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DEAD END OF PUBLIC OFFICERS PROTECTION ACT IN A CONTRACT OF SERVICE: RESPITE FOR EMPLOYEES IN NIGERIA By John Oluwatomisin Akinselure

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Abstract

The Public Officer Protection Act (POPA) 1893 seems to have occasioned different forms of injustice in Nigeria. POPA has shielded a number of public officers and public institutions from liability arising from various civil wrongs thereby precluding and denying deserving litigants of legal reliefs. The escapist route provided by POPA for persons in the public offices leaves so much to be desired. The relic of this colonial law has caused untold hardship in the Nigerian jurisprudential sphere. Little wonder why most counsel place heavy reliance on POPA to extricate public officers even in the face of blatant commission of civil wrongs. POPA has been canvassed as a statutory bar even in employment relationship. However, it is heartwarming that the Supreme Court (in its recent decision) has affirmed the inapplicability of section 2a of POPA to contract of service. This decision has brought great respite to a number of aggrieved employees who could have fallen victim to the injustice occasioned by the continuous application of POPA. This work examines the Supreme Court decision in National Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission v. Ajibola Johnson & 10 Ors and a number of other case laws that have dealt a serious blow to the application of POPA in a contract of service. Primary and Secondary materials were consulted in this work. The work concludes that an outright repeal of POPA is not only desirable in employment relationship but also in other similar commercial transactions which involve public officers and governmental agencies.

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