The Presiding Judge of the Akure Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Kiyersohot Damulak has validated the retirement of one Mrs. Oluremi Falola on 31st July 2018 from Yaba College of Technology; and ordered Yaba College to process Mrs. Falola’s records for the payments of her gratuity and pension from 31st July 2018 till her death.
While declaring the purported bond agreement that existed between the parties as invalid and unenforceable, the Court ordered the College not to deduct any money from the salaries of Falola’s Guarantors based on the invalid bond and refund any money already deducted.
Furthermore, Justice Damulak also granted an order directing the Registrar, Rector, and Council of the Yaba College to pay Mrs. Falola’s severance allowances and gratuity minus three months’ salaries in lieu of notice within 60 days.
From facts, the claimant- Mr. Oluremi Falola had submitted that she applied for study leave with pay and sponsorship but got only approval with no sponsorship that her health situations adversely affected her research work and made it impossible for her to finish the programme on schedule, and upon the advice of Teaching Hospital, she decided to voluntarily retire from the employment of the college on health ground and the council refused to acknowledge her letter of Voluntary Retirement and decided to surcharge the guarantors of the bond which ought to be tied to sponsorship and never enjoyed.
In defense, the Yaba College of Technology averred that Mrs. Falola’s resignation and or notice of retirement on health grounds was not in consonance with the laid down rules and regulations and therefore not accepted by the College and the council.
The College continued that payment of salary during the period of study leave is in itself a form of sponsorship and the bond entered into between Mrs. Falola and the institution constitutes a binding agreement and the College is entitled to enforce the terms of the bond against the Claimant and her guarantors, urged the court to dismiss the suit.
In response, the counsel to Mrs. Falola, Olubunmi Dada Esq contended that the bond agreement cannot be binding since it was made contrary to the extant legislation and against the interest of his client, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.
Delivering the judgment, the presiding judge, Justice Kiyersohot Damulak held that Mrs. Falola’s reason for the resignation was on medical grounds and did the needful by attaching medical advice to the letter of resignation and the college has not told the court the significance of calling Mr. Falola for medical examination after the said letter of resignation.
The court further held that Mrs. Falola was made to enter a bond for study leave without sponsorship contrary to Regulations 11.14 which requires a bond only where there is sponsorship and any bond contrary to public policy, contrary to the Regulations, subsidiary legislation is not enforceable.
“The clear meaning of the above letter is that payment of full salary alone during study leave is not sponsorship and that is what was approved for the claimant. It stands then to reason, that sponsorship includes Full salary, Tuition and Examination Fees, Passage, and Allowances as provided for in Regulation 11.13(e).
“In that case, given the fact that the defendant never paid the claimant anything besides her salary, the defendant will be held to have breached the term of the bond and cannot complain or enforce same against the claimant”. Justice Damulak ruled
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