A National Industrial Court in Abuja has affirmed virtual proceedings for a suspended Manager of the federal government owned Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority Administration (OGFZAA), Funmilayo Omosule to give evidence in his suit challenging his alleged unlawful suspension from work. He is to lead evidence from his new base in the United States of America (USA) with the newly introduced virtual court proceedings.
Although the matter was slated April 4, the Industrial Court was forced to shift the date to May 24 following the absence of the Federal Government counsel in court. When the suit was mentioned, a letter from a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, Paul Erokoro was presented indicating that the counsel on court record, Peace Ogbonna, would not be in court due to engagement in Court of Appeal for other matters. The letter requested for a shift in the hearing date of the suit. However, counsel to the Claimant, Dr Tunji Abayomi faulted the approach of the Federal Government lawyer adding that he was not copied with the letter as required by law.
Abayomi pleaded with the court to invoke Order 31 Rule 5 of the National Industrial Court to compel hearing of the suit as earlier scheduled. Justice Olufunke Anuwe in a brief ruling recalled having earlier granted accelerated hearing into the suit filed since 2016. The Judge affirmed adoption of virtual proceedings to fast-track resolutions of all issues but declined to compel hearing of the matter as pleaded by lawyer to the plaintiff.
Justice Anuwe subsequently fixed a new date of May 24 and directed that the defendant must be put on notice for the fresh hearing date.