Court dismisses sacking of journalist, awards N2m in his favour

Court dismisses sacking of journalist, awards N2m in his favour

- A journalist, Kareem Popoola, has secured a victory at the National Industrial Court in Ibadan

- Popoola was sacked by his former employer, African newspaper of Nigeria

- The court, however, described the sacking as null and void

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The National Industrial Court sitting in Ibadan has declared as null and void the sack of staff of African newspaper of Nigeria PLC, the publisher of Nigerian Tribune titles, Kareem Popoola, by the company.'s regional reporter in Ibadan, Ridwan Kolawole, reports that the presiding judge, Justice J. D Peters, who delivered the judgement on the suit filed by Popoola, the former president of staff cooperative society of the company, also described the dismissal as an abuse of power by the management.

Justice Peters noted that the company could not give any good reason for dismissing the plaintiff as he was not queried for any gross misconduct on duties before sacking him as claimed by the company.

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Court dismisses sacking of journalist, awards N2m in his favour
Court dismisses sacking of journalist, awards N2m in his favour. Credit:
Source: UGC

He noted that the only query given to the complainant was the one issued in 2013 on his activities in the staff cooperative society which the court said was not enough to sack him because cooperative society is not under the control of the management.

The judge further stated that if there was any foul play in the cooperative society, the then president should be queried by the members or ministry of trades and investment, stressing that membership of the cooperative is voluntary.

The court, therefore, ordered the publisher of the Tribune titles to pay the complainant over N2,000,000 as entitlements with interests of 10% of the money.

The judge also ordered the company to pay the plaintiff over N400,000 which is his basic salary for two years as damages.

Reacting to the judgment, Popoola said it was a surprising relief for him.

He said:

"I did not even know the court would sit today. I was just called and I obliged not knowing that it would be a victory after four years I was dismissed."

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Recalling how the whole story started, Popoola who was the chairman of the Nigerian Tribune cooperatives society before he was sacked, said some members of the cooperative protested to the management that they were not given loans.

Popoola noted:

"When I was summoned by the management, I told them that loans are disbursed based on first come first served and that people could not get loans immediately they applied because some people are already on the queue. But the management was not satisfied by my explanation and swiftly announced the dissolution of the cooperatives' executives.
"I petitioned the Headquarters at the Secretariat I was placed on indefinite suspension in 2014 by the organisation for reporting the injustice done to me. That was why I approached the court. I lost in the first round because the court faulted my procedures."
"Thereafter, on June 28, 2016, I was handed a dismissal letter. Age was not on my side to be looking for another job because I was about 50 years. Therefore, I went to learn soap making. It was not easy. I had to market soap to earn a living. But, I thank God today that justice prevails.

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In its reactions, the publisher of Tribune titles, Ibadan, through its lawyer, Akintunde Sodiq thanked the court for its efforts in dispensing with the case.

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Meanwhile, had previously reported that Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state secured a great victory in a suit challenging his emergence as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 governorship election held in the state.

It was reported that the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Thursday, January 14, dismissed the appeal filed by Michael Elokun and two others seeking Bello's sack.

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