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REPUDIATION BY ONE PARTY DOES NOT TERMINATE THE CONTRACT EXCEPT WHERE ACCEPTED

Dictum

In Heyman v. Darwins Ltd. (1949) AC. 356, 361 Viscount Simon L.C. said, “But repudiation by one party standing alone does not terminate the contract. It takes two to end it, by repudiation on the one side, and acceptance of the repudiation on the other.” The proposition is founded on the elementary principles of the formation and discharge of contractual obligations. Where there is a unilateral repudiation of a contract, this is treated as an officer by the guilty part to the innocent party of the termination of the contract. It is the acceptance of the officer by the innocent party which acts as a discharge of the contract. – See Hochster H v. De La Tour (1853) 2 F& B. 678; Johnstone v. Milling (1886) 16 QBD 460. It is then open to the innocent party to sue only for damages since by his acceptance of the repudiation the contract comes to an end. Hence where the innocent party refuses to accept the repudiation the contract remains in existence.

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WRONGFUL TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT – WHAT WOULD HAVE EARNED IN THE PERIOD

In NITEL Plc. v. Akwa (2006) 2 NWLR (Pt.964)391 held that: “The law is settled, that where an employee’s appointment is terminated wrongfully or otherwise all he is entitled to is what he would have earned over the period of notice required to lawfully terminate this employment. The amount he is entitled to in his...

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BECAUSE AN EMPLOYER IS A CREATION OF STATUTE DOES NOT MEAN EMPLOYEE IS A CREATION OF STATUTE

It is necessary to also state that the fact that an employer is a creation of statute or statutory body, does not without more, raise the legal status of its employees over and above the normal common law master and servant relationship. Also, the fact that a person is pensionable Federal public servant does not mean that his contract of employment is protected by statute. Whether a contract of employment is governed by statute or not depends on the interpretation of the contractual document or the applicable statute. The character of an appointment and the status of the employee is determined by the legal character of the contract. Contracts of employment are determinable by the agreement of the parties’ simplicita. See the cases of ALHASSAN V. ABU ZARIA [2011] 11NWLR (PT. 1259, 417 @ 464;NITEL V JATTAU [1996] 1 NWLR (PT. 425) 392 CA; INSTITUTE OF HEALTH AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL MANANGEMENT BOARD V MRS JUMMAI R.I ANYIP [2015] 6 ACELR PAGE 27.IMOLOAME V. WAEC (1992) 9 NWLR(PT. 265) 303.

— O. Oyebiola, J. Yakubu v. FRCN (2016) – NIC/LA/673/2013

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NATURE OF A STATUTORY EMPLOYMENT – CONDITIONS

Statutory employment has been explained to mean an employment in which the procedure for employment and discipline are governed by statute. See Nigeria Institute of International Affairs v Mrs. T.O. Ayanfalu (2007) 2 NWLR (Pt. 1018) p. 246. In addition to the above, it is the position of the law that it is not all persons employed by a statutory body or government agency that is in a statutory flavored employment. Uwa JCA, explained this in Federal Medical Centre, Ido-Ekiti & Ors. v Isaac Olukayode Olajide (2011) LPELR-4150 (CA), when he held thus: “In agreement with the submissions of learned counsel to the 1st set of appellants to the effect that for an employment to be held to have statutory flavour the following conditions must be met: 1) The employer must be a body set up by statute. 2) The establishing statute must make express provisions regulating the employment of the staff of the category of the employee concerned. In a plethora of legal authorities in recent times, the Apex Court has given a clear distinction between employment with statutory flavour and other employment. In employments covered by statute, procedures for employment and discipline (including dismissal) of an employee are clearly spelt out, whereas any other employment outside the statute is governed by terms under which parties agreed to be master and servant.”

— Adewemimo J. Afariogun v FUTA (2020) – NICN/AK/41/2017

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NOT ALL EMPLOYMENT BY STATUTORY BODY HAS STATUTORY FLAVOUR

The fact that an organisation or authority which is an employer is a statutory body does not mean that the conditions of service of its employees must be of a special character, ruling out the incidence of a mere master and servant relationship. Where the contract between the parties is clear and unequivocal, the court...

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APPOINTED TO A POST BY A TERM OF STATUTE

Obeta v. Okpe (1996) 9 NWLR (Pt. 473) page 401 at pages 433 – 434, it was held thus:- “The proposition of law that a person appointed to a post for a term by statute has right to serve out his statutory term of his appointment is correct. He cannot be removed from the office by any person during the period except for a misconduct or when the, master body or institution he is appointed to serve dies or ceases to exist.”

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NATURE OF EMPLOYMENT BY STATUTE – WRONGFUL DISMISSAL – DAMAGES

In this respect the observation of the Supreme Court per Belgore JSC (as he then was) in Union Bank of Nigeria Ltd v Ogboh (1995) 2 NWLR (Pt.380) 467 at 664 is apt. It merits my respective quotation in extenso. Said the learned justice of the Supreme Court:- “Except in employment governed by statute wherein...

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