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The National Industrial Court, Ibadan, has ordered the immediate reinstatement of three workers of Water Corporation of Oyo State, who were unlawfully dismissed.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the affected workers are Mr Lasis Adekunle, Mrs Oluwaseyi Sanni and Mr Sikiru Abodurin.

Justice John Peters ordered the immediate reinstatement of Adekunle, Sanni and Abodurin, while delivering judgment on Thursday, in a suit filed by the trio.

NAN reports that the defendants to the suit are Oyo State Water Corporation, Oyo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice and Oyo State Government.

The Claimants’ Counsel, Mr Ranti Ajeleti had informed the court that his clients were unlawfully dismissed and proper procedures were not followed before their dismissal.

Ajeleti urged the court to set aside the dismissal, order their reinstatement and payment of all outstanding emoluments from the time of dismissal till date.

NAN reports that Adekunle was dismissed by the corporation on June 16, 2017, over alleged fraud and disappearance of 17,364 units of water metre, valued at N159 million while he was a store keeper at the Corporation’s Central Chemical Store, Eleyele, Ibadan.

Sanni was suspended on June 16, 2017, and dismissed on Sept.16, 2018, for allegedly looting 2,189 units of water metre, valued at N54 million when he was the Assistant Chief Store Keeper at the Corporation’s Central Store, Eleyele, Ibadan.

While Abodurin was suspended and dismissed on June 16, 2017 and Sept. 16, 2018 respectively, for alleged disappearance of 12,446 units of water metre valued at N156 million.

Delivering his judgment, Justice John Peters set aside the suspension and dismissal of the claimants, for breach of fair hearing and failing to comply with the Oyo State Civil Service Rules.

Peters said that the investigative committee set up by the corporation to investigate the allegations against the claimants did not find them guilty of the allegations of which they were dismissed.

He said that the claimants could be queried over one allegation and then dismissed for a completely different allegation.

The judge said that since the defendants failed to comply with the Oyo State Civil Service Rules, it meant that all the steps taken against the claimants could not stand and would be null and avoid.

He set aside the purported dismissal and ordered the immediate reinstatement of the claimants without any loss of promotion.

The judge further ordered the payment of all salaries, allowances and other emoluments of the claimants, effective from June 16, 2017.

Ajeleti commended the judge for a well considered judgment, claiming that his clients were used as sacrificial lambs.

The defendants’ Counsel, Mrs F. Omoremi, also commended the judge for the judgment, and promised to pass the message of the judge to the concerned authority.

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