JUDGMENT 1. Vide a general form of complaint dated and filed on 16/8/2017, the Claimant commenced this suit praying for: (a) Declaration that the termination of the appointment of the claimant in the guise of a dismissal by the defendant is illegal, void, wrongful and of no effect. (b) An order of Court mandating the re-instatement of the claimant to his duty post with promotions due and payment of all entitlement till date – - Basic Salary - Allowances (c) N5m as general damages for wrongful dismissal from service. (d) Cost of this action and incidental expenses. 2. The complaint was accompanied by statement of facts, witness statement on oaths, list of witnesses, list of documents to be relied on and photocopies of documents to be tendered in evidence. 3. Upon service of the originating processes commencing this suit, the claimant entered appearance and filed statement of defence which was accompanied by witness statement on oaths, list of witnesses, list of documents to be relied on and photocopies of documents to be tendered in evidence. On 2/7/19, the court granted order for amendment and deemed the amended statement of defence dated 14/5/19 and filed on 15/5/19 as properly filed and served. The defendant filed an amended statement of defence on 15/5/2019. 4. The claimant on 2/5/19 testified in proof of his case as CL. CL after adopting his witness statement on oath tendered 18 documents in evidence they were admitted and marked accordingly as exhibits CLA – CLR. 5. The case of the claimant is that he was employed by the defendant vide letter dated 11/5/1989, the letter of employment was tendered and admitted in evidence as exhibit CLA1-2. His appointment was confirmed by letter dated 13/8/1990, with effect from 31/7/1990. He was promoted to the rank of Deputy Manager with effect from 1/6/1995 by letter dated 20/6/1995, exhibit CLD. The claimant worked for the defendant for slightly above 10 years with his last place of posting Abuja headquarters office. He stated that during the 1999 promotion examination he was evaluated and recommended for promotion to the position of Bank examiner. He stated that while in service he was diagnosed with Hepatitis B which was confirmed by the defendant’s doctor. That based on the recommendation of the doctor he started seeking alternative routes to correct his medical challenge since there were no available facilities in Nigeria. He stated that he was exposed to over 20 X-Rays by the defendant doctors and further took comprehensive medical exams using approved clinics by the defendant. He was nominated and participated for the 1999 overseas management skills of Federal Reserve Bank USA. 6. That while in USA he had opportunity of seeking medical attention and he wrote to the defendant requesting for a two years study leave which was the only and ever such request from him since engagement. He stated that to his consternation without query or warning nor notice he received a dismissal/termination of appointment letter mischievously backdated to October 1999. He stated that in issuing termination letter defendant was not considerate that the claimant was on sick bed. He stated he was never queried nor found wanting throughout the period of his service. CL stated that while in USA he undertook different medical treatments. That after his treatment and full recovery he returned home and wrote to the defendant, requesting to be reinstated to his duties but to no avail. His lawyers also wrote to defendant for his reinstatement. All his pioneer colleagues who are currently in service occupy position as assistance directors or deputy directors. 7. Under cross-examination CL testified that he worked for over ten years with the defendant before moving to USA. That he rose to position of deputy manager and was evaluated, recommended and approved for manager. That he was aware of conditions and procedure of the defendant. He was recommended for treatment in US, the period is as stated in the document exhibit CLE. He was to return to office on 20/9/99. He never returned on 20/9/99. That he sought for verbal approval. He did not return. He does not have any written permission. He sought for consent of his Zonal Director in Kano and Director of Head office. Based on verbal consent he sent document by fax exhibit CLG. The purpose why he sought for the consent was to study as he was advised. He wrote exhibit CLG. There was nowhere in the letter where he mentioned ill-health. He did not mention issue study admission or university he was going to study. The study leave was not approved He stayed for 6 years and he is still in USA. While he was in USA his family were staying at the defendant’s quarters. It was in March 2000 that his letter of dismissal was sent to him. He got the notice in April 2000. His letter of employment does not contain conditions of appointment that he was aware of conditions and procedure of the defendant. He accepted terms of employment staying away for this period is not misconduct. Since he got consent of his Director. The medical documents were not generated from 2000. The time and labour put there were paid for it. THE CASE FOR THE DEFENDANT. 8. One Anani Benedict Oluwaseun, testified in the defence of the defendant as DW1. DW1 after adopting his witness statement on oaths, sought to tender eight documents in evidence, seven out of the eight documents were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits DWA to DWG, while one document was rejected. 9. The case of the defendant is that the claimant was its former employee whose appointment was summarily dismissed for breach of condition of service. That he has ceased to be staff of the defendant. The claimant was sent to attend a training to improve his capacity but stayed away without lawful authority for several years. The defendant never approved treatment of claimant abroad, as he did not notify or was authorised to stay away from work on account of such treatment. The claimant was summarily dismissed for staying away from work. The claimant’s action is statute barred. The claimant not entitle to any declaration or order of reinstatement damages in the sum of N5 Million Naira or cost. 10. Under cross-examination, DW1 stated that he is 31years of age. That he was 12 years when this issue crop up. That he joined the services of the defendant in 2017. The facts deposed were from the record in the office. The claimant stayed away from the date he was to resume duty to the date of his dismissal. It is correct the defendant acknowledge receipt of exhibit DWE from record there was no reply to exhibit DWC, he did not left address of his contact exhibit CLA1-2 is correct. There is acknowledgement of his letter of dismissal. The letter was received by his wife. It is before the court. Extract 06/12/99 is for meeting of 22. The dismissal of claimant commences on 20/10/99. The letter of leave is dated 25/9/99 exhibit DWF was communicated to him by dismissal letter. THE SUBMISSION OF THE DEFENDANT. 