Court rules AAU governing council supercedes commissioner

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The National Industrial Court of Nigeria, sitting in Benin City, Edo State, has declared that the state Commissioner for Education, Jimoh Ejegbai, lacks powers to change the decision of Governing Council of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma.

In the judgment on the suit marked: NICN/BEN/26/2020 in Asigene Peter against AAU, Commissioner for Education as defendants, Justice A. A. Adewemimo, voided Asigene’s dismissal from the service of the university due to the commissioner’s interference in the university’s disciplinary process.

Specifically, the court held that the Commissioner for Education could not over-rule the Governing Council, being the final organ on the discipline of staff of the university.

It, therefore, ordered that Asigene should be reinstated to his former position before his dismissal with all his due entitlements and emoluments paid from the date of his dismissal until the institution reinstates him.

As commissioner for Education, Ejegbai overturned several decisions of the Governing Council on Asigene, a non-academic staff and Chairman, Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU) in the university.

But dissatisfied with his dismissal, Asigene approached the court and asked the court to, among other things, declare that Ejegbai lacked the capacity, powers or vires to change the decision of the university’s Governing Council.

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In his reaction, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the university, Dr. Monday Igbafen, commended the judgment, saying the March 25, 2021 judgment vindicated its recent outcry against abuse of AAU’s laws and due process.

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