JUDGMENT The claimant first filed this suit and claim on the 15th day of July. 2013. The claimant, by his amended complaint and amended statement of facts filed on 2nd September 2014 claims against the first defendant as follows: 1) ORDER setting aside the proceedings and recommendation of Junior Staff Committee, Federal Ministry of Education dated August 2010; and the dismissal of the claimant by the Federal Minister of Education, the first defendant dated 7th December, 2010 Reference JSC/S/978/T/1/62 on the ground that the claimant was not accorded fair hearing by the Junior Staff Committee and the federal Ministry of Education before the said dismissal; and that the same is an afterthought. 2) Declaration that the claimant is entitled to gratuity and pension having spent or deemed to have spent up to 30 years with the first defendant. 3) An order directing the first defendant to pay the claimant his gratuity and pension as obtainable under the Civil Service Rules of the Federation. 4) AN ORDER directing the first defendant to pay the claimant all the arrears of his salaries and allowances from April 1985 to December 2008 which is N5,818,089.00 (Five Million, Eight Hundred and Eighteen Thousand, and Eighty-Nine Naira) which (less the amount paid to him on. 12/3/2008 -N141,658.99) which gives a balance amount of N5,677 .866.71 (Five million, six hundred and seventy- seven thousand, eight hundred and sixty-six naira, seventy one kobo) being the accumulated salaries and allowances and promotions as the claimant is entitled from grade level 05 in 1985 to grade level 13 in 2008. OR ALTERNATIVELY b) An order directing the first defendant to pay all the arrears of his salaries and allowances from April 1985 to December, 2008 less the amount paid by the defendant on 12/3/2008 (N141,658.99) Which amounts to Nl,961,333.81 (One Million, Nine Hundred and Sixty One Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty Three Naira, Eight One kobo) based on the grade level 05 OR ALTERNATIVELY c) An order directing the first defendant to pay the claimant all the arrears of salaries and allowances from April 1985 to December 2008 less the amount paid on 12/3/2008 (N l41,658.99) which amounted to Nl,754,778.77 (One Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty Four Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy Eight Naira, Seventy Seven Kobo) as computed on grade level 04. OR ALTERNATIVELY d) The balance of Nl,919,111.80 for grade level 05 or Nl,716,526.37 for grade level 04 being the total amount covering from March 1994 to December, 2008 admitted and directed by the first defendant to be paid to the claimant. 5) An order for interest on the arrears of salaries and allowances at the rate of 500% per annum putting into consideration the inflation and depreciation thereof. 6) An order N 5 million general damages against the first de1endant for the frustration suffered by the claimant during his employment with the defendant. BRIEF STATEMENT OF FACTS. The claimant was employed by the Federal Ministry of Education on grade level 04 on or about the month of July 1983, he took his combined confirmation promotional examination to grade level 05 which he passed. In April, 1985 he and 13 others were falsely charged for fraudulent accounting in charge No. PHC/32C/85. The 1st defendant stopped the payment of his salaries and allowances from April, 1985. On the 31st March 1994 he and other surviving accused persons were discharged by the High Court of Rivers State. In addition to the discharge order, the Director of Public Prosecution, Rivers State, in a letter reference No. MJ/DPP/TI/19 of 7th September 1994 wrote to the first defendant through the Ministry of Education and to the other Ministries concerned to the effect that the claimant had been discharged of the allegation made against him and his fundamental rights should be respected including recalling him to his job. The claimant made several petitions to the first defendant for his recall, reinstatement and payment of his arrears of salary and allowances and by letters references: SAF 27/S/48/44 of September, 2006 and ED/49983/1/72 dated 12TH September, 2007 ordered that the claimant be recalled, reinstated and immediate payment of all the arrears of his emolument from 31st March, 1994 be paid to him accordingly. The claimant resumed work but complained about his stagnation after 28 years of service, the claimant was paid N 141,658.99 on the 12/3/2008 which was lesser that what he was entitled to. That