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FEDERAL CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYMENT ARE NOT AT PLEASURE OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Dictum

I will hasten to say that it will be a contradiction in terms for a citizen of a Republic, such as Nigeria, to hold his office at the pleasure of the Crown. Which Crown We have no Crown here and public Servants in the established and pensionable cadre of the Federal Government Service are not regarded as employed at the pleasure of the Federal Government. This point was first made in Bashir Alade Shitta-Bey v. The Federal Public Service Commission (1981) 1 SC. 40 at pp. 57/58.

— A. Oputa, JSC. Olaniyan & Ors. v. University of Lagos (1985) – SC.53/1985

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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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EQUAL SALARY FOR EQUAL WORK CANNOT BE APPLIED WHERE PAYMENT SOURCES ARE DIFFERENT

Para. 30: “Indeed, the principle of equality of salary, which implies the elimination of salary discrimination based on whatever criteria that may relate to the person of the salaried worker, does not apply to the diversity of the sources of remuneration. Here, the salaries proposed by the Defendants are to be paid, not from the funds of the Commonwealth, but from the budget of the Defendants themselves. This was what was established as a principle, by Court of Justice of the European Union, in the 17th September 2002 Judgment on Lawrence and Regent Office Care Ltd. & Others (Report 1-07325-C.C.E.E.) when it stated that “the principle of equal work, equal salary, does not apply when the observed disparities in remuneration cannot be attributed to a single source’.”

— Essien v. The Gambia (2007) – ECW/CCJ/JUD/05/07

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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 case is one month salary in lieu of notice and no more. See International Drilling Co. (Nig.) Ltd. v. Ajijala (1976) 2 SC 115; Akunforile v. Mobil (1969) NCLR 253; WNDC v. Abimbola (1966) 1 All NLR 159; Nigerian Produce Marketing Board v. Adewunmi (supra).” Per SANUSI, J.C.A (P. 42, paras. A-D).

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SERVICE OF EMPLOYMENT GOVERNED BY CONTRACT

The second class of cases will cover the ordinary master and servant relationship governed by a written contract not subject to any statutory restrictions or limitations. Here the duty of the court will be to construe and apply the terms, conditions and provisions of the contract.

— A. Oputa, JSC. Olaniyan & Ors. v. University of Lagos (1985) – SC.53/1985

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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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ESTOPPED WHEN SALARY PAYMENT IS IN CONTINUANCE

Ondo State University v. Folayan (1994) 7 NWLR (Pt. 667) page 34 at page 61, the university had appointed Dr. Folayan for a probationary period of three years. Without extending the tenure of Dr. Folayan, they continued to use his services and pay him his salaries for three years. The Supreme Court held that the university was estopped from contending that the employment had come to an end at the end of the three years probationary period.

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