The National Industrial Court of Nigeria in the Sokoto Judicial Division has ordered the Association of Kebbi State Secondary School Teachers (AKSSST) to refund to the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) the sum of N12,807,300.00 being the check-off dues of AKSSST collected between January 2007 to September 2009. Delivering the judgment yesterday in Sokoto, the Hon. Justice K. D. Damulak said that the claimant was on solid legal ground when it submitted that “The law is trite that collection of check off dues is an exclusive preserve of registered trade unions, section 2(1) of the Trade Unions Act. That the defendants cannot hide under the provision to the section because the check-off dues they received was not to aid their registration, but a benefit of registration.
Justice Damulak explained further that the contention that the defendants collected the said check- off dues on behalf of the secondary school teachers based on mandate will not suffice because by section 17 of the trade union act, only a registered trade union is legally entitled to collect check-off dues, the check off dues therefore, becomes property of the Union and not that of the individual members who can mandate any person or group of persons to collect on their behalf. The defendant’s counsel argued that the receipts, exhibits CWA4 to CWA23, were documentary hearsay because they were neither tendered by Alhaji chika who paid the said dues to the high court register nor was it tendered by the registrar who is the maker of those documents.