…Alleges deliberate stagnation in service for testifying at tribunal
From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
An officer of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Mr. Longinus Njoku, who has not been promoted in the last 20 years, has dragged the Comptroller General (CG) and the Prisons Service Board to the National Industrial Court, Imo state division.
Njoku, who is serving with the Imo State Command, in suit NNICN/OW/54/2017, claimed that in all his 32 years of service, he has neither been placed under any disciplinary action nor indicted for any act of professional misconduct.
He, however, regretted that he has been denied statutory promotions in the last 20 years for testifying at the Judicial Panel of Inquiry headed by Justice Onumajulu, which was set up to probe into the immediate and remote causes of the Otokoto riots between September 24 and 25, 1996 in the state.
According him, “my ordeal started with my appearance and evidence at the 1996 riots’ Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by Hon. Justice Onumajulu, wherein I gave an honest account of what I was requested to answer and those who felt that my exposition was against them conspired to ensure that I was frustrated out of the service.”
Njoku said he earned his last promotion in 1996, adding that he was only elevated as an upgrade to another rank in 2014, an exercise he considered a demotion because the rank of Senior Inspector of Prisons accorded him in 2014 was a rank he was due for in 1999.
He also stated in his claims that before the upgrade in 2014, which he alleged was made in bad faith, he was deliberately stagnated on a particular rank for a period spanning 20 years.
The aggrieved Prisons Officer said the purported upgrade in 2014 was communicated through a letter, which according to him, failed to address the outstanding promotions and arrears of 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.
Consequently, Njoku is asking the court to order that he be upgraded to his rightful rank and that the sum of N16.8 million be paid to him as outstanding statutory arrears on denied promotions from 1999 to 2017.
He is also praying the court to order the Nigerian Prisons Service to pay him N700,000 as his statutory arrears on leave allowance for seven years and N500,000 as statutory allowances for the several interstate and regional transfers, which he was allegedly subjected to at various times.
Njoku is also demanding N20 million in general damages for non-payment of compensation on the accident that caused him permanent disability and for the physical and emotional trauma he suffered for 20 years as a result of his stagnation in service.