Industrial Court Dismisses Ex-Councilor N37.8m Entitlement Claim Against Bayelsa Council

The Presiding Judge, Yenagoa Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Bashar Alkali has dismissed the case filed by the former councillor Hon. Kekebou Believe-God on the alleged sum of N37,844,927.60K (Thirty-Seven Million, Eight Hundred and Forty-Four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Twenty-Seven Naira, Sixty Kobo) as salaries and allowances against Southern Ijaw Local Government Council for lacking merit.

Justice Alkali held that Hon. Kekebou Believe-God failed to produce any statute or memo setting out his allowances and entitlements that of all the army of exhibits tendered, the most important document that will form the basis upon which the Court will assess his claim was not before the court.

From facts, the claimant- Hon. Kekebou Believe-God had submitted that he was duly elected and returned as the councillor for Oporoma in Southern ljaw Local Government Area and was sworn in on the 6th day of April 2004, and following his purported suspension in October 2004, he was recalled back on the 27th of January, 2006.

He stated that as a result of the promises made by the new chairman of the Local Government, he withdrew the cases he instituted in the High Court, and all efforts to get his entitlements proved abortive.

In defence, the defendant- Southern Ijaw Local Government Council maintained that all the 17 councillors in the legislative arm between the period of 2004 to 2007 have been paid all their allowances but Hon. Kekebou Believe-God kept writing letters demanding for unverifiable unpaid allowances.

Counsel to the Council, P. Kemegbre Esq. argued that since Hon. Kekebou Believe-God could not prove to the court the amount being owed him by the Council as his salary and allowance, urged the court to dismiss the entire claim in the interest of justice.

In opposition, the Hon. Kekebou Believe-God counsel argued that the Southern Ijaw Local Government Council was unable to give consistent answers under cross-examination and showed no documents or records of any payment made to his client to prove that the salaries and allowances claimed have been paid.

Delivering judgment after careful analysis of the submission of both parties, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Bashar Alkali held that Courts will only consider a justiciable controversy upon existing state of facts and not upon hypothetical or academic dispute.

Justice Alkali further held that the most important document that will form the basis of the claim of the Claimant upon which the Court will assess the claim of Hon. Kekebou Believe-God is the Reviewed Remuneration package for the Legislature of the Federal, State and Local Government Level issued by Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (as applicable for the period from 6th of April 2004 to the 6th of April 2007) is not before the Court.

Justice Alkali ruled that the court must not allow itself to be guided by a document, not before it or which does not contain the case of the parties before it. Where the court relies on such a document in arriving at its decision, it is fatal as it touches on the root of the case.