The National Industrial Court sitting in Owerri, Imo State has reinstated 460 out of over 4,000 non-indigene workers disengaged by the Abia State Government in August 2011.
The government had in a circular of August 25, 2011 titled: “Back-loading on transfer of non-indigenes in the Abia State civil service to their states of origin”, disengaged over 4,000 workers.
However, in suit No. NICN/OW/45/2018, 460 of the workers represented by Njoku Fidelia Ada, Unogu Jude Ugochukwu, Ekwegh Catherine Obehie and Okolie Georgiana took the Abia State Government to the Industrial Court.
In support of the originating summons, in an affidavit of 28 paragraphs deposed to by Unogu Jude Ugochukwu (the second claimant) and six accompanying exhibits lettered A to F, they sought nine reliefs among which were for them to be reinstated and paid in full all their salaries and emoluments, having been wrongfully disengaged.
After listening to the submissions of the claimants’ counsel, C. C. Okere, M. O. Uzoma and P. U. Ogbunka for the defendants, the presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Suleiman Galadima, held that by disengaging the workers the way it did, Abia State Government infringed on their rights.
“There is no denying that these surviving claimants are all citizens of this country bound by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Some of them may have been born in Abia State, married to a spouse from that state, lived all their lives there and thus gained sufficient reasons to be deemed indigenes of the state or simply relocated from another state in order to achieve their dreams of a better life.