IN THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA
IN THE CALABAR JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT CALABAR
BEFORE HIS LORDSHIP: HON. JUSTICE M. N ESOWE
DATE: 30TH OCTOBER, 2019 SUIT NO: NICN/CA/36/2017
ITA NTUI NTUI ………………………………. CLAIMANT
ASSET GUARD SERVICES NIG LTD ……. DEFENDANT
DR SAM C. EBOH Esq. for the Claimant
ALEX UMOH Esq. for the Defendant
This suit was instituted by the Claimant vide a Complaint dated and filed 19th May, 2017 seeking the following reliefs:
1. A DECLARATION that the Claimant is entitled to be paid the sum of N76,431 (Seventy Six Thousand Four Hundred and Thirty One Naira)being the unpaid salaries and emoluments of the Claimant being owed by Defendant to the Claimant as his employer including the Claimant’s contributory pension of 15 percent.
2. AN ORDER directing the Defendant to pay 21 percent interest accruable from the outstanding debt to the Claimant.
3. AN ORDER directing the Defendant to pay the Claimant 10 percent interest after judgment till the outstanding debt is liquidated.
4. AN ORDER compelling the Defendant to pay the sum of N1,500,000 for the untold hardship, loss, pain the Claimant underwent as he was stopped from going to work
SUMMARY OF FACTS
According to the Claimant, he was employed by the Defendant on the 1st of May, 2013 as a Security Guard. On 12th August, 2015, he was promoted to the rank of Security Officer. On the 31st of December, 2016, he was posted to a location known and called 300 Conveyor Belt at Unicem Mfamosing, at Akamkpa Local Government Area. On 1st January, 2017, after closing for the day, he received a verbal information from one S.P Jerome Odey(a Supervisor) to write a report on suspected cable theft at 400 Conveyor Belt. He replied that he did not understand the reason why he should write a report outside his supervisory control. When asked by the Site Manager why he did not write the report, he told him he only received a verbal information on same without a formal directive and he did not cover 400 Conveyor Belt. The Site Manager thereafter directed that he should be on standby for two weeks. On 18th January, 2017, when the Claimant was invited for a supposed hearing, no hearing took place but he was rather given a query to which he replied to. It is the case of the Claimant that while still on standby, there was no investigation into the alleged theft of stealing and no communication to him on the status of his employment even up till the filing of this suit. This has necessitated the nature of reliefs sought by the Claimant.
On the part of the Defendant, she stated in her statement of defence dated 24th November, 2017 and filed on 5th December, 2017 that Claimant was placed on standby duty not because of his refusal to write the report but as a normal, contractual discretion of the Defendant. Standby did not mean staying away from the premises as Claimant did. Query issued to Claimant was responded to on the 18th of January, 2017. Thereafter, disciplinary hearing was conducted to which the Claimant pleaded liable to gross disobedience, failure to write a report and fact of the missing cable. The Claimant was found liable and dismissed. The Claimant participated in the hearing; he was informed of the outcome of the hearing in writing; he acknowledged signed and accepted the decision of the Disciplinary Hearing. The Claimant was magnanimously paid his January, 2017 salary in full despite being dismissed on 18th January, 2017. The Claimant’s solicitor’s letter written to the Defendant do not contain the true fact of the Claimant’s dismissal. Defendant therefore wants the Court to dismiss this suit with cost.
It must be noted that on the receipt of the Defendant’s Statement of Defence, Claimant filed a reply on 13th December, 2017. He denied the Defendant ever set up a hearing on the 18th of January, 2017. That all he got on the 18th of January, 2017 was the query which he replied to and some forms to which he was asked to fill in only his name, personal information and sign same. Mr Joseph Effiong (Site Manager) gave him the said forms. However, copies of what is termed Disciplinary Policy and Procedure Forms were not given to him. Claimant concluded by stating that his appointment has not be terminated; he was forced to stay away from the office and as such, he could not have had the opportunity to surrender the property of the Defendant in his possession.
