Court strikes out Army’s objection to N1 bn-damages suit by a dismissed colonel

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    The National Industrial Court, Abuja, on Monday dismissed the preliminary objection raised by the Nigerian Army in a suit filed by a retired colonel, Danladi Hassan, seeking N1 billion as damages and to void his compulsory retirement.
    Mr Hassan who instituted the suit is seeking to void his alleged compulsory retirement. He is also demanding reinstatement and payment of compensatory and exemplary damages to the tune of N1 billion.
    The defendant’s counsel, Simon Onoja, in a preliminary objection, urged the court to strike out the suit for being incompetent due to non-fulfillment of condition precedent to instituting an action, and for lack of jurisdiction.
    Mr Onoja raised the objection, as he claimed that the claimant did not comply with Section 178 of the Armed Forces Act.
    The Act stipulates that an officer should exhaust all administrative remedies available to him before embarking on any action to seek redress in the court of law, the counsel said.
    The judge, Sanusi Kado, in his ruling, dismissed the preliminary objections raised by Mr Onoja.
    “The disagreement between the parties is whether the letter written to the President, Commander-in-Chief, amount to fulfillment of condition precedent provided for in Section 178 of the Armed Forces Act.
    “Based on the letter of appeal written to the president, the claimant has complied with the condition precedent before instituting his action as stipulated by the Armed Forces Act.
    “The court has also found that the pleading of the claimant has disclosed a cause of action capable of being enforced,” the judge said.
    The case was adjourned until April 19 for continuation of hearing.

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