The University of Uyo has gone to the Court of Appeal, Calabar, to challenge an order of a lower court asking it to reinstate a lecturer it unjustly sacked 18 years ago.
Inih Ebong was an associate professor in the department of Theatre Arts when his appointment was terminated in 2002. Akpan Ekpo and Peter Effiong were the vice-chancellor and registrar respectively at the time.
Mr Ebong’s sack was considered by many to be a vendetta because of the lecturer’s constant criticism of the university authorities then.
The lecturer once rejected the university almanac and sent it back to the school with a note that the faces on it were not deserving of his sitting-room since, as he claimed, they were the very persons who were victimising him.
Mr Ebong fought a prolonged legal battle for almost two decades spanning three different administrations after the one that sacked him, before the National Industrial Court in Uyo ordered his reinstatement in January.
The court, presided by Justice M. A. Namtari, ordered the University of Uyo to pay all the salaries, allowances, and entitlements that would have accrued to Mr Ebong since August 1, 2001, when his salary was stopped, and from March 28, 2002, when his appointment was wrongfully and unlawfully terminated.
The court ordered the university to pay the lecturer the equivalent of his full annual salaries and allowances for the 2001/2002, 2007/2008, and 2014/2015 academic years when he should have gone on sabbatical leave in accordance with the terms and conditions of his employment.
The court also ordered the university to pay Mr Ebong an additional N10 million as damages.
The University of Uyo has, however, said they are “dissatisfied” with the decision of the National Industrial Court, according to a notice of appeal filed at the Court of Appeal, Calabar.
The university in its grounds of appeal said the judgement of the lower court was against the weight of evidence. It has asked the appellate court to set aside the judgment.
A date has not yet been fixed for the hearing of the case at the Appeal Court. The case is most likely going to drag on, perhaps for some more years, in the appellate court.
PREMIUM TIMES contacted Mr Ebong for his reaction.
“That is to show the inveterate hatred and mischief that the university harboured against me, each successive vice chancellor after Akpan Ekpo swore that over his dead body even if I won the case it will not be in their time to pay the money,” he told PREMIUM TIMES Monday evening.
The tenure of the current Uniuyo vice chancellor, Enefiok Essien, ends by December this year.
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