Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) to pay its former employee, Professor Joseph Adelegan $75,000 as damages for the unfair termination of his employment.
The court equally awarded another N2, 000,000 as cost to the plaintiff, but dismissed other claims sought by him.
The plaintiff was ordered to return all properties of the bank in his possession or issued to him while in the defendant’s employment
Justice Keikura Bangura, who read the judgment, said the court was competent to adjudicate on the case and declared it admissible, citing Articles 9 (4) and 9 (1) (f) respectively which empowers it to hear matters of alleged human rights violations that occur in the sub-region, as well as disputes relating to the Community and its officials.
In the suit, marked: ECW/CCJ/APP/40/17 filed for the plaintiff by his lawyer, Femi Adedeji, on the 22nd of November 2017, it was claimed that EBID, an institution of ECOWAS established by the provisions of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty as amended, arbitrarily terminated Prof. Adelegan’s appointment and denied him the right to fair hearing.
The plaintiff, who was Head of Environment and Sustainable Unit of EBID, also claimed that he applied for the vacant position of Director of Public Sector Operations of EBID, but that his initial appointment was terminated in May 2017 when he protested the anomalies/irregularities that characterized the exercise to fill the position on the grounds that they were contrary to provisions of the Staff Rules and Regulations.
He had asked the court to declare the termination of his appointment as arbitrary and that the process breached his right to fair hearing. He also sought orders to be reinstated and for the defendant to pay his salary arrears from May 2017, his entitlements and other benefits among other reliefs.
The defendant (EBID) however debunked the plaintiff’s claims. Its lawyer had argued that the plaintiff was a probationary employee who was the subject of a disciplinary committee for gross misconduct that led to the termination of his employment.
The lawyer further argued that the termination followed due process and consequently the plaintiff was not entitled to the reliefs sought.
Other member of the court’s three-man panel, that heard the case, are Justices Gberi-Be Ouattara and Januaria Costa.