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Court upturns demotion of NIMASA Director, others


The National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Lagos has nullified the downgrading of the Director of Administration of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Mr. Felix Bob- Nabena, who was downgraded from his position of Grade Level 17 to Grade Level 14 in 2015.

Recall that the Federal Ministry of Transport had in September 2015, constituted a committee on personnel matters to address staff issues in NIMASA, which came up with a report on the ‘proper placement’ of staff, which recommended the down grading of some members of staff including Mr. Bob-Nabena.

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The affected staffers believed that the real motive of the committee was to review downwards the placement of some staffers then employed into the agency under the tenure of the former Director General of the agency, Dr Patrick Ziakede- Akpobolokemi.

Delivering judgment in a suit Felix Bob-Nabena vs NIMASA no. NICN/LA/482/2018, Justice Ignatius G. Nweneka upheld five of the seven prayers of the claimant and declared that the recommendation contained in the report of the committee is unlawful and constitutes a breach of the contract of employment of the claimant.

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He also held that the report of the committee was ultra vires and therefore null and void. The Judge cited section five of the NIMASA Act, which provides that such committee on staff employment issues must be constituted by the Governing Board and headed by a member of the Governing Board of the agency.


He further ruled that evidence before the court showed that the Governing Board was not yet constituted as at the time the committee was constituted.

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The Court also ruled that the failure of the defendant to give a hearing to the claimant before the production of the report to review the employment of the claimant was unlawful and amounted to a breach of fair hearing.

The Court therefore made an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, its agents, and privies or whatsoever from giving effect to the report of the committee.

It further made an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, its agents, and privies or whatsoever from further acts that would amount to breach of contract of employment the claimant has with the agency.

The Court however declined to award a N10million damages occasioned by the acts of the defendant to the claimant. It also declined to grant the claimant’s prayer to award the full cost of the action, insisting that parties should bear their cost.

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The claimant through his counsel, Yinka Ajana in an originating summons filed before the court in 2018, urged the Court to determine whether the defendant in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Transport to set up committee to review the contract of employment of the claimant and recommend the downgrade of the claimant.

The claimant had also asked the Court to determine whether the setting up of such committee and its recommendation to downgrade the claimant without giving a hearing to the claimant did not constitute a breach of the claimant’s constitutional right to fair hearing.

It was gathered that following the recommendations of the committee, many of the staffers of the agency, who were interdicted and subsequently paced on half salaries have gone through series of challenges with the members of their families while some have died in the process.



Joshua Okoria

Joshua Okoria is a Lagos based multi-skilled journalist covering the maritime industry. His ICT and graphic design skills makes him a resourceful person in any modern newsroom. He read mass communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University and has sharpened his knowledge in media practice from several other short courses. 07030562600, hubitokoria@gmail.com

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