11. The Defendant submitted two issues for determination. They are:- 1. whether this suit is statute barred and failed in the circumstance to invoke the jurisdiction of this honourable court? In the event that this court answers the above question in the negative; 2. Whether having regard to the pleadings and evidence in this matter Claimant has established a claim to be entitled to the reliefs sought. 12. Legal argument and submissions: ISSUE ONE Whether this suit is statute barred and failed in the circumstance to invoke the jurisdiction of this honourable court thereof? 13. In arguing issue one counsel for the defendant contended that the Claimant’s action is statute barred, because it was filed outside the period allowed by the law. It is submitted that the cause of action in this suit accrued since March of 2000.This much was admitted by the Claimant under cross examination of 2nd May, 2019. Where he stated thus: “In March, 2000, they sent my dismissal letter. I got notice of my dismissal in 2000.” It is also submitted that Claimant acknowledged in his appeal letter to the corporation, Exhibit CLI 1-5, that he received notice of his dismissal in March, 2000 which contradicts his claim in paragraph 14 of his statement of facts, that his dismissal letter was mischievously backdated. According to counsel evidence obtained under his cross examination forms part of the case of the Claimant and can be relied on by the opposing party to establish defendant’s case or demolish the case of the other party. On this submission reliance was placed on the case of Iheanacho V Chigere (2004)7 (Pt II) 49. It is also contended that no better evidence exists against a party than the one from the witness called by that party who gives evidence contrary to his own case. On this contention counsel relied on the case of Odi V Iyala (2004) 4SC (Pt I) 20. 14. It is contended that the cause of action in this suit arose in March, 2000. This case was filed on 16th August, 2017. Defendant has pleaded the defence that this action is statute barred both under the Public Officers Protection Act and under the Limitation Act. 15. Section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Act provides thus: a) “Where any action, prosecution, or proceeding is commenced against any person for any act done in pursuance or execution or intended execution of any Act or law or of any public duty or authority, or in respect of any alleged neglect or default in the execution of any such Act, Law, duty or authority, the following provisions shall have effect – Limitation of time - The action, prosecution, or proceeding shall not lie or be instituted unless it is commenced within three months next after the act, neglect or default complained of, or in case of a continuance of damage or injury, within three months next after the ceasing thereof: - Provided that if the action, prosecution or proceeding be at the instance of any person for cause arising while such person was a convict or prisoner, it may be commenced within three months after the discharge of such person from prison.” It is provided under Section 7(1) (a) of the Limitation Act thus: - “The following actions shall not be brought after the expiration of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued: Actions founded on simple contract ….” 16. According to counsel the two legislations stated above have similar effects on the rights or otherwise of the Claimant. Counsel contended that a court is competent when it is properly constituted as regards numbers and qualifications of members of the bench and no member is disqualified for one reason or another; the subject matter of the case is within its jurisdiction, and there is no feature in the case which prevents the Court from exercising its jurisdiction; and the case comes before the court initiated by due process of law and upon fulfilment of any condition precedent to the exercise of jurisdiction. See Madukolu V Nkemdilim (1962)1 All NLR 587. 17. Section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Act requires a Claimant who is aggrieved by the action of a Public Officer to institute his claims against the Defendant within three months from the date the cause of action arose. 18. Counsel contended that by the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Ibrahim V JSC (1998)12 SC 20, where the apex court had held that an action against any person as provided and used under Section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Act includes corporations sole, like the Judicial Service Commission, a statutory body being a public authority contemplated under the Act, the defendant is a Public Officer. The action is against acts done in pursuance or execution or intended execution of any Act or Law or any public duty or authority, or in respect of any alleged neglect or default in the execution of any such Act or law. 19. It is the contention of counsel for the Defendant that for any suit to be commenced against a public officer it must be commenced within three months from the date the cause of action arose. The conduct complained against was the dismissal of the Complainant from service, being one carried out in the lawful execution of duty by a public authority. However, the cause of action as admitted by the Claimant at cross examination arose in March, 2000 when he received notice of his dismissal. This suit was to be commenced within three months from March,2000.This matter was commenced on 16th August,2017, seventeen clear years after the cause of action arose. A cause of action is the totality of the facts complete in themselves to establish a claim. Since it is the Claimant’s statement of facts and the reliefs that the court will look to determine whether or not it has jurisdiction, Olagunju & Anor V PHCN(2011)4SC(Pt I),the Claimant’s statement of facts and accompanying documents which forms part of his pleadings, particularly the letter of dismissal Exhibit DWD of 29th March, 2000 and his acknowledgement of receipt of the said letter; exhibit CLI 1-5,it is very clear that this cause of action has become stale and is therefore statute barred. 20. It is argued by counsel that as explained in Ibrahim V JSC (Supra), the Public Officers Protection Act is a statute of limitation and the general principle of law is that where a statute provides for the institution of an action within a prescribed time, the action shall not be brought after the time prescribed by such statute is totally barred as the right of the Plaintiff or injured person to commence the action would have been extinguished by such law. On this contention counsel relied on the case of AG Rivers State V AG Bayelsa State & Anor (2012) 7SC (Pt II). 21. Counsel also contended that it was held in Olagunju & Anor V PHCN (Supra) that when a defendant contends that the action of the Plaintiff is statute barred, he is raising an issue of jurisdiction of the court concerned on points of law because where an action of the Plaintiff is found to be statute barred, it means that the court has no jurisdiction to entertain it however meritorious the case may be. The success of that point of law takes away the right of action from the Plaintiff leaving him with an empty unenforceable cause of action. 