Wrongful dismissal? Court adjourns hearing of retired army general’s suit

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The National Industrial Court will hear Major General Ijioma Ijioma’s case against the Nigeria Army Council on November10.

Mr. Ijioma is challenging his retirement by the Nigeria Army Council through a letter dated June 9, 2016.

At the resumed hearing, the court could not continue because the clamant’s counsel, Benson Igbanoi, who held brief for Michael Ozekhome, had made an oral application to adjourn the suit.

Mr. Igbanoi said that an adjournment was necessary to enable the court hear all the pending applications before it.

He told the court it was a good development and that the issue of representation
of the respondents had been sorted out.

“Today, we know who is representing who; this is one of the issues that brought us to court today,” he said.

The counsel to Nigeria Army Council and Chief of Army Staff, Michael Owolabi, opposed the application, saying that no cogent reason was given.

Owolabi said that the application for adjournment was a ploy by the claimant to keep the case “in view”.

“Today, we are ready; why are they not ready? the lawyer in court is competent and has not given us any cogent reason.

“This is a court of Justice and Justice is not one way; if your right is encroached upon why are you running away from defending your right,” he questioned?

The judge, Maureen Esowe, assured the parties that the adjournment sought would not incur any loss on parties.

She held that due to her transfer to another division of the court, the case was likely to be heard de novo by the incoming judge.

“We have not started the case but the case is bound to start de novo anyway; either way, nobody loses anything ,” Ms. Esowe held.

It would be recalled that on October 12, the court could not proceed with the case because it was not clear which counsel represented the defendant.

The court then adjourned hearing to enable the counsel, Mr. Owolabi and Ibrahim Etsu, sort out the issue of representation.

The claimant joined the Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army staff as co-respondents.


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