The acting president of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip has dismissed the case filed by one retired police officer ASP Biramobofa Kiribien against Nigeria Police Force and 2 others on alleged gratuity claim for lacking merit.
The court held that for Mr Kiribien to succeed in his claims, he must prove the twin issues of his entitlement to the outstanding gratuity and how he came by the sum with concrete and cogent evidence, which normally is documentary evidence, not oral and where the evidence is oral, it must be corroborated by some other credible evidence.
The claimant-Kiribien claimed for the purported sum of N2,500,000.00 (Two Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira only) outstanding gratuity balance owed him by the defendants and the sum of N30,000,000.00 (Thirty Million Naira only) as general damages for the embarrassment, time and transport wasted and physical/psychological trauma caused by the non-payment of his gratuity as at when due.
The claimant submitted that Prior to laying complaint, he perused the consent form of his colleagues of the same grade and discovered that their amount is far higher than his own.
Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Pension-3rd defendant contended that claimant has not shown or led any evidence to show his entitlement but only presented what he thinks is his entitlement as pension, particularly in comparison with what other individuals supposedly got as pension urged the Court to dismiss the relief for lacking in merit.
NPF Pension submitted that claimant is not entitled to the erroneous claim of N3.8m but to the sum of N1,314,511.00 and an additional sum of N544,733.65 only remitted by PENCOM and the 3rd defendant is willing to make such payment provided the claimant makes the right application without the discrepancy in the figures.
Delivering judgment, the trial judge, Justice Kanyip held that quantum of gratuity cannot be ascertained unless the salary upon which it is calculated is known, and the claim for special damages must by law be particularized.
“The claimant in the instant case is required to have pleaded his salary in order to ascertain the basis upon which he claims N2.5 Million as outstanding gratuity. This he did not do. All the claimant did was to plead that his total gratuity is N3,800,000.00, out of which N1,300,000.00 was paid leaving N2,500,000.00 as outstanding.
“How did the claimant come by N3,800,000.00 as his full gratuity in the first place for which N1,300,000.00 was paid leaving as outstanding N2,500,000.00? The claimant did not tell this Court.” Justice Kanyip ruled.
On the claim for 30 million damages, the court held that once the claimant cannot prove his entitlement to the payment of gratuity, the question of “embarrassment, time and transport wasted and physical/psychological trauma caused by the non-payment of his gratuity as at when due” cannot arise.
The court dismissed the suit in its entirety for lacking merit.