COMMENCEMENT OF HEARING
Hearing in this suit commenced on the 7th of March, 2018 to which the Claimant himself testified as CW1. He adopted his witness statement on oath, tendered documents admitted as exhibits and he was cross examined subsequently. Thereafter, Claimant closed his case on 16th June, 2018.
On the part of the Defendant, she did open her defence on the 11th of July, 2018 by calling one Oliver Ogbatue who testified as DW1 on behalf of the Defendant. He adopted his Witness Statement on Oath. He was led in evidence in chief by Counsel to Defendant. He was cross examined by Counsel to Claimant. Defendant closed their defence on the 21st of February, 2018.
Thereafter, the case was adjourned to enable parties file, exchange and adopt their final written addresses.
DEFENDANT’S FINAL WRITTEN ADDRESS
In Defendant’s final written address dated 13thMarch, 2019 and filed14th March, 2019, Learned Counsel to Defendant formulated two (2) issues for determination:
1. Whether the Defendant was entitled, on the facts of this case, to determine the Claimant’s employment.
2. Whether the Claimant is entitled to any of his claims against the Defendant in this suit.
ON ISSUE 1: Whether the Defendant was entitled, on the facts of this case, to determine the Claimant’s employment.
Learned Counsel to Defendant submitted that the law is now settled that apart from employments governed by statutory provisions or employment with statutory flavour where termination must follow the provisions of the relevant statute, an employer in other cases can terminate the employment of an employee for good or bad reasons. He is not bound to give reason for terminating an employee's appointment. The only remedy open to an employee whose employment is terminated in disregard to the terms of such employment is damages. He referred Court toEvans Brothers (Nig.) Publishers V. Falaiye(2003) FWLR (Pt. 152) 15; Olaniyan V. University of Lagos (1986) 4 NWLR (Pt.9) 599.
Learned Counsel, while referring the Court to the provision of Clause 19 of Exhibit C4, submitted that the Claimant was dismissed for disobeying a lawful instruction. That the law is now trite that in master/servant relationship, willful disobedience to lawful instruction is a very serious act of misconduct. He relied on Bolanle V. Access Bank Plc
(2016) All FWLR (pt. 831) 1405 at 1421 F-H, where the Court of Appeal
held that willful disobedience of a lawful and reasonable order of an employee is a definite act of misconduct which, atcommon law, attracts the penalty of summary dismissal since willful disobedience of lawful order is a reflection of a total disregard of an essential condition of contract of service namely: - that the servant must obey a proper, reasonable and lawful order of the master in default of which their contractual relationship cannot be expected to continue.
Learned Counsel submitted further that notwithstanding the above extant position of the law, the Defendant resolved to hear from the Claimant. On the 18th day of January, 2017 the Defendant issued a formal query to the Claimant (that is Exhibit C9).Claimant's reply to the query was not satisfactory to the Defendant. The defendant thereby incidented the matter for proper hearing under the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure of the Defendant company which eventually led to the dismissal of the Claimant. The decision to dismiss Claimant was not appealed by the Claimant as provided under the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure of the Defendant as the Claimant was supposed to lodge appeal within 48 hours of the disciplinary action to the Human Resources Department of the Defendant.
He therefore urged the Court to hold that the Defendant was entitled to dismiss the Claimant for disobeying a reasonable and lawful instruction.
ON ISSUE 2: Whether the Claimant is entitled to any of his claims against the Defendant in this suit
Learned Counsel submitted that the Claimant is not entitled to any of the claims in this suit. That the law is that a servant is only entitled to payment for work duly done for the master. The Court of Appeal made this point clearer in
Gboboh V. British Airways Plc (2017) All FWLR (Pt. 906) 1913 at
1935 G-Hwhen it held that the law is very clear on the point that a servant would only be paid for the period he served his master and if dismissed, as in this case, all he gets as damages is the amount he would have earned if his appointment had been properly determined. That is, the servant is to be paid his salaries and entitlements up to the date of his dismissal. He also referred Court to Texaco Nigeria Plc V. Kehinde(2001) 6 NWLR (pt. 708) 224 at 242.
