Universities, NGOs are Not Liable to Contribute to ITF, Says Court

Source: THISDAY, 21.05.2018

Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court in Lagos has dismissed the suit filed by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) against Pan Atlantic University (Lagos Business School) over remittances to Fund. The suit, which was filed by the ITF Governing Council against Pan Atlantic University, claimed that the university was in default of Section 6(1) of the ITF Act and thus owed ITF a liquidated debt of N650, 000,000 as the total outstanding statutory contributions.

In opposition to the suit, the university, through its counsel, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu SAN, who led Chineme Onuoma and Nwachukwu Obi of Kenna Partners, argued that Section 6(1) of the ITF Act applies only to organisations involved in commerce and industry. Prof. Ajogwu SAN argued that since Pan Atlantic University is purely an educational institution as shown in its Constitution, it does not come under the purview of the ITF Act.

The court, in its ruling, held that ITF’s use of the provisions of Section 6(1) of the ITF (Amendment) Act 2011 to levy universities and NGOs is unlawful.

It agreed with the arguments of the learned Senior Advocateand held that ITF does not have sufficient cause of action as the ITF Act does not apply to educational, not-for-profit organisations in light of the provisions of the Act. It held that the university, not being engaged in industry and commerce, was not caught by Section 6(1) of the ITF Act. The court accordingly dismissed the suit.

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