Two officer cadets, Ahmad Lawal and Anthony Oranu, on Thursday took the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) before the National Industrial Court, Abuja, challenging their alleged unlawful withdrawal from the academy.
The other co-defendants in the suit are the Commandant and Council of the NDA, and Chief of Defence Staff.
The claimants’ counsel, P.A. Attah, told the court that the matter was slated for mention.
He further informed the court that the defendants were served the necessary process.
The judge, Justice Olufunke Anuwe, on her part confirmed from the court’s record that defence had been served and that they had in turn filed their memorandum of appearance.
However, neither the defendants nor their legal representatives were present in court for the day’s proceeding.
Attah, therefore, prayed for an adjourned date for hearing.
The judge adjourned the matter until September 27 for hearing and equally directed that hearing notices be served on the defendants.
The claimants, Lawal and Oranu, in their reliefs are seeking a declaration that their purported withdrawal from the academy with effect from January 22, 2020 on the grounds of dossier review was malicious, done in bad faith, and ultra vires.
They are also seeking another declaration that their withdrawal was done in contravention of relevant provisions of NDA Handbook on Discipline and General Administration 2018 (Revised), the NDA Act and the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 LFN 2004.
The claimants are also seeking an order of the court reinstating them to status quo, by vesting upon them their rightful seniority on rank and seniority on arm of bars commensurate with their year of commencement of cadet training and payment of their accrued entitlements and emoluments.
In addition, they are seeking an order of the court, in the alternative of the above, for payment of damages in the sum of N500 million each and the sum of N1,000,000 each as cost of prosecuting the suit.
Lawal in his statement of facts said that he was by a letter dated September 15,2015 admitted into the academy as member of 67 Regular Course as an Officer cadet, which made him an employee in training.
He also said that his relegation from Course 67 to Course 68 with effect from November 9, 2018 on grounds of disobedience to standing orders was done in violation of his right to fair hearing as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 ( as amended).
Oranu, on his part in his statement of facts, averred that by a letter dated September 15, 2015, he was also admitted into the academy as member of 67 Regular Course as an Officer cadet, which made him an employee in training.
Oranu further averred that on January 3, 2020 the academy published a routine order relegating him from Course 68 to Course 69, after he had earlier been relegated from his original Course 67 to Course 68 on September 18, 2019 without fair hearing, trial or conviction of any offence.
The claimants claimed that on January 22, 2020, the academy released a routine order containing their names amongst other cadets, that they had been withdrawn on the basis of a purported dossier review, hence their approaching the court to seek redress.