following the refusal of the defendant to pay him the backlog of his salaries and the frustration he felt he resigned his appointment on the 14/2/2009. The claimant complains that he was entitled to be promoted up to level 13 but for the ordeal he went through. The claimant only got a notice of termination of his appointment as part of the bundle of documents attached to the process served on him by the defence counsel in this suit. That he was never invited to any disciplinary investigation or given any opportunity to state his case before he was dismissed from service after he had voluntarily resigned over a year before his dismissal. The claimant commenced this suit on the 15/7/2013. The 1st defendant filed their statement of defence without a witness deposition on the 8/5/2014. The 2nd defendant did not file any defence to this action. The claimant latter filed an amended complaint on the 2/9/2014. Hearing in this matter commenced on the 27/2/2018 with the claimant testifying as the sole witness adopted his witness deposition and tendered 26 documents and closed his case the same day. It was adjourned to 21/5/2018 for cross examination. Despite the service of hearing notice on the defendants they were absent in court. The matter was further adjourned again to the 9/7/2018 and 12/7/2018 for cross examination and defence. Hearing notice was duly served on the defendants but they still failed to appear. They were foreclosed and the court ordered the claimant to file his final written address. The claimant testified as CW1 and tendered the following exhibits in proof his claims. 1) Exhibit C1. Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette No. 86 vol. 93 dated Lagos 5th October, 2006 2) Exhibit C2. Circular letter Ref. No. SSD. 1387/S7/VIII/131 dated 3 December, 1982 3) Exhibit C3. Institute of Management & Technology Testimonial dated 29th July 1985. 4) Exhibit C4. The Polytechnic, Calabar HND Certificate dated September, 1991. 5) Exhibit C5. Ruling delivered bin suit No PHC/32C/85 on the 31/3/1994 discharging the claimant 6) Exhibit C6. OPP letter MJ/DPP/TI/19 dated 27th September, 1994 in Re: Suit No. PHC/32C/85 7) Exhibit C7. Letter dated 08/ 11 /94. 8) Exhibit C8. Demand Letter dated 14/2/2006 – Vincent Chieyine & Co. 9) Exhibit C9, Letter of Reinstatement dated 8th September 2006 10) Exhibit C10. Assumption/Resumption of Duty Certificate 11) Exhibit C11, payment of Emolument letter dated 12_th September, 2007 . 12) Exhibit C12. Application for up-grading dated 20/11/07 13) Exhibit C13. Diamond Bank Statement of Account 14) Exhibit C14. Application for Voluntary Retirement dated 14/1/09 15) Exhibit C15. Payment of Emolument Arrears dated 10th September, 2009. 16) Exhibit C16. Notice of Intension to Commence Suit dated 21st March, 2011. 17) Exhibit C17. Circular No 5/1982- Office of The Head of Service, Establishments Department Ikoyi-lagos dated 5th September 1982. Ref. No PSRU/18.104.22.168/Xiv /94 2 18) Exhibit C18. Federal Treasure Circular No. A1/B1 of 1993 with Ref. No. OAGF/FRS/005/248 Ikoyi Lagos Dated 18 February 1993. 19) Exhibit C19. National Salaries & Wages Commission Office of the Chairman Ref. No SWC.04/551 Of 28th Aug.1998 20) Exhibit C20. National Salaries & Wages Commission Of Ref. No. SWC. 04/711 Of 22nd January 1999. 21) Exhibit C21. National Salaries & wages Commission Ref. No.SWC. 04/808 Of 29th March 1999 22) Exhibit C22. National Salaries & Wages Commission Office of the Chairman Ref. No. SWC.04/VOL.IV/84/2002 Of s” May 2000. 23) Exhibit C23. Approved Rates For Monetization Of Fringe Benefits By SWC Dated 9th December 2003. 24) Exhibit C24. The motion for extension of time of the first defendant with attached (a) Confidential Report and recommendation of Junior Staff Committee, Federal Ministry of Education dated August 2010. (b)The first defendants letter of dismissal of the claimant reference JSC/978/T /I/62 dated 7th December, 2010. (c) ‘The first defendant query dated 26t August 2008 and the claimant’s Reply dated 13th January, 2009 25) Exhibit C25. ESUT Teaching Hospital Parklane Report dated 20th November, 2007 and 26) Exhibit C26. The photograph of his wife during the accident in 2007 The defendant did not call any evidence in this suit. However the law is that the claimant in an action must succeed on the strength of his case and not on the weakness of the defendant case. See the case of Nze V. Onyeachugwu [ 2013] LPELR-20678. Relying on this authority, the only issue for this court to determine is ‘whether the claimant