Breaking: Students, workers sue Edo government over closure of College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi
Following the unlawful closure of Iguoriakhi College of Agriculture on 8th August, 2017, by armed policemen on the orders of Edo State Government, the body of academic and non- academic workers as well as students have sued Edo State Government and others in Suit no NICN/BEN/08/2018 at the National Industrial Court, Akure.
In the Writ of Summons / Complaint filed on behalf of the Claimants by their counsel, Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa of West-Idahosa & Co, the claimants are seeking amongst others a declaration that the arbitrary closure of the college is inconsistent with the extant laws establishing the college and therefore illegal, unlawful, null and void.
The suit also declared that the employment of the claimants is with statutory flavor and cannot be tampered with in any other manner other than in accordance with the provisions of the extant law establishing the college.
The claimants argued that the students of the college are entitled to continue the pursuit of their academic program without let or hindrance whatsoever by the Defendants and in accordance with the provisions of the extant law establishing the college.
The file requests an Order of court directing the Defendants to re-open the college and release its annual subventions as approved in the 2018 budget for the purpose of resuming its normal academic activities in accordance with the provisions of the extant law establishing the college.
The aggrieved order the court to restrain the Defendants from victimizing the claimants by abrogating, annulling or tampering with the extant law establishing the college with the intention of permanently closing same pending the determination of the suit and thereafter.
The suit also orders the perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants and their agents from further arbitrarily closing down the college in a manner inconsistent with the extant law establishing the college or in any other illegal manner whatsoever.
The case has been adjourned to 7th June, 2018 for arguments on the claimants’ Motion for a Mandatory order to reopen the College pending the determination of the substantive suit before the court.
The Edo State government sacked over 400 staff of the state-owned college in a letter signed by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Monday Osaigbovo on the 25 May 2018 announced the termination of their appointments.
The college which offers Ordinary Diploma and Higher National Diploma in Agriculture Technology, Animal Science, Crop Science, Agricultural Extension and Management was established in 1981 by the then civilian administration, late Ambrose Ali, closed by the military governor and was reopened in 2001 by the Lucky Igbinedion administration.
In the letter titlted “Restructuring of the College of Agriculture, Iguorikahi” cited restructuring for the closure and termination of the institution’s services from January 31, 2018
“Restructuring of the College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi. I am directed to refer to the above mentioned subject and to inform you that following the restructuring of the college of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi and its subsequent closure, government has decided that your services are no longer required with effect from 31st January, 2018.
”You are requested to handover all government properties in your possession to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources immediately.
“Furthermore, I am to add that in line with your terms of engagement, your cheque for January 2018, monthly salary with one month in lieu of notice is herewith attached,” the letter said.
Obaseki had also closed down College of Education, Ekiadolor and state school of nursing with no alternative redeployment for its staff.