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Edo: Court Nullifies Sack Of College Staff, Grants N4m Each As Damages

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The Benin Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria on Monday nullified the sack of workers of the Edo State College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi and ordered a compensation of N4m each for all the affected workers and a general damage of N500,000 to the claimants.

The suit marked: NICN/BEN/25/2018 had Mr Imhenrion O. Martin, Mr Adorolo O. Michael, Mr Osayande Clifford, Mrs. Mercy Ozabor, and Mr Eikhor Nosakhare Abel as claimants while Edo State Government; state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources; the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Provost of the College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi, and the Governing Council of the College served as defendants.

Delivering her judgment, Justice Abiola A. Adewemimo ordered the defendants to compensate the claimants the N4m each within 30 days, adding that failure to compensate the defendants numbering about 90 attracts an annual interest of ten per cent.

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The Justice held that the state government was wrong to have claimed that the workers were temporary workers.

She further further held that their letters of employment indicated a period of probation which does not translate to temporary workers.

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“This court is to check labour practice and for the defendant to say their employment was temporary connotes unfair labour practices.”

Justice Adewemimo further held that even though an employer has the right to terminate employments, such actions must be done in accordance with established conditions of service, adding that Edo State Government did not do that in this case.

Justice Adewemimo said though the government did not show any evidence that the school was no longer in existence but that it was being restructured and therefore it would be difficult to reinstate the workers as demanded.

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She said the special damages in the form of salaries and promotions claimed by the workers could not be given because they did not prove them with the statutorily required documents to enjoy such benefit.

Reacting to the judgment, counsel to the workers, Matthew Edaghese, Esq., said the court in its wisdom held that the so-called termination of appointment was null and void, adding that it negates all known and relevant labour laws.

“It was a reckless executive indiscretion. This is a warning to the executive arm of government that they are governed by the laws of the land and they are not laws unto themselves,” he added.

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READ ALSO: I’ll Release Bayelsa Commissioner When Police Free My Father – kidnapper

The workers instituted the court action in August 2018 as a result of the termination of their appointment by the state government on the excuse that the school is being restructured.

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Anxiety As Owan Forest Communities Drag Edo State Government To ECOWAS Court

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Our Reporter

There is intense uneasiness and tongue-wagging around Edo State, as the state government has been dragged to the Community Court of Justice Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS), Abuja, by over 45 forested and agrarian communities of the Owan Forest Zone of the state, spreading across its four local government areas of Ovia North East, Uhunmwode, Owan West and Owan East.

The suit, reference no:ECW /CCJ/APP/22/22, was filed on 11 May, 2022, by its First Plaintiff, the Incorporated Trustees of the Okpamakhin Community Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), comprising farmers and other land users, drawn from the cluster communities (clans) of Irhue, Ozalla, Ora, Iuleha, Sobe and others.

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The Second Plaintiffs are eight men and women, who are farmers and other land users of the forest zone.

The suit was filed by the communities’ lawyer on the matter, President Aigbokhan, Esq., with his legal team.

Aigbokhan, a Benin-based Freedom of Information (FOI) protagonist and human rights lawyer, had recently won a major suit at the same ECOWAS Court, against Edo State Government, with thousands of US Dollars damages to the petitioners.

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By the ECOWAS Court’s suit, the ranging disputes on the forest zone, between the state government and the communities, also called Okpamakhin, seems to have come to a climax.

Over a year ago, the state governor, Mr. Obaseki, in conjunction with Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, inaugurated a N69 billion fund for establishment of oil palm plantations in the state, bringing forward some foreign and local private companies and local growers of oil palm as beneficiaries.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: ECOWAS Court Orders Nigeria To Amend Cybercrime Law Targeting Journalists, Social Media Users

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Governor Obaseki told newsmen that he had earmarked tens of thousands of the state’s forest reserve estate for the project, which continued to be under disputes.

The statutory Defendant in the suit is the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), who stands in for state governments on such matters as with the ECOWAS Court, pursuant to the FRN’s being a founding member state of ECOWAS, subject to the jurisdiction of the Honourable Court and loyalty of FRN to the various charters and protocols of the United Nations, African and ECOWAS, as well as Nigeria’s local laws and regulations.

In the suit, the first and second plaintiffs prayed the regional Court to amongst other things, protect their inalienable rights and get judgment against the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led government, who had ceded their communities’ vast ancestral forest reserves to private investors, to establish oil palm plantations and other agricultural activities, without their due information, consultation and consent.