It is the submission of the Learned Counsel to the Defendant that in the instance case, the Claimant was dismissed from his job on the 18th day of January, 2017. Therefore, Claimant cannot be entitled to any payment for the period he did not work.
On retirement benefits, Learned Counsel submitted that Claimant did not lead evidence of his retirement from the Defendant nor did he aver to how much he was entitled to as pension. The claim for "contributory pension of 15 percent,without more, is vague. The claim for pension was accordingly not proved.
He therefore urged the Court to dismiss the case of the Claimant with cost
CLAIMANT’S FINAL WRITTEN ADDRESS
On receipt of Defendant’s final written address, Learned Counsel to Claimant filed their final written address dated and filed 1st April, 2019 formulating three (3) issues for determination:
1. Whether the appointment of the Claimant was properly determined in accordance with the terms of the contract of employment
2. Whether in the circumstances of this case and given the state of the pleadings and evidence adduced thereon, the Defendant established any case of misconduct to warrant the hostile conduct against the Claimant
3. Whether the Claimant is entitled to his claims against the Defendant
ON ISSUE 1: Whether the appointment of the Claimant was properly determined in accordance with the terms of the contract of employment
Learned Counsel to Claimant while admitting that the relationship between the Claimant and Defendant is Master-Servant,submitted that the Claimant contract with the Defendant is governed by the terms stated in Exhibit C6. In Clause13 of Exhibit C6, it is provided that the employer must give to the employee the agreed noticebefore termination.The said Clause 13 emphasizes that the notice required by the Defendantto terminate theClaimant'sappointment for any reason, other than gross misconduct, is one month.
Learned Counsel submitted that in the case herein, there is no evidence that the appointment of the Claimant was terminated other than asking the Claimant to be on standby after the incidence at Conveyor 400 Belt. On standby, Clause 10 of Exhibit C6, the Contract of employment, stipulates thus:..to perform standby duties when rostered to doso. However in the case of the Claimant herein, he was asked to go home without rostered to do any duty. In this case, Claimant was ordered to be on standby, go home for two weeks, but he was never rostered to perform any duty or duties while on the standby. The salary of the Claimant was stopped without any explanation whatsoever in January, 2017.
Learned CounselsubmittedfurtherthatinDefendant'spleadings, the attempt was made to explain Claimant's type of standby ledtoirreconcilable ambivalence in paragraphs 5 and 6 of the Defendant’s Statement of Defence. Apparently, there is lack of communication which has defeated the entire message. He relied on the Supreme Court decision inPHCN V. Offoela (2012)52 NSCQR Part 1 Page 105 at 130-131 Paras. G - B,where the Court stated:
The Respondent in any view is justified in his defence that he was not communicated the retirement. Even if he was, I think the Communication was not done in accordance with the Regulation as contained in Exhibit A. proper communication of a message in Law has its importance. Where there is a failure to communicate (a break in communication or lack of communication) the whole of the message is completely defeated. If any step or action is taken by the issuing authority, inspite of the fact of non-communication (non-service), the step or action taken goes to naught and amounts to a nullity in law. I am, as well, unable to agree with the learned trialJudge, as did also by the Learned Justice of the Court below, that the failure of the appellant to give appropriate notice would not affect the validity of the respondent's retirement.This would appear to me to be a cloistered kind of legal reasoning by the learned trial Judge which I am not ready to accept.
Learned Counsel submitted that in the case herein, Clause 13 of Exhibit C6 was obeyed inabsolutedefault,even when the so-called Claimant's dismissal was not predicated on any explicable reasons. There was no salary in lieu of Notice.
He therefore urged the Court to resolve this issue in favour of the Claimant.
ON ISSUE 2: Whether in the circumstances of this case and given the state of the pleadings and evidence adduced thereon, the Defendant established any case of misconduct to warrant the hostile conduct against the Claimant
Learned Counsel to Claimant submitted that the Defendant's reasons for dismissing the Claimantfrom work was based on alleged refusal to obey lawful instruction of writing a report. First, the report was intended to be on alleged theft of cable. Secondly, the theft did not take place in the Claimant's job details. Thirdly, there was no formal directive to write save an information from one of his colleagues that he should write the report.