has made out a case or proved his case to be entitled to the relieves claimed in this suit’. On Relief 1 In prove his entitlement to this relief the claimant pleaded facts in paragraph 28 to 29 of his statement of facts and gave evidence in paragraph 25 to 42 of his statement on oath. From the state of evidence it is clear that the claimant was never aware of his indictment by the Junior Staff Committee of the 1st defendant neither was he given an opportunity to respond to the indictment before the committee recommended his dismissal as attached to Exhibit C24. He tendered Exhibit C14 which shows that he retired on the 26/1/2009 a period of over one year had elapsed before he was recommended for dismissal. There is no evidence that the letter purporting to dismiss the claimant dated 7/12/2010 was ever served on the claimant. This suit was filed on the 15/7/2013 it took the defendants 5 years after the claimant had voluntarily retired to notify the claimant of his dismissal. I have examined the report of the Junior Staff Disciplinary Committee I cannot find where it is reported that efforts were even made to serve the claimant with any indictment so as to put in his defence to the indictment These evidence were never challenged and must be taken as true. See Folorunso & Anor. V. Shalomb (1994)3NWLR (Pt.333)413, 433 para. H-H. See also Kosile v. Folaris ( 1983)3 NWLR (PT 107) 1. The claimant is purported to have been dismissed pursuant to Public Service Rule 030402(e). There is no provision in the public service rule that allows an employee whose employment is with statutory flavour to be dismissed with ignominy without giving him the right to fair hearing. The requirement of fair hearing as enshrined in S. 36(1)(2)&(3) of the 1999 Constitution is very fundamental in exercising the power to dismiss an employee whose employment is one with statutory flavour. If this were not so there would have been no need for the defendant to set up the Junior Staff Disciplinary Committee which sat in the absence of the claimant. Once an administrative body is found to have violated the above provisions in its proceedings such proceedings is liable to be set aside. In the case of Dapianlong & and Ors vs. Dariye & Anor (2007) All FWLR (pt. 373) 1, 37, & 38 para. H-C. The court of Appeal emphasised this when it held; The principle as entrenched in the 1999 Constitution, to be more precise, section 36( 1) thereof, is a basic and fundamental principle of law that requires that person whose legal rights or obligations are being questioned be given the liberty and opportunity by the courts or opportunity to defend such right or obligations. The scenario is that he be heard before any adverse decision is made against him. In order to be fair and just, the adjudicating authority must give all the parties before it an opportunity of being heard before arriving at its decision. When this rule is not adhered to, an appellate court will nullify the proceedings. In Adeniyi V. Governing Council of Yaba  LPELR-128. The Supreme Court Held ‘The principle of fair hearing is binding on Administrative body as it is to judicial tribunals’ Also in Okafor V. The Administrator General & Public Trustee Anambra State  LPELR-7689, The Court of Appeal held; ‘The consequence of a breach of the rule of natural justice of fair hearing is that the proceedings in the case are null and void’ On the strength of the above authority and the evidence in this suit, this court hereby declares that the proceedings of the Junior Staff Committee, Federal Ministry of Education dated August 2010 null and void. Accordingly the proceedings and recommendation of Junior Staff Committee, Federal Ministry of Education dated August 2010; and the dismissal of the claimant by the Federal Minister of Education, the 1st defendant dated 7th December, 2010 Reference JSC/S/978/T/I/62 as attached to Exhibit C24 are hereby declared null and void and accordingly set aside. On Relief 2 and 3 The claimant claims that he is entitled to gratuity after putting in 30 years of service as a staff of the 1st defendant. The facts were pleaded in paragraphs 1,5 to 25, 26, and 40 of the amended statement of facts CW1 gave evidence of this facts in paragraph 3, 5, 25, 26, and 39 of his sworn statement on oath made on 2/9/2014. He was employed by the 1st defendant on grade level 04 on the 12/6 1979; He took and passed his confirmation promotional examination in service vide circular letter ref. No. 55D. 1387 /57 /Vlll/ 131, dated 3/12/1982, Exhibit