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Reinstated federal Urban Mass Transit staff to get N2.8 billion compensation from CBN

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Reinstated federal Urban Mass Transit staff to get N2.8 billion compensation from CBN

In a long-awaited decision, the National Industrial Court has ruled that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) must pay a total of N2.8 billion to 313 staff members of the Federal Urban Mass Transit Agency who were wrongfully terminated from their positions.

Justice E. N Agbakoba issued the order in a garnishee proceedings case brought by the affected staff members. They had challenged the illegal termination of their appointments, which was carried out by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Head of Service of the Federation, the Minister of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, and the Federal Urban Mass Transit Agency.

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The employees, who were originally employed according to the Federal Civil Service Rules, were issued retirement letters in November 2004 with a backdated retirement date of August 31, 2004. However, they contested this retirement, asserting that it violated the Nigerian constitution and the Public Service Rules of 2008.

They argued that they had not yet reached the statutory retirement age of 60 and were entitled to be transferred or seconded to other government agencies.

In December 2020, Justice Agbakoba declared the retirement of the claimants null and void, as it did not adhere to constitutional and legal requirements.

She ordered their reinstatement to their previous positions and granted them their rightful salaries and benefits.

However, it took three years for the defendants to comply with the judgment, leading the claimants to initiate the garnishee proceedings against them. On June 14, 2023, the court ruled in favor of the claimants, ordering the CBN to pay the judgment debt of N2.8 billion.

Justice Agbakoba criticized the defendants for their attempt to evade their legal obligations and dismissed their arguments as frivolous. She also imposed a cost of N500,000 on each of the four judgment debtors.

This landmark decision brings hope and justice to the affected staff members, who have spent over 16 years fighting for their rights.

The compensation will not only provide them with financial relief but also serves as a reminder that the legal system can safeguard employees against wrongful termination and uphold their rights.

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