A RETIRED Navy Commodore, Mr Linus Ugwu, has sued the Nigeria Navy at National Industrial Court in Lagos for alleged unlawful retirement. Ugwu told Justice O. A. Obaseki Osaghae that the Navy witch-hunted him out of the military and is subjecting him to trauma and threats following his decision to seek legal redress.
The claimant asked the court to set aside his retirement, reinstate him as Commodore and promote him to the rank of Rear Admiral.
He is also seeking an order compelling the Navy to pay him N1billion as general damages and to also pay him all his outstanding “emoluments, salaries and all financial benefits, monthly allowances.”
Ugwu made his claims in a suit marked NICN/LA/244/2019, against seven defendants. The first to seventh defendants in the suit are: the Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister of Defence, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Navy Board, Chief of Naval Staff, IbokEte Ekwe Ibas (Vice Admiral) and Chief of Defence Staff.
At the last hearing of the suit on March 2, the claimant’s counsel, Mr Stanley Ochoga, told the judge that he had not been served with any of the defendants’ processes.
“The claimant is out of job and needs to have his case dispensed with as soon as possible,” Ochoga said.
He said on January 20, 2020, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants filed no response.
The seventh defendant had also yet to file a response. He said the Ministry of Justice’s counsel, Mr P. M. Okon, made an undertaken to file a response but failed to do so.
But first defendant’s counsel, Mr George Ekwata, disagreed. He said he filled a statement of defence dated July 11, 2019, on August 21, 2019. Counsel to the 3rd, 5th and 6th defendants, Mrs Damilola Awoyemi, mpleaded for more time. Awoyemi said the defendants were yet to file their statement of defence as the witness to dispose to an oath, was on official assignment.
Justice Obaseki-Osaghae ordered that hearing notice should be issued and served on the counsel of the 2nd, 4th and 7th defendants.
She adjourned till June 3 and 4, 2020, for trial.
The claimant averred i n a 78- paragraph affidavit that he was purportedly retired on February 25, 2019.