments and Promotions Committee of the University, which is the body invested with such power, would not be convened before March 29th, 2000, the scheduled date for his departure for the award, the appellant forwarded an application directly to the Vice-Chancellor, the 4th respondent, for executive approval of his application for leave to utilize the scholarship award. 

The appellant left for the Federal Republic of Germany on the 29th March, 2000 to utilize the award at which time the 4th respondent had not made any response to the application of the appellant, despite the urgency.

Immediately after the appellant had left the Country, the 4th respondent ordered the Bursary Department to stop the salary of the appellant. The appellant was eventually accused of absconding from the University. At the end of some disciplinary proceedings on this allegation, the appellant was directed by the 2nd respondent to return to the University on December 21, 2000. The letter conveying this directive was received by the appellant in Germany on December 19, 2000, id est, two days before the expiry of the ultimatum.

The employment of the appellant with the University was terminated on the premise of his failure to return to the University on December 21, 2000 without the benefit of any hearing as to why he could not comply with the directive. 

It was sequel to this that the appellant filed an action at the trial Court. The learned trial judge dismissed the case of the appellant. The appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal which dismissed his appeal. Further aggrieved, he appealed to the Supreme Court. 

The respondents filed a Notice of preliminary objection by which they challenged the competence of the appellant's appeal on the ground that the Notice of Appeal was not signed by a legal practitioner known to law i.e. the Legal Practitioners Act. 

ISSUES:
The apex Court considered the competence of a Notice of Appeal not signed by any Person or legal practitioner known to law.
DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the Preliminary Objection succeeded. Consequently, the appeal was struck out for being incompetent.


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