22. Counsel adopted his argument under section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Act, to support his position in respect of the second leg of objection on Section 7(1)(a) of the Statute of Limitation to the effect that considering when the cause of action arose, Claimant’s action is statute barred, incompetent and cannot invoke the jurisdiction of this honourable court. The action is based on the contract of employment wherein Claimant was summarily dismissed for breach of his conditions of service. His complaint ought to have come not later than six years from the date when the cause of action arose. This action is statute barred by virtue of Section 7(1) (a) of the Limitation Act and is therefore incompetent. Claimant cannot approach the court to enforce a right, if any, at all. 23. ISSUE TWO: Whether having regard to the pleadings and evidence in this matter Claimant has established a claim to be entitled to the reliefs sought. 24. Counsel contented that it is settled law that a claimant who seeks a declaratory order or relief must prove to the satisfaction of the court the rights which entitles him to the order or relief which he seeks. In fact it has long been established in civil matters that the onus of proof lies on the Claimant to satisfy the court by cogent and credible evidence that he is entitled on the evidence adduced by him to the declaration sought in his claim. In this regard the Claimant may rely on the strength of his own case and not on the weakness of Defendant’s case. To support this view counsel relied on the decision in the case of Elema V Akenzua 6 SCNJ 226 @231 and 238.See also Otaru & Sons Ltd V Idris (1999) 4 SCNJ 156@184, Katto V CBN(1999) 5 SCNJ 1@ 12. 25. It is the contention of counsel that the entire gamut of Claimant’s pleadings were to the effect that his dismissal from service was a guise and that it ought to have been a termination and not one for summary dismissal with respect to which he was not entitled to any benefits. This was however not proved to merit a declaration of right to his benefit. 26. According to counsel the facts of this case are clear. Claimant, a senior staff in the defendant’s office was nominated to attend training with the Reserve Bank of the United States from 15th to 17th of September, 1999 and was to resume work in his office in Kano on 20th September, 1999.He failed to resume work on that day. He had subsequently sent a letter via fax and leaving no forwarding address noting that he would not resume until much later in October. He did not obtain a written permission to stay away from work. He claimed however that his immediate superior had given him oral permission. He did not bring him to testify to this claim. What is on record anyway, is contrary to the claim that he had a parol permission to stay away from work, was the internal memo, a written complaint to the headquarters Exhibit DWB, indicating that Claimant had not resumed at his duty post. Exhibit DWE and DWF are evidence of the process of Claimant’s dismissal for being absent from work for one month under Section 7(a) iii) of the Conditions of Service; Exhibit DWG. The dismissal letter of 29th March, 2000; Exhibit DWD indicated the period of one month absence from work being the period of absence on the strength of which he was summarily dismissed. Claimant was away from work from 20th September to 20th October being one month contemplated under Section 7(a)iii) of Exhibit DWG; a condition of service which he accepted under his contract of employment to be dismissed without notice and salary in lieu, in a matter of such gross misconduct which attracts summary dismissal. See Exhibit DWA1-2.Claimant had no evidence to contradict the fact of his being absent from work from the said period. He had admitted being away from work without evidence of authorisation. His application for leave showed no evidence of his claims that he was ill nor did it show any evidence of admission into any school as he claimed. He had therefore not established a right to be entitled to the declaration which he seeks. By the way, Claimant is not to dictate to the defendant the offence under which he was charged and dismissed. His letter of disengagement which he admitted to have received read clearly and explained the grounds of disengagement. It was one of dismissal which was ratified as shown in Exhibit DWF. Claimant was expected to plead and prove his terms and conditions of employment and to explain how these terms and conditions of service were breached which he failed to do. On this contention counsel relied on the decisions in the cases of Katto V CBN (Supra), Iwuchukwu V Nwizu (1994)7NWLR (Pt 357) at 379,412. 27. It is the contention of counsel for the defendant that the Claimant was indeed dismissed within the terms of his employment. An employer is after all not bound to explain its reason for dismissing an employee, although it will be expected to justify the reason if a reason is given for the dismissal. This has been given in Exhibit DWD being his dismissal letter wherein the terms and conditions breached by his misconduct was spelt out. The Claimant has not established his right of entitlement to a declaratory relief nor indeed any of the other reliefs that he has sought in this case. 28. In concluding his argument counsel insisted that the Claimant’s claim is stale and barren having been brought outside the time limited by both the Public Officers Protection Act and the Limitation Act. Being statute barred, this court’s jurisdiction has not been invoked. The law is settled that jurisdiction is the life wire of a suit without which a court labours in vain such that no matter how well conducted, is to no end. Counsel also insisted that there is no merit in the case of the Claimant. Apart from the fact that his case is dead on arrival having not pleaded nor tendered the terms and conditions of his employment to enable the court determine the evil complained against, he has not proved an entitlement to the right for which he seeks a declaration. Counsel urged the court to dismiss the case of the Claimant with punitive cost as same is simply vexatious. THE SUBMISSION OF THE CLAIMANT. 29. The Claimant formulated two issues for resolution. They are:- 1. Whether the claimant has discharged the burden of establishing his case to sustain Judgment in his favour. 2. Whether the case of the claimant is statute barred. 30. ISSUE: Whether the claimant has discharged the burden of establishing his case to sustain Judgment in his favour. 31. In arguing issue one counsel contended the was as a pioneer staff and served the Defendant for upwards, of 10 years. He was recommended and approved for permanent and pensionable appointment. Given the Outright dismissal juxtaposed alongside the claimant’s years of public service rendered and his willingness to continue to contribute his quota to national development, it is objectionable, ill-conceived to throw him out of the way with no terminal benefits. 