By NWOGHA NDUBUISI ANDY, Abakaliki
A local government social welfare worker, identified as Mr.Ndubisi from Onueke in Ezza South local government area of Ebonyi state has on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 collapsed in court premises after the dismissal of the suit between some local government workers and the state government.
However, Nduibisi later regained consciousness with the help of his colleagues who resuscitated him and urged him not to give up hope.
Recall, that late last year, in suit number NICN /ABK/01/, some Social workers and vetinary workers numbering about one hundred and fifty (150) in the local government system, sued the state government, Attorney general of Ebonyi state, local government service commission, Ohaukwu, Onicha, Ebonyi, Ohazara, Ezza south, Ishielu ,Ikwo, Izzi, Abakaliki and Ezza north local government to court over non payment of CONHESS/CONMESS and the deduction of workers salaries from May 2016.
The workers in their claims noted that the reduction of the salaries by the defendants constituents a breach of contract, and as such ordered the court to compel the defendants to pay them sum of one hundred and seventy four million,ninety six thousand, two hundred and twenty four naira,three kobo only, as monthly deduction from May 2016 to December 2017 by the defendants and prayed that the court refrain the defendants from further deduction of their salaries.
They further urged the court to quash the recommendation contained in the circular from the Head of Service of the government of Ebonyi State with ref No. HOS/ PNOS/ AD.009/ V.IV /99 dated 28 November 2016 titled ” Report of the Exco Committee on the Final Harmonization of CONMESS/ CONHESS in the local government system of Ebonyi state”, describing it as an unfair labour practices. The claimants therefore demanded sum of twenty million naira for damages.
Ruling the case at the Abakaliki industrial court, the judge dismissed the suit ,noting that section 59 of the local government law impose statutory duty for the third defendant to determine the amount paid to workers.
He noted that the report on the final harmonisation of CONHESS/ CONMESS is valid because it was done by law, he therefore dismissed the suit against the state government, noting that the claimants failed in all relief as the suit failed in its entirety.
Speaking with Our reporter, the claimants council, Barr. Friday Ogazi noted that all hope is not lost, as his clients can always appeal . “The judgement ought to be in our favour but the court saw it otherwise. Until we see the judgement,when we see it,i believe that they will be very good grounds to appea If my clients agrees to, my duty as a lawyer is to ensure that justice is done. ” he said.
Also speaking with AUTHENTIC News Daily, the council for the defence, Barr Roy Nweze advised the workers to obtain the necessary qualifications that will enable them be entitled to receive CONHESS while noting that COHESS is for health workers.
“The court mainly reinstated what is rightly the justice of the matter. By saying that those who are entitled to COHESS have not been denied CONHESS and those that have not been given COHESS are not entitled to COHESS”. He said.