THE Federal University, Oye (FUOYE) in Ekiti State has finally reinstated without condition Dr Gabriel Akinyemi Omonijo, the chairperson of the institution’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) whose appointment was unlawfully terminated sometime in 2019.
At the resumed hearing at the Akure Division of the National Industrial Court presided over by His Lordship, the Honourable Justice K. D. Damulak on Wednesday, November 23, 2022; Mr. Taiwo Omidoyin Esq. of Falana & Falana Chambers reported to the court that their client, Dr Omonijo, has been issued with a letter from FUOYE reinstating him unconditionally.
Mr Omidoyin, who appeared in court with Mr Abiodun Ajisola Esq. also of Falana & Falana Chambers, told the court that Dr Omonijo has since resumed duties at FUOYE and has written a formal letter to that effect.
Omodoyin’s report was corroborated by Mr Adegboyega, counsel to the defendants.
The letter of reinstatement to Dr Omonijo is signed by the Registrar of FUOYE and Secretary to the Council of the university, Mr Mufutau Ibrahim. Dated 8th November, 2022 with reference number FUOYE/REG/PEO/STM.ACAD/087/Vol.15/340, and entitled:
“RE: SUIT NO.NICN/AK/21/2019;
“RE: LETTER OF REINSTATEMENT OF APPOINTMENT,” the letter reads:
“You will recall that pursuant to the Consent Judgement reached between you and the University in the above case, the Governing Council directed at its Extraordinary Meeting held on 3rd November, 2021 that you be reinstated to the services of the university with immediate effect.
“In consequence of the said directive, I write to inform you that your appointment with the University has been reinstated with immediate effect.
Please take notice that implicit in the reinstatement of your appointment is your appointment is your obligation to be bound by all the extant laws and regulations of the University.
“This letter supersedes our earlier letter to you, Ref:FUOYE/REG/ACAD/087/VOL.!/15/194 dated 3rd October, 2022.”
National Record had reported that Omonijo had sometime in 2019 taken FUOYE to the Akure Division of the National Industrial Court when he was sent on indefinite suspension without pay over issues related to his role as Chairperson of FUOYE branch of ASUU.
On 29th July, 2021, the NIC had given a consent judgement based on a negotiated agreement between FUOYE and Omonijo to resolve their differences.
However, FUOYE reneged on the agreement by failing to comply with the terms of the consent judgement when it introduced, in its then letter of reinstatement, some preconditions which Omonijo and his counsel saw as strange and against the letters and spirit of the consent judgement.
They rejected these conditions and had, after fruitless efforts to convince FUOYE to do the needful, file contempt proceedings against the VC and Registrar.
At the commencement of the contempt hearing on Thursday, June 16, 2022, Omidoyin had told the strange elements introduced into the reinstatement letter included; one, that the claimant was only suspended without pay from the university in February 2019 contrary to the dismissal mentioned in the letter of reinstatement of appointment written by the University; two, that the claimant should sign an undertaking to be of good behaviour henceforth; and three, that a letter of advice was served on the claimant to desist from any act of misconduct that could disrupt the current peace and tranquility that is being enjoyed in the university.
Justice Damulak had, after Omidoyin’s testimony, asked the counsel to the defendants to read out to the court both the consent judgment of the court and the letter of reinstatement of appointment written by the FUOYE to Dr Omonijo.
According to Justice Damulak, this was to enable the court to know if the letter of reinstatement of appointment sent to the claimant complied with the consent judgment.
After the two documents were read out to the hearing of the court, Justice Damulak again asked the counsel to the defendants, Mr Adegboyega, to tell the court if as a lawyer and minister in the temple of justice, the letter of reinstatement of appointment written to Dr Omonijo by FUOYE complied with the consent judgment of the court.
When Mr Adegboyega did not respond, Justice Damulak asked him to advise his clients to do the needful regarding the letter of reinstatement of appointment of Dr Omonijo in line with the consent judgment and adjourned hearing to a later date.