Industrial Court orders firm to pay ex-staff 16 yrs terminal benefit within 30 days

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His Lordship, Hon. Justice Zaynab Bashir of the National Industrial Court, Portharcourt Judicial division has ordered Oil Field Specialist Ltd to pay former staff Mr. Asuquo Ekanem the sum of Four Hundred And Eighty Thousand Naira terminal pay off, Three Hundred Thousand Naira Only as general damages and cost of action within 30 days.

 

The Court held that the evidence tendered by the Asuquo was sufficient to grant the declaratory relief sought in default of entry of defence by the firm.

 

Arising from facts, the Claimant – Asuquo submitted that he was employed by the firm on the 11th day of June 2001 and was duly issued a letter of confirmation of appointment dated 1st day of November 2001.

 

He averred that upon the termination of his appointment via a letter dated the 4th day of October 2017, he made oral demand for his terminal benefit but same was not paid which led to demand through his lawyer who gave a 21 days’ demand notice which yielded no fruit.

 

The first counsel appeared for the firm sought leave to settle the matter out of court and the said settlement failed after counsel to the Claimant informed the court that some parties did not sign the terms of settlement.

 

Thereafter, the Defendant changed counsel twice yet, they both failed to file any process in defence of the suit and dropped appearance unofficially afterwards.

 

Claimant Counsel F. Obua Esq submitted that the termination of the employment of the Claimant by the Defendant without paying terminal payoff is unlawful urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.

 

Delivering Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Zaynab held that where the Defendant failed to enter defence in the instant case, and where evidence is unchallenged, the standard becomes minimal to warrant judgment.

 

“In the instant case, having established that his basic salary is N30,000.00 as at the time of the confirmation of his employment and that he worked for the Defendant between 2001 to 2017, I find that the Claimant has specifically pleaded and strictly proved that he is entitled to terminal benefits.

 

“In other words, the Claimant was in the service of the Defendant for 16 years and 3 months while the terminal benefits are computable on annual basis. Consequently, the Claimant is entitled to terminal benefits for only 16 months which by mathematical computation of N30,000.00 by 16 will amount to the sum of N480,000.00.” Justice Zaynab Ruled.

 

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