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Aji v. Chad Basin Devt. Authority

BUKAR MODU AJI

V

CHAD BASIN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

FEDERAL MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCES AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

COURT OF APPEAL

( JOS DIVISION )

ALOMA MARIAM MUKHTAR JCA ( Presided )

IFEYINWA CECILIA NZEAKO JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

IKECHI FRANCIS OGBUAGU JCA

CA/J/295/99

MONDAY, 19TH APRIL, 2004

COURT - Vague orders - Impropriety of court making

EVIDENCE - Burden of - Proof - He who asserts - Need for to prove

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS - Fair hearing - Claim for breach of Needlessness of proof of injury or prejudice before invocation of right to fair hearing

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS - Fair hearing - Constitutional sacredness of

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS - Fair hearing - Hearing - When can be said to be fair

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS - Natural justice or right to fair hearing Claim to - Contextual nature of

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Vague orders - Impropriety of court making

MASTER AND SERVANT - Contract of employment - Termination of -

Reasons for which a master can terminate employees employment

MASTER AND SERVANT - Contract of employment - Terms of Allegation of its inconsistent with any provision of the constitution - Need to lead in evidence the contract of employment to determine

MASTER AND SERVANT - Contract of service - Party who claims breach of his civil right under his contract of employment - Need for to plead and prove the contract

MASTER AND SERVANT - Damages - Claim for by an employee against the employer - Nature of

MASTER AND SERVANT - Dismissal - Employee challenging his dismissal - What must plead and prove to succeed

MASTER AND SERVANT - Master and servant relationship - Right accruing to a servant thereunder - How determined

MASTER AND SERVANT - Order of reinstatement of employee dismissed by employer - Nature of claim for

MASTER AND SERVANT - Servant - Definition of

PLEADINGS - Averments in pleadings - Where evidence not led in proof of - Effect of

PLEADINGS - Statute or Rule - Party who wishes to rely thereupon Need for to plead facts which will bring him within ambit of

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Fair hearing - Hearing - When can be said to be fair

WORDS AND PHRASES - Servant - Definition of

Issues:

1.              Whether a breach of the constitutional provision of fair hearing can be waived by a court and be made subject to the terms and conditions of employment, which terms and conditions of employment never formed part of the claims before the trial

court.

2.              Whether the dismissal of the appellant from the service of the respondents which contravened the constitutional provision of fair hearing was proper.

3.              Whether the decision of the trial court is in consonance with the evidence adduced before the court.

4.              Whether the plaintiff in a suit challenging termination of his employment could succeed without establishing the terms and conditions of the employment.

Facts:

The appellant who was the plaintiff in the lower court, sued the defendants/respondents, claiming the following reliefs:

(a)           A declaration that the dismissal of the plaintiff from the services of the 1st defendant by letter with reference No. CBDA/ CON./26/W/504 of 3rd May, 1996, is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

(b)           An order reinstating the plaintiff to his working place with an order compelling the defendant to promote him (plaintiff) to the position he is entitled to under the Federal Civil Service Rules.

(c)           An order compelling the defendant and or its agents (sic) to pay all entitlements and dues which accrued to the plaintiff from the date of his dismissal to the date of his reinstatement.

(d)           General damages of N10,000,000.00 (ten million naria).

(e)           Cost of the suit.

There were no averments in the statement of claim as to the terms and conditions of the plaintiff’s employment or contract of service. At the conclusion of trial, the learned trial Judge, in a considered judgment, dismissed the appellant’s claims. It is against the said decision, that the appellant has appealed to the Court of Appeal.