In a significant legal development, Mr Yisa Usman, a Deputy Director at the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has initiated legal proceedings against the board, seeking N150 million in damages for alleged wrongful dismissal. The lawsuit, marked NICN/ABJ/266/2023, was filed at the National Industrial Court, Abuja, on September 29, 2023.
Usman, represented by his lawyer Oseini Bamigbaye from the Chambers of Mohammed Shuaibu, has raised nine reliefs in his legal action against JAMB. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the case centers on the alleged irregularities surrounding the constitution of the Board’s Directorate Staff Disciplinary Committee and the subsequent dismissal of Mr. Usman.
The claimant is urging the court to declare the disciplinary committee irregular, illegal, and null and void, citing a failure to comply with Article 3.5.4 of the Board’s Staff Manual and Conditions of Service. He also contests the composition of the committee, arguing that it included individuals who were beneficiaries of the infractions he exposed in his response to a query dated March 31, 2023.
Among the reliefs sought, Usman asks the court to declare his dismissal unlawful and void, set aside the dismissal, reinstate him to his position with full entitlements, benefits, and perks, and grant him all salaries, allowances, and perks due to him. Additionally, he requests an order promoting him to the position of Director of Finance and Account, asserting his seniority and qualifications for the role.
Mr. Usman is seeking exemplary damages of N150 million for the emotional, reputational, psychological pain, and trauma caused by what he alleges to be the malicious, illegal, and arbitrary actions of JAMB. He is also seeking the cost of the legal action, including reasonable fees for solicitors.
In his statement of material facts, Mr. Usman, who joined JAMB in 1997, details his rise within the organization and the conflicts arising from his commitment to due process and opposition to corrupt practices. He claims that his efforts to blow the whistle on various infractions led to continuous transfers and, ultimately, his dismissal.
The matter was brought before Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae, who adjourned the case until March 11 for further mention. Notably, JAMB was not represented in court during the latest proceedings, prompting the judge to issue a hearing notice for the defendant ahead of the next adjourned date.
It is worth mentioning that Mr. Usman had previously been arraigned on charges of threatening Mrs. Raheemat Oloyede, the wife of JAMB’s Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede. However, Usman’s lawyer contends that his dismissal occurred while the trial was ongoing, emphasizing the need for parties to respect the court’s jurisdiction and maintain the status quo until the charges are heard and determined.