C2 in 1982; and voluntarily retired from the service of the defendant on the 14/1/2009 vide Exhibit C14 after a period of 30 years and 6 months. The claimant retirement was recommended by the principal of the defendant’s school on the 26/1/2009 and same was received by the 1st Defendant on the 26/1/2009. It is clear that from the date of the claimant’s appointment to when he retired he has put in 30 years and more meritorious service in the defendant’s employment. By virtue of section 3( 1) ( a) of Pension Act Cap 346 Laws of the Federation 1990 a minimum period of 15years of service is required for a person to voluntarily retried as an employees in public service to qualify for pensions and gratuity. Section 1 (2) of Pensions Reform Act, 2004 applicable to all the employees in public sevice of the federation and others irrespective of the number of years. Section 8(3) of the same Act, in the first schedule provides the formula for calculation of pension and gratuity with respect to the retirement year of the employee. Having set aside the purported dismissal of the claimant in this suit this court has the powers to grant the second relief sought by the claimant. This court hereby declares that the claimant is entitled to be paid his gratuity and pension having served the 1st defendant which by extension is the service of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Accordingly the 1st defendant shall compute the gratuity and pension of the claimant and pay same to the claimant and also place the claimant on any scheme of periodic payment of pension (if any) which the claimant may be entitled, under the Civil Service Rules of the Federation. On Relief No 4 Here the claimant seeks the relief of his arrears of salary before his resignation in the alternative. I have carefully studied relief No 4 (a) the claimant claims the sum of N 5,677,866.71 which is less the amount (N141,658.99) earlier credited to his account as shown on Exhibit C13 his statement of account. The claimant claims that this sum is the accumulated salaries and allowances and promotions as the claimant is entitled from grade level 05 in 1985 to grade level 13 in 2008. I have noted that by Exhibit C2 i.e. Circular letter Ref. No. SSD. 1387 /S7 /VIII/ 131 dated 3rd December, 1982 showing that the claimant passed the combined confirmation/promotion exam held on 3/12/1982 to grade level 05 before his ordeal started. The claimant gave evidence that his salaries was stopped in April 1985 when their prosecution commenced. After the claimant was reinstated vide Exhibit C9 he was paid the sum of (Nl41,658.99) on the 12/3/2008 as shown on Exhibit C13. The claimant had passed his combined confirmation/ promotion exams for promotion to grade level 05, in 1982 as shown by Exhibit C2, before his salary was stopped. So effectively the claimant was on grade level O5 before he voluntarily retired on the 14/1/2009. The claimant gave evidence in paragraph 19 of his witness deposition that the proper computation his my salaries, allowances and promotion from 1985 when his salaries was stopped by the 1st defendant to December 2008 amounted to (N5,818,089.00 (Five Million, Eight Hundred and Eighteen Thousand, Eight-Nine Naira) based on an expected graduation from grade level 05 in 1985 to grade level 13 in December 2008 the particulars of which are as contained in schedule “AA” to his statement; which less than the sum of N 141,658.99 accredited to his Diamond Bank account on the 12/3/2008 by the first defendant. This gives a balance of N5,676,431.00 (five million, six Hundred and Seventy-Six Thousand, Four Hundred and Thirty One Naira). The claimant also tendered Exhibit C17, C18, C19, C20, C21, C22 and C23 which are the approved government circulars in respect of the computation and payment of the salaries and other emoluments of the claimant in prove of his entitlement to the sum claimed. These pieces of evidence were never challenged. This court is left with no option than to accept the evidence as proof of the claimant’s claims in this suit. See the case of Mobil Producing NIG. UNLT & Anor. V. Udoh  LPELR-8440(CA) The claimant in his amended writ is claiming the sum of N 5,677.866.71 however the claimant gave evidence in proof of a less sum of N 5,676,431.00, the law is trite and it is that a court can grant a lesser sum proved and not a sum higher than what is claimed. In the case of Olarewaju V. Oyegun & Ors  LPELR 6045(CA). The court while considering this principle held. It is settled law that