32. It is contended that where allegations have been made against an employee, the employer is entitled to set up a panel to investigate the allegations. Such an investigation Panel is not in Court of trial. It is enough if it gives to any of the persons whose names featured in the enquiry the opportunity of making some representations, Oral or written before it. In the process of investigation, it can receive its information from any source. Once the Panel concludes its inquiry and makes up its mind that any point had prima facie been made out which points to the fault of any person, the employer must first inform such an employee of the case against him and give him the opportunity to refute, explain or contradict it or otherwise exculpate himself by making any representation or defence thereto before the employer can Lawfully use those points as bases for dispensing with his services. See UBA Plc vs. Oranuba (2014)2 NWLR (pt.1390) I. Baba vs. NCATC (1991)5 NWLR (pt 192) 388. 33. An employee cannot be warned or dismissed for a specific misconduct in the absence of adequate opportunity afforded him to justify or explain same. Before an employer can dispense with the services of his employee all he needs to do is to afford the employee an opportunity of being heard before exercising his power of summary dismissal, even where the allegations for which the employee is being dismissed involves accusation of crime – See UBA Plc vs. Oranuba (Supra). Yusuf vs. UBN Ltd (1996)6 NWLR (pt 457) 632. 34. According to counsel, it is not in dispute that Claimant was offered and he accepted and was employed by the defendant see exhibit CL-A 1 – 2, CL B & CL C and corroborated by the defendants. Counsel further argued that it is in evidence and not disputed that claimant was dismissed for no reason and without notice and which contravenes his terms of engagement. It is contended that Public Service is not the personal estate of an individual, it is regulated by rules and employment and disciplinary issues are particularly regulated by the statute establishing the individual organizations. 35. Counsel posited that it is unconscionable that the defendant will purport to dismiss the Claimant without notice and without serving him with the reason for neither dismissal nor the opportunity of putting up a defence. The sequence of facts contained in the claimant’s statement and the evidence manifested including those of the defendants sustains the facts that the purported dismissal of the claimant is illegal, null and void. 36. It is the contention of counsel that the Claimant was compelled to use the opportunity provided by his study in the USA to take care of his failing Health pleaded vide paragraph 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and formerly sought approval vide exhibit ……….. and which was acknowledged by the defendant and established before this Honourable Court. 37. It is the contention of counsel that it is an open secret that while serving the defendant, the claimant was confirmed and diagnosed with Hepatitis B by the NDIC approved doctors and the corporation was provided with the details and their recommendations. Based on that fact the Doctors were of the opinion that if left untreated and the sickness becomes chronic, such condition could pose threat to him, family and NDIC Community. The only treatment available then was overseas; none was available in Nigeria and ceasing the opportunity of his stay in the USA to undergo the needed treatment on the condition that he had to be physically present to undergo the required treatments and evaluation. 38. The claimant called evidence manifestly establishing paragraph 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19 of his claim and backed with exhibits ……………… and which where never controverted by the defendants and even where he formerly requested a cause and while expecting a reply either of acceptance or refusal he was communicated of dismissal Letter and without query. It is trite that in action for wrongful dismissal from employment, the burden is always on the claimant to prove the terms and conditions of his contract of employment and in what manner the such terms where breached by the employer. UBA vs. Oranuba (Supra). Angel Spinning &Dyeing Nigeria Ltd vs. Ajah (2000)13 NWLR (pt 685) 532 and we submit that claimant has effectively discharged all the paragraph of his claim before this Court and paragraph _______ of the act as tendered by the defendant in the Unlawful dismissal of the claimant. 39. It is the contention of counsel that where an employer dismisses his employee, the duty on the Court is to determine whether due process was followed having regard to the terms of the contract of employment and that the employee is paid his entitlement in the circumstances – UBN Plc. vs Soares (2012)11 NWLR. Where an employee establishes that his dismissal is ultra-vires such employee should be returned to his position. In other words, where the Court holds that the termination of employment is ultra-vires null and void, it automatically places the status of an employee to where he was as if nothing happened. FMC Ido-Ekiti vs. Alabi (2012)2 NWLR p.411. 40. Counsel ended his submission on this issue by contending that it is the dismissal of the claimant is unjust, illegal, ill conceived, unsustainable, null, void and of no effect as we urge you to so hold, resolve this issue in favour of the claimant as granting the relieves vide para 22a – d of his claim. 41. ISSUE TWO: ‘’Whether the case of the claimant is statute barred.’’ 42. It is submitted that given the circumstances involving sickness and death that the claimant was facing and that if care is not taken, there was no way for anybody to Imagine fixing an arbitrary time limit life threating situation such as that faced by the claimant should have no strict time limitations following calculations until he gets certified treated and medically fit by those specialist doctors. 43. The claimant communicated the defendant every step of the way through his treatment. He pleaded vide paragraph 12, 13, 17, 19 of his claim and proved in Court through exhibit and testimony unchallenged that he wrote to the defendant but unfortunately they refuse to reply to any of the correspondences. Claimant pleads at para 13 that “he formally wrote to NDIC requesting for a two years Study Leave”– admitted as Exhibit ______ yet no response, rather out of deliberate mischief he was served with a dismissal letter 6 months after but rather backdated to Oct 1999 see Exbt ______ 44. Claimant vide para 19 wrote to the defendant seeking his reinstatement, tendered Exbt ________, No Counter, No denial, No reply. 45. Claimant wrote as pleaded vide para 20 of his claim through his counsel as admitted in Evidence as Exbt ______, No response, No denial, No Counter and then out of this Obvious frustration and trauma approached this Court seeking the relieves as manifest vide the claim. 46. It is not to be expected that reconciling the claim, the Exhibits, the testimonies that this matter shall be buried on the cover of limitation. 