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Some of the Plaintiffs’ claims, which they also want the Court to stop, are the forceful takeover of their ancestral land by the State Government, with undue harassment of the communities and the locals by heavily armed policemen, stating that the land within the two forest reserves of Owan BC 10 Forest Reserve and Iuleha/Ora/Ozalla, that form a larger part of the Owan Forest Zone, is the communities mainstay, that were acquired by the British Colonial Government, who was duly accountable to their local communities, owners of the land, whereas the present state government, who the land was simply handed to should not act to the contrary

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[JUST IN] Fuel Scarcity: Airline Operators Announce Flight Disruption, Cancellation

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The Airline Operators of Nigeria have announced plans to disrupt scheduled flight operations over the scarcity of aviation fuel.

The announcement was contained in a statement titled, ‘Public notice: Disruptions in flight operations’, on Monday.

In the statement signed by AON’s spokesperson, Prof. Obiora Spokesman, the operators lamented that aviation fuel scarcity would lead to flight rescheduling and cancellations.

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The notice read, “The Airline Operators of Nigeria wish to alert the public of impending disruptions to scheduled flight operations of members of the association. This development is being forced on members by the growing scarcity of aviation fuel popular as Jet-Al.

“The scarcity is impacting negatively on the seamless conduct of air transport operations and would lead to flight rescheduling, and, or, cancellations.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Airline Operators Suspend Planned Operations Shutdown

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“However, the association and its members are working very hard, and in alliance with product marketers, government and relevant stakeholders, to ensure availability and proper pricing of aviation fuel in the country.

“While pleading the understanding of the flying public in the face of this reality, we also promise to do all that is necessary, and within our powers, to restore normal flight schedules as soon as possible.”

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Edo: IOM, Laliga Hold Football Tournament To Sensitise Young Girls On Dangers Of Irregular Migration

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As a way of using football as a tool in bringing out the potential of the girl child and enlightening her on the dangers of irregular migration, the International Organization for Migration in collaboration with Laliga and Nigerian Women Football League (NWFL) organised a novelty football tournament between Nigerian Women Football League and female returnees.

 

The initiative was also aimed at raising awareness on migration challenges, addressing trafficking in persons through football and also promoting gender equality through football.

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Speaking as a member of panel of discussants at the event which was held at the indoor complex of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin on Saturday, wife of Edo State governor, Mrs. Besty Obaseki, while thanking initiators of the event, emphasized the need to educate and enlighten young girls on what they can do with their lives particularly when they toe the path of football.

 

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While speaking on how the Edo State government takes gender-based violence seriously, Mrs. Obaseki said machineries have been put in place across the 18 local government areas to pursue any reported case to a reasonable conclusion..

 

On his part, deputy governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, said the programme came at the right time because Edo is redefining how sport management should be in the country.

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READ ALSO: Violence Against Persons Act Would Curb Spate Of Violence In Edo If Implemented – NAPTIP

 

He said the state government takes a special recognition and focuse much on the young girls so as to promoting their potential, adding that to move against gender discrimination, players of Edo Queens Football Club earn same amount as Insurance Football Club, both owned by the state government.

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A cross section of participants at the event.

 

Also speaking as a panelist, Cyprine Cheptepkeny, IOM awareness Raising Officer, said the organization discovered that football can be used as a tool in enlightening and sensitising young girls on dangers of irregular migration hence the tournament.

 

She noted that over the years, IOM has observed that some of the returnees are good at playing football and can even play outside the country if such potential is fully put into use.

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While noting that the programme was also aimed at looking at how football can be used to address gender equality and gender based violence, Cheptepkeny added: “Nigeria is the biggest in Africa as regards football, so we are looking at football as a tool that can be used to sensitise and educate our young girls as regards issues of irregular migration and promoting safe and legal migration.

 

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“Not only that, we are also looking at how we can use football and this platform to discuss issues of gender equality and gender-based violence.

 

Also contributing to the discussion, Aisha Falode, President of Nigeria Women Football League, urged young girls to be hardworking and focused, adding that “there is dignity in hardwork; there is reward in hard labour; there is no shortcut to success.”

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READ ALSO: Human Trafficking Victim Convicted For Same Offence, Bags One Year Imprisonment

 

Laliga ambassador, Mr. Mutiu Adepoju, an ex-Super Eagles player urged young girls to be disciplined and work hard, adding that if they use discipline as their watchword and work hard, it will pay them in the long run.

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The novelty football match between female returnees and Nigeria Women Football League ended in a goalless draw.

 

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Mutiu Adepoju, ex-Super Eagles player and his female counterpart, Anair Lomba Alvarez, both Laliga ambassadors were at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin to witness the novelty match.

READ ALSO: NAPTIU.S. Pledges To Support Nigeria’s Fight Against Modern-day Slavery

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