By Yaqub Idris

For unlawful exclusion of the names of two senior staff of the National Examinations Council (NECO), the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has set aside the November 13, 2021 promotion examination conducted by the Council.

The senior staff, Mr. Charles Berje and Dr. Anthonia Utoh had approached the court with a suit challenging the exclusion of their names from the list of staff billed for the Council’s promotion examination in the 2021.

The trial Judge, Justice O.Y Anuwe had, in a judgement delivered on February 25, 2022, a copy of which was made available to journalists declared that the omission of the names of the claimants from the list of staff of NECO shortlisted for the said promotion examination was discriminatory, biased and unlawful.

The trial Judge held that the claimants, who are Assistant Directors in grade level (CONTRISS) 13 from 1st January, 2017 are due and eligible for consideration for promotion to grade level 14 in the 2021 promotion exercise.

The Judge further declared that the 2021 promotion examination of NECO held without the names of the claimants was a violation of the Public Service Rules and the Council’s regulatory staff conditions of service 2015, was unlawful and accordingly, liable to be set aside.

Consequently, Justice Anuwe set aside the said promotion examination, which was held without the names of the claimants, who were eligible for the examination but were unlawfully excluded.

The judge also ordered the defendants to strictly comply with the Public Service Rules by giving equal and fair opportunities to all eligible and qualified staff of the Council, including the claimants, in the suit marked, NICN/MN/06/2021 to participate in the exercise.

The Judge, who observed that the promotion examination was conducted during the pendency of the suit also made and order setting aside the query issued to the claimants on November 8, 2021, alleging the breach of Rule 090101(1) and 090201 of the Public service Rules.

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