47. For the purposes of determination of whether an action is statute barred, time can only begin to run when there is in existence a person who can sue and one who can be sued. Maduka vs. Ogbonna (2011)1 NWLR (pt 1227) p 153. Adaji vs. Amodu (1992)8 NWLR (pt 210) 472. It is in evidence that the claimant sought Approval to attend to his health and for study Leave and further pleaded and tendered the various treatments he undertook and the results Exbt ______ which were not denied by the defendants. 48. It is trite also that the Law on Limitation requires of exceptions. Thus, where there has been a continuance of the damage a fresh cause of action arises from time to time, on this submission counsel relied on A. G. Rivers State vs. A. G. Bayelsa State (2013)3 NWLR p. 123. Aremo II vs. Adekaye (2004)13 NWLR exbt _______ was done on _____________________ and application for leave Exbt ________ was done on ____________________ the Medical report Exbts ________ dated _______________________ and Letter from counsel Exbt ______ and considering deliberate act of not responding to notices and the Civil act of the Claimant exploiting all remedies, it is therefore safe to concludes that the act of dismissing the claimant without proper procedure is ab initio void and cannot be explained away on the pedestal of Limitation and furthermore the Limitation Act can only be invoked and reconciling the facts and sequence of events in contravention and which at best will be given to run from 2016 as it is trite that the document to be considered in determination of Limitation of action are the writ of summons and statement of claim only – Anokwu vs. Eze (2012)11 NWLR p.50. Woherem vs. Emeranwa (2004)13 NWLR (pt.890) 398. Ebekwe vs. ISEMB (2009)5 NWLR (pt 1976)6. 49. It is contended that the deliberate, malicious, ill-motivated, wrongful dismissal of the Claimant was against established norms cannot be waived away on the altar of Limitation especially when the defendants refused to respond to all correspondences extended to them by the Claimant except the hearing notice from this Court. 50. Counsel also adopted his reply to preliminary objection as his argument on issue two and urged the court to discountenance and dismiss the preliminary objection as lacking in merit. 51. In concluding his submission counsel submitted that the dismissal of the claimant is in bad faith, it is wrong it is immoral, indefensible in the sight of man and God. 52. The Court is the last hope of the Claimant as his contributions, diligence, sacrifice in service from the Local Government, to state to NDIC should not be carelessly thrown overboard. Counsel urged the court to so hold as where it is established that employment has statutory flavour and the Court finds that removal is ultra-vires, null and void. The employee should be return to his position, as it automatically places the statues of an employee to where he was as if nothing happened. FMC Ido Ekiti vs. Alabi (Supra). Fakorade vs. OAUTH (1993)5 NWLR (pt 291) 47. COURT’S DECISION: 53. I have considered the processes filed in this suit as well as both written and oral submissions of counsel for both parties. 54. I must state from the onset that the facts of this case are straight forward and not complicated. There are two issues to be resolved in this suit. They are:- 1. Whether this suit as it is presently constituted is statute barred. 2. Whether the claimant is entitled to the reliefs sought in this suit. RESOLUTION OF ISSUE ONE 55. On statute of limitation, the defendant raised the issue of statute of limitation as a defence in the statement of defence of the defendant. 56. It was contended by counsel for the defendant that this suit is statute barred by virtue of both section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act and section 7(1) (d) of the Limitation Law. According to counsel the cause of action in this suit having arisen in year 1999 and this suit was instituted on 16th day of August 2017, that is to say seventeen years after accrual of cause of action. This has rendered the suit statute barred for having not been commenced within the period allowed by the limitation law. 57. To the claimant, the defence of Limitation law cannot avail the defendant as the dismissal of the claimant did not follow due process there was no hearing accorded to the claimant before his dismissal from service his dismissal was therefore malicious and in bad faith the defence of limitation law does not apply to this suit. 58. I shall start my consideration of the defence of limitation law with section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act. There is no dispute that this action was instituted by the claimant to contest the validity of his dismissal from service of the defendant. This means that this suit is based on contract of employment. By the recent decision of the apex Court in the case of Revenue Mobiisation and Fiscal Commission & Ors. V Johnson & Ors. (2019) NWLR (Pt.1656) 274, per Ariwoola, JSC, it was held that the provisions of section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act is not applicable to cases of contract of employment. In the circumstance I have no difficulty in coming to conclusion that the provision of Section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act, does not apply to this case. Therefore, all the submissions made by counsel for both parties on section 2(a) are hereby discountenanced as not being applicable to this case. 59. On section 7(1)(a) It is provided under Section 7(1) (a) of the Limitation Act thus: “The following actions shall not be brought after the expiration of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued: b. Actions founded on simple contract ….” 60. The above provision of limitation law clearly shows that for any action based on simple contract to be validly commenced before the court it must be instituted within a period of six years. There is no disputing the fact that the contract of employment between the claimant and the defendant is simple contract since it was not made under seal in the circumstances the provision of section 7(1)(a) of the Limitation Law is applicable. 