In a significant legal development, the National Industrial Court in Lagos has mandated the Lagos State University (LASU) and its governing council to reinstate Dr. Udegbe Ebarefimia, a lecturer in the Department of Marketing, Faculty of Management Science, to the position of Senior Lecturer. The ruling, delivered by Justice Maureen Esowe, also directed the payment of salary differentials and all entitlements from the time of her wrongful dismissal in September 2017.
The court’s decision stemmed from the terms of the settlement reached in suit No. NICN/LA/435/2021 and Suit No. NICN/LA/685/2016, setting aside the judgement in the suit marked NICN/LA/597/2017. Dr. Udegbe had challenged her demotion and subsequent dismissal, asserting that the allegations of mark alteration and result manipulation were unproven.
In her originating motion, dated November 17, 2021, Dr. Udegbe sought a declaration of the illegal dismissal and prayed for nullification of her demotion. Despite a query accusing her of result manipulation, the disciplinary committee recommended a three-month suspension, but the university decided to dismiss her, a decision affirmed by Justice N.C.S Ogbuanya in a judgement dated July 29, 2021.
Justice Esowe’s ruling followed the failure of LASU to comply with the order to recall results and certificates for re-computation and reissue, leading Dr. Udegbe to file a new suit marked NICN/LA/435/2021 before Justice Esowe. The court commended the parties for reaching an amicable settlement, adopting the terms on November 8, 2023.
The terms include the reinstatement of Dr. Udegbe as Senior Lecturer, payment of salary differentials, completion of the promotion process to Associate Professor, and a payment of N5 million as an out-of-pocket settlement for expenses incurred. The settlement does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing or liability by any party.
Justice Esowe expressed gratitude to the counsels and representatives for the amicable resolution, emphasising the need to put an end to litigation.