The National Industrial Court, Abuja, has dismissed a suit instituted by state coordinators of defunct Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, against the Federal Government, seeking compensation for the loss of their jobs.
The judge, Rakiya Haastrup, dismissed the suit on Wednesday on the grounds that it was statute barred.
When a suit is statute barred, it means it is no longer legally enforceable because the prescribed period for legal action had elapsed.
The claimants were the coordinators and chairmen of SURE-P in the 36 states of Nigeria.
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They had told the court that their emoluments were stopped in April 2015, with an order directing them to return the project vehicles in their possession by May 2015.
Ms Haastrup, said the suit did not satisfy provisions of Section 2 (a) of the Public Officers’ Protection Act.
She said Section 2 (a) of that Act stipulated that any counter-action against public officers should be instituted within three months.
Ms Haastrup said the suit which was instituted on Oct. 25, 2015 failed to meet the three months requirement.
According to her, the claimants cannot rely on Oct. 9, 2015 as the date of actual cause of action.
“Oct. 9, 2015 was the date the defendant sent a reminder to the claimants to return the project vehicles in their possessions as earlier instructed on May 18, 2015.
“It is deducible from the above, that the cause of action became completed on May 18, 2015 when the claimants received messages from the federal project director to return the project vehicles in their custody.
“There will be no basis for investigating the conduct of the defendants which gave rise to the action,” Ms Haastrup said.
The claimants had sought payment of their allowances and emoluments from when it was stopped in April, 2015.
The claimants’ counsel, Rasheed Yusuf, had said his clients also wanted compensation for the loss of their jobs when the government ended the programme.
Mr Yusuf had argued that when the electronic message was sent to his clients on October 9, 2015, the message did not refer to them as former or ex-coordinators.
The counsel added that this meant when the suit was instituted in 2015, it was not filed outside the stipulated period of time.