61. The claimant has by his own showing established that he was notified of his dismissal from service in April 2000. And this suit was instituted on 16th August of 2017 this means that it took the claimant seventeen years three months for him to bring this action. This clearly shows that this suit is caught by the limitation law of six years within which to institute an action in simple contract. The claimant having failed to institute this action within the six years period within which to bring this kind of action has lost his right of action, as well as right of enforcement of his cause of action due to his indolence to challenge his dismissal within the time allowed by the law. See British Airways Plc V Chief Funso Akinyosoye (1995) 1 NWLR (Pt.372) 722; (1994) LPELR-14175(CA); Power Products Int. Limited V Wema Bank Plc (2012) LPELR-7952(CA); Yakubu V NITEL Ltd (2006) 9 NWLR (Pt.985) 376; Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme V Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi (2011) LPELR-9228(CA). The effect of non-adherence to limitation law is loss of right of action and claim. I so hold. 62. The submission of counsel in his written address to the effect that for Limitation law to apply there must be in existence person who can sue and one to be sued is a correct proposition of law. As at the time the cause of action accrue in this suit there is in existence a person who can sue and a person who can be sued. The person who can sue is the Claimant. While the person who can be sued is the Defendant in this suit. There is no evidence before the court to establish that the Claimant was not in existence as at the date of accrual of cause of action. In fact the Claimant’s testimony to the effect that he was notified of his dismissal has proved that he was in existence. The mere fact that the Claimant is outside the shores of this Country does not support that the Claimant is non-existent. The existence is for the person to be a live and the Claimant was alive. See Agricultural Development Programme V Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi (supra); Asaboro V Pan Oceanic Oil (Nig) Ltd (2006) 4 NWLR (pt.971) 595; Mobil Oil Plc V Denr Ltd (2004) 1 NWLR (Pt853)142; NICON Insurance Company V Olowofoyeku (2006) 5 NWLR (Pt.973) 244. For an action to be commenced all that is required is to have the cause of complaint and the person to be sued. See Agricultural Development Programme V Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi (supra); where it was held ‘’Thus, once there is grievance and a defendant, a suit should be initiated.’’ Per Donban-Mensem, JCA, (as he then was now PCA). 63. The finding that this suit is caught by the General Limitation law of six years period within which to institute an action bothering on simple contract is enough to dispose of this suit. However, I shall proceed to determine the second issue for determination, so that in the event of an appeal, the Court of Appeal will have the opportunity of having the views of this court on the substantive suit. 64. The main grouse of the claimant is that he did not deserve to be dismissed from the service of the defendant having regards to the facts that he served the defendant for a period of over ten years without any query or warning. According to the claimant the last promotion interview he attended he was recommended for promotion from the post of Deputy Manager to the post of a manager. He stated while in the service of the defendant he was diagnosed with Hepatitis B on the recommendation of the defendant’s doctors he started seeking for alternative routes to correct his medical challenge since there were no available facilities in Nigeria. Thus, when he was nominated and participated for the 1999 overseas management skills of Federal Reserve Bank USA, at the completion of the training he used the opportunity to seek medical attention. Consequently, he wrote to the defendant requesting for a two years study leave and which was the only and ever such request from him since his engagement by the defendant. But, to his consternation and without query, warning, nor notice he received a dismissal/termination of appointment letter mischievously backdated to October 1999. The defendant was not considerate enough to appreciate that he was on seek (sic) bed in issuing the termination letter. While in USA he under took several medical treatments and checks. After his treatment and full recovery he returned home and wrote the defendant requesting for re-instatement to his duty but to no avail. Due to refusal by the defendant to respond he engaged the services of a counsel who wrote to the defendant. 65. It is based on the above facts that the claimant is seeking for declaration that the termination of the appointment of the claimant in the guise of a dismissal by the defendant is illegal, void, wrongful and of no effect. He is also praying for an order of court mandating the re-instatement of the claimant to his duty post with promotion and payment of all entitlements till date. Basic salary, allowances. N5 Million Naira damages for wrongful dismissal from service and cost of action and incidental expenses. 66. For the defendant the claimant was dismissed from the service of the defendant due to his refusal to resume work after the completion of training at USA which he was nominated to attend. The defendant never approved the claimant’s treatment abroad as he did not notify nor was he authorized to stay away from work on account of such treatment abroad. The defendant received letter of complaint on absence of the claimant and acted on it. The claimant was dismissed when nothing was heard from the claimant and when the claimant was not authorised to stay away from work. It was stated the claimant was gainfully employed while in USA while he unlawfully absconded from his duty post with the defendant and seeks to now enjoy the better of two worlds. 67. It appears the claimant in this suit want to dictate to the defendant the kind of disciplinary action to be taken against him. This is because the claimant is alleging that he did not deserve to be dismissed from service of the defendant because of length of service. However, the law is that where a claimant is contesting his dismissal/termination of appointment he is calling for determination of whether the dismissal/termination is in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract of employment between the parties. Where the dismissal/termination is in compliance with the contract of employment the matter ended there. But, where it is found not to be, then the next question; is what is the measure of damages recoverable in the circumstances of the case. See Imonikhe V Unity Bank Plc (2011) 5 SC (pt.1) 104 @ 126-129, Paras 25-20. 68. Where an employee complains that his employment was illegally dismissed or terminated he has onus of placing before the court the terms of the contact of employment before proceeding to prove the manner the said terms were breached by the employer. In proving his case the claimant is required to by law to show that he was an employee of the defendant and, proved the terms and conditions of service and show how the conditions of service were breached by the defendant. It is not the duty of the defendant to an action brought by the employee to prove any such breach. See Amodu V Amode (1990) 9-10 Sc 61, Iwuchukwu V Nwizu (1994) 7 NWLR (Pt.357) 379 @ 412, Ibama V Shell (2005) 10 SC 62 @ 74, paras 10-40. 69. In attempt to prove his case the claimant tendered exhibit CLA1-2, letter of offer of appointment dated 11/5/1989, Exhibit CLB confirmation of appointment dated 13/8/1990, exhibit CLC letter of confirmation of appointment dated 22/1/1991, exhibit CLD letter of promotion dated 20/6/1995, exhibit CLH letter of dismissal dated 29/3/2000. With these exhibits the claimant has established that he was employed by the defendant his appointment was confirmed and during the period of his employment he was promoted. However, despite the provision in exhibit CLA1-2, the letter of appointment stating that the claimant’s appointment is governed by the defendant’s conditions of service, which the claimant admitted under cross-examination of being conversant and familiar with the conditions of service, but failed and neglected to tender it to show how the conditions was breached by the defendant. 