After demoting a professor to a mere lecturer 1, read what is happening in a Nigerian federal university

An aggrieved lecturer of the Federal University, Otuoke in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa state, Professor Stephen Nwabuzor, has dragged the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Seth Accra Jaja, and the institution management to the industrial court of Nigeria over his demotion from rank of professor to lecturer 1.

The governing council of Federal University Otuoke had at its 10th meeting made key decisions involving appointments and discipline which led to the re-classification of some academic appointments by downgrading seven teaching staff appointments to lower ranks for lack of requisite scholarship including Professor Stephen Nwabuzor.

But the aggrieved Professor Nwabuzor, in suit filed before the national industrial court, numbered NICN/YEN01/2019, sought the order of the court for a declaration that the regularisation of his appointment as a professor to a pensionable appointment by the  institution’s letter of the appointment dated September 1, 2015 and the confirmation of his appointment vide the letter of February 21, 2017, the claimant’s appointment has a statutory flavor and cannot be tampered with except in accordance with the Federal University, Otuoke (Establishment) Act 2015.

Also sought is a “declaration that the purported conversion of the claimant’s pensionable appointment to a contract appointment is ultra vires the defendants having regard to the Federal University, Otuoke (Establishment ) Act,2015, the 1999 constitution (as amended) and all known labour practice.

“A declaration that the purported reclassification of appointment of the claimant by the defendant from professor to lecturer 1 on the grounds that the claimant did not have the requisite scholarship at the point of entry without hearing the claimant is ultra fire, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect.

“An order of the honorable court setting aside the defendants’ letter of 5th of July,2018 converting the claimant statutory appointment to a mere contract of employment.”

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