a court not being a charitable institution cannot award more than what is claimed by a party. And depending on the extent of proof a court can however award less than what is claimed. See Ekpeyong V. Nyong  SC 71 at 80. See also AG. Cross River State V. AG. Federation  LPELR-3159 (SC). Acting on the strength of the above authority This court accordingly enters Judgment in the sum of N 5,676,431.00 in favour of the claimant against the defendant. The claimant has also claimed 3 reliefs in the alternative. The law is settled and it is that a party to an action may seek his relieves in the alternative but the main and alternative relieves cannot be granted at the same time. In ACCESSBANK Plc V. Sijuwade  LPELR-40188. The Supreme Court held ‘It is trite law in law that a main claim and alternative relief cannot be granted at the same time’. See also the case of G.K. Investment Nig. Ltd V. Nigeria Telecommunications Plc. 7NSCNJ 92 at 116 paragraph 5-10, The claimant having succeeded in his main relief, The other alternative reliefs are hereby refused and accordingly dismissed. On Relief No 5 The claimant claims 500% interest on the arrears of salary. The claimant offered no evidence as to his right to claim interest. In a civil claim interest cannot be claimed as a matter of course. The law on the issue of interest is as stated in the case of Afribank Nig. Plc V. Aminu Ishola Investment Ltd.  LPELR-10929. Where the Court of Appeal held that; ‘It is trite law, and both counsel are agreed that a party will be entitled to claim interest where the claim is as of right e.g. by agreement or where it is supported by statute or mercantile custom or convention’. Also in London Chatham & Dover Railway V. S. E. Railway  AC 429 at 434, the court held ‘Where interest is being claimed as a matter of right, the proper practice is to claim entitlement to it on the writ and plead facts which show such entitlement in the statement of claim’. The claimant in this suit not only failed to plead facts to show his entitlement to the interest claimed but failed to lead evidence entitling him to the interest. This court is unable to grant the said relief. Accordingly the relief fails and is accordingly dismissed. On Relief No 6 The claimant also claims the sum of N 5 million naira as general damages for the frustration suffered by the claimant during his employment with the 1st defendant. The question is whether this court can award general damages having regard to the circumstances of this case. This court would have to consider whether any damages flowed from the wrong complained off by the claimant. The claimant testified that after he was discharged vide Exhibit C5, a Senior State Counsel K. Atey Esq issued a document ie Exhibit C6 dated 27/9/1994, stating that the claimant has been discharge and that the claimant Fundamental Rights should be respected and that he should be recalled back to work. This document was served on the 1st defendant. He also wrote Exhibit C7 dated 8/11/94, requesting to be reinstated. The 1st defendant did not deem it necessary to reinstate the claimant. His solicitor also wrote Exhibit C8 dated 14/2/2006 demanding his immediate recall and payment of his entitlement. The defendant only reinstated the claimant vide Exhibit C9 on the 8/9/2006 after a period of 12years from 31/3/94 when he was discharged. Despite the fact that by Exhibit C11 the Minister had directed that the claimant emolument be paid since on the 12/9/2007, the agent of the defendant the Principal Federal Government College Port-harcourt for some undisclosed reason refused to pay the emolument. The claimant testified that it was out of the frustration arising from the refusal to pay his salaries that he applied to voluntarily retired vide Exhibit C14 from the services of the 1st defendant. These pieces of evidence were never challenged. The refusal to reinstate the claimant after his discharge and the refusal to pay his salaries up to when this suit was filed is in the opinion of this court a serious infraction which has caused grave inconveniences to the claimant and his family. The denial of the use of his salaries and allowances has caused damages to the claimant. In the light of the above this court in inclined to award damages against the defendant. Accordingly the defendant shall pay to the claimant the sum Of N 1,000,000= (One million naira) as general damages to the claimant. On the whole the claim of the claimant in this suit succeeds in part. Judgement is hereby entered accordingly.