70. The defendant though not under any obligation to tender the conditions of service, it never the less tendered it in defence, as exhibit DWG. 71. The defendant had insisted that the termination of the claimant’s employment was done in line with the provisions of Rule 7(a) (ii) of the Conditions of service exhibit DWG. While the claimant’s position is that his employment was terminated under the guise of dismissal without query or finding him wanting. The defendant in exhibit CLH letter of dismissal dated 29/3/2000, has stated the reason for dismissal of the claimant from service to be ‘’prolonged absence without permission’’ for the failure of the claimant to return to his duty post on completion of overseas training in USA on 20th September 1999, which violated section 7(a) (iii) of the defendant’s conditions of service. 72. In the circumstance of the instant case, is the defendant right in dismissing the claimant from service without giving him fair hearing? In dismissal cases, especially where an employer gives the reason for the dismissal, it is not for the employee to show that his dismissal was wrongful. It is for the employer to justify the said dismissal. The law is that once an employer gives a reason for terminating or dismissing an employee, the burden lies with him to justify the said reason. See Angel Shipping & Dyeing Ltd v. Ajah  13 NWLR (Pt. 685) 551 CA. In Institute of Health ABU Hospital Management Board v. Mrs Jummai R. I. Anyip  LPELR-1517(SC), the Supreme Court held that “although it is trite that an employer is not obliged to give any reason for firing his servant all the same it is settled law that where he has preferred any reason at all it is obliged to satisfactorily prove the same as the onus is on him in that regard, otherwise the termination/dismissal may constitute a wrongful dismissal without more.’’ See also George Abomeli v. Nigerian Railway Corporation  1 NWLR (Pt. 372) 451, Ogunsanmi v. C. F. Furniture (W.A.) Co. Ltd  1 All NLR 224 and Mr. Kunle Osisanya v. Afribank Nigeria Plc  All FWLR (Pt. 360) 1480 SC at 1491;  1 – 2 SC 317. In Exhibit CLH, letter of dismissal the defendant gave reason of prolonged absence as justification for dismissal of the claimant from service. 73. From the available evidence before the court the claimant has admitted being absent from work for the period for which he was dismissed from service as per exhibit CLH. From exhibit CLG which is an application for study leave dated 28/10/1999, but purportedly signed on 8/10/1999, that is to say the document was signed by the claimant before the date of preparation. The signing of this exhibit on 8/10/1999 before the date it was purportedly made i.e 28/10/1999 clearly exposed the desperation under which the said document was prepared. This has affected the evidential value of this piece of evidence in the circumstance I will not attach any evidential value to exhibit CLG as it was an afterthought document, because you cannot execute a document before it was prepared. 74. Exhibit CLI1-5, is an application for reinstatement to the service of the defendant. This document has abundantly established that the claimant absconded from duty, after he had been sent to attend training overseas. The Claimant decided on his own without permission of the defendant to remain in the United states of America beyond the time he was to attend the programme he was nominated to attend and returned back home on 20/9/1999 to resume duty. The claimant has attributed his action due to ill-health, which he claimed to be an open secret to the management of the defendant and his Zonal Director in Kano. He also stated that the doctors of the defendant have confided in him that there is no treatment of Hepatitis in Nigeria, but there is in Europe and America, thus why he decided to remain for treatment. He stated that he applied for study leave for two years on advice and for him to get visa extension to access medical treatment. 75. I do not think the claimant is serious about all he was saying in his pleading and exhibit CLI1-5 concerning his ill-health and further studies. The conditions of service governing the claimant’s employment which he stated to be conversant and familiar with under cross-examination has made ample provisions as to how an employee of the defendant can go about issue of ill-health and further studies. Exhibit DWG, which is the Certified True Copy of the Conditions of service in Article 21 of chapter 3 of the conditions of service made provisions for medical treatment both within and outside the country. 76. Under the heading: MEDICAL FACILITIES, the Defendant will provide free medical services to every member of staff and his/her children and including a maximum of two wives registered with the corporation by male staff. Where the corporation does not operate a clinic, such medical facilities will be obtained in appointed clinics. Overseas medical services may be provided under approved guidelines. Ante-natal expenses of wives of staff and of female employees will be borne by the corporation. 77. In chapter four Article 27. Provides: Any member of staff who is absent from duty on the ground of ill-health, if, such absence is authenticated by a certificate issued by one of the corporation’s doctor’s will be regarded as absence on sick leave. Sick leave certificate from health caters, teaching and general hospitals and other government-medical institution will equally be accepted. 78. In the case of a staff member who is taken ill in a town where a corporation’s doctor, government hospital or health center is not available, a certificate issued by an approved medical practitioner will be acceptable. The medical certificate issued in (a) and (b) above shall be produced within a week where the staff is outside the headquarters of the corporation or three (3) days if the staff is in the headquarters. The patient is responsible for drawing the doctor’s attention to this requirement. Salary may not be paid for absence from duty on the ground of ill-health not covered by the procedure laid down above and the corporation may also not be responsible for the medical expenses incurred. Provided there is reasonable prospect of eventual recovery and return to duty, permanent staff members will be allowed sick leave on full pay for a period of six months thereafter, if the sickness continues, another period of six months on half pay may be allowed subject to maximum of 365 days. Any sick leave allowed in excess of 365 days during a period of four years or less will be without pay. A staff member who has been sick continuously for six months will be sent to the corporations doctor for full medical examination. following the doctor’s report, the corporation may decide to either to retire him/her from the service on the ground of invalidity or allow further sick leave. 79. Where a staff member is absent through illness, he/she should ensure that his/her department/unit head is duly informed as soon as possible and communication should be arranged so as to reach the corporation on the day the staff member is first absent but not later than three 3 days from the first day of absence. For all other sick leave including single days, a certificate must be produced to the corporation. 80. Article 29 of chapter four makes provisions for study leave can be granted with pay or without pay for two and three years respectively. However, the grant is at the discretion of the management, it is not automatic for the asking. 81. The provisions of the conditions of service on medical health policy and sick leave are very clear and unambiguous. There is nothing before the court to establish that the claimant has notified the defendant of his ill-health when in USA, nor has the claimant produced any certificate in line with the extant regulation. In the circumstances I hereby affirmed the position of the defendant that it is not aware of the purported ill-health of the claimant. It is surprising that the claimant has not produced certificate from the defendant doctor stating his health condition to buttress his claim that his sickness is well known to the management of the Defendant. 82. The submission that the Claimant was compelled to use opportunity provided by his studies in USA to take care of his failing health has no supported by evidence. If Claimant has followed due process as contained in the Conditions of Service and the defendant refused to allow him to go for medical treatment the Claimant would have been justified in his submission, but he never informed the Defendant of his medical condition, even when he wrote to ask for leave of absence he was silence on his health. In the circumstances how can the Claimant say that he was compelled to seek for medical treatment in US. 83. On issue of not issuing query to claimant, I do not know how the claimant want the Defendant to query him when he has stayed away in the USA and he has indicated his intention of not coming back to resume his duty by the application he sent for two years leave of absence. Exhibit CLG is the application the claimant wrote for permission to go for two years study leave. This is a clear indication that the claimant did not intend to come back to resume duty after the training which he was sent to attend at USA. It is in evidence that the claimant was to resume duty at his duty post on 20/9/1999, but did not do that. All that he did was to send exhibit CLG letter for study leave which was written a Month and 7 days after he was to resume work. This means that as at the time the claimant wrote exhibit CLG he had been absent from work for one Month 7 days, this conduct is a clear case on which the defendant has the right to take disciplinary action against the Claimant on absebtism, which is a misconduct that is in a class of its own different from other misconducts that requires giving of query and may be, setting up of disciplinary committee to try the misconduct. 84. The offence of absentism more particularly for an employee that has left the shores of the country it will amount to not wanting to do the right things to say that employee must be queried before dismissal. In a similar case the Supreme Court affirmed the concurrent finding of the trial and Appeal Court decision to the effect that an employee that absconded from duty can be legally terminated without hearing from him. In the circumstance of this case when the claimant could not found within jurisdiction to be served with query, the dismissal of the claimant is in order. See Obo V Commissioner For Education Bendel state (2001) 1 SC (pt.ii) 52, @ 87-88, paras. 40-30. The claimant has by his own conduct in absconding from duty repudiated his contract of employment. The fax message clearly shows that the Claimant has no intention of coming back to the country. Thus, why he applied for study leave without the requisite supporting documents. 85. The assertion of the claimant that he stayed away to enable him take care of his failing health, run contrary to his application for two years study leave. The law requires a party to be consistent in his case. The application for two years leave to study and his claim to be treating himself clearly shows lack of coherence on part of the Claimant. He has not been truthful. The exhibits tendered to support claim for medical treatment have no evidential value as the documents were not tendered by maker. The claimant has also not called an expert to testify to convinced the court on the content of the documents. The claimant dumped those documents on court without linking them to the evidence. Some of the medical documents were not signed and have no authors. Therefore, they have no evidential value. The position of the law is well settled that unsigned document attract little or no evidential weight. Decision are legion where unsigned document was held to be ia worthless piece of paper that has no evidential value. See Global Soap & Detergent Ind. Ltd V NAFDAC (2011) LPELR-4202(CA); Amaizu V Nzerube (1989) 4 NWLR (Pt.118) 755; Salibawa V Habilat (1991) 7 NWLR (Pt.174) 461; Abeja & Anor. V Apeke (2013) LPELR-20675(CA). In view of this finding on the claimant’s case the purported medical health papers tendered by the claimant purportedly from United States of America cannot be accorded evidential value due to their inherent defects. 86. The Claimant has in his final written address urged the Court to reinstate him back to his position. Even if this court finds that the Claimant’s dismissal to be wrongful an order of reinstatement cannot be made. The reason being that the Claimant’s appointment is not one that is with statutory flavor. There is nothing in the Act establishing the Defendant to make Claimant’s employment to qualify as one with statutory flavor. The mere fact that Claimant has described himself to be a public servant does not mean that his employment is clothed with statutory flavor. See Fakuade V Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Management Board (1993) 5 NWLR (Pt.291) Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Management Board V Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Management Board V 47; (1993) 6 SCNJ 35; (1993) LPELR-1233(SC). 87. From all I have been saying above the claimant has not convinced me that he deserved not to have been dismissed. After all article 7(a)(iii) of the conditions of service gave power to the defendant to summarily dismiss the claimant which was done. I found that the claimant dismissal was legal and lawful in law as it was sanctioned by the conditions of service. 88. The Claimant’s action failed and all the reliefs sought are hereby dismissed for lacking in merit. 89. Judgment entered accordingly. Sanusi Kado, Judge. REPRESENTATION: Johnpaul C. Eze, Esq; for the Claimant Chidel Onuora, Esq; for the Defendant.