Learned Counsel posited that, taking all of the above into consideration, how does instruction on theft which is a criminal matter become lawful in relation to the Claimant who was not within the location of the theft?
Learned Counsel therefore urged the Court to resolve this issue in favour of the Claimant.
ON ISSUE 3: Whether the Claimant is entitled to his claims against the Defendant
Learned Counsel to Claimant submitted thatClaimant was never suspended nor his employment duly terminated. All the Claimant experienced was the hostile
stratagems adopted to chase him away from the work
environment. Therefore, Claimant is entitled to his unpaid salaries from the month of February, 2017 till date, having not been dismissed: he should be paid up till the date of filing of this suit. It was not true that the appointment of the Claimant was dismissed on the 18th day of January, 2017; Defendant has not shown any evidence to that effect and therefore Counsel's address cannot be used as a substitute for evidence. He relied on Nigeria Airways Limited V. Okutubo (2002)15 NWLR (Pt.790) 376.
He therefore urged the Court to grant the reliefs sought by the Claimant.
DEFENDANT’S REPLY ON POINT OF LAW
On receipt of Claimant’s final written address, Learned Counsel to Defendant filed a reply dated17thApril, 2019 and filed 18th April, 2019 to which he replied on points of law to the Claimant’s final written address, and adumbrated further on their earlier final written address.
Having gone through the case of the Claimant, defence of the Defendant, evidence adduced at trial and the submissions of Counsel to the Claimant and Counsel to the Defendant, this Court has distilled a sole issue for determination, to wit:
Whether the Claimant has proved his case to be entitled to the reliefs sought
The case of the Claimant is that sometime in January, 2017, he was asked verbally to write a report on a theft of cable which took place at Conveyor 400 Belt to which he responded verbally to the Supervisor that he was not working at Conveyor 400 but Conveyor 300 where he was posted to on 31st December, 2016 according to Defendant, failure to write the said report amounts to disobeying a lawful order. I will like to address this angle of their argument before addressing the alleged dismissal of the Claimant by the Defendant
Generally, the law is that disobedience of a lawful order is a misconduct on the part of the employee. I must pause here to say that such orders do not actually qualify as lawful orders if there is no law backing them up. The right term, in the absence of law backing them up, is superior orders. In certain circumstances, it has been demonstrated that the defence of obeying superior orders does not always avail victims who relied on superior orders for their vile actions. For example, under Article 33 of Statute of the International Criminal Court, a soldier can be relieved of criminal responsibility if the act for which he was indicted was ordered by a superior officer whose orders the soldier had a legal obligation to obey, and the soldier did not know that the order was unlawful. During the famous Nuremberg trial, many soldiers, while relying on Article 33,pleaded “I was just following orders”. In order to invalidate this, the International Criminal Court of Justice started implementing and enforcing Article 33(1)(c) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court which provides that if the superior order is manifestly unlawful, the defence of obeying superior order will not prevail. The moral of the story is that many soldiers ended up being sentenced for obeying superior orders that were manifestly unlawful.
Another moral from the story above is that no law or principle of law is a straight jacket; there are exceptions. Granted, in the case herein, the case of the defence is that the Claimant disobeyed an order to write a report on stolen cables at Conveyor 400 Belt. However, what the Defendant failed to pay attention to is that the Claimant gave an explanation for not writing the report. His explanation is that he wasn’t working at Conveyor 400 Belt but Conveyor 300 Belt. The circumstances herein is akin to a defence of alibi in criminal matters. The law is that when an accused pleads the defence of alibi, it behoves the investigating authority to first investigate the defence of alibi establishing whether or not the accused was at the scene of the crime the time the crime was committed. These are just elementary principles of law and I am sure if the Defendant has a legal department, lawyers in such legal department will readily tell them this. In the case herein, if the Defendant never investigated whether or not the Claimant was at Conveyor 400 Belt, I wonder why they insisted on him writing a report on a location (Conveyor 400 Belt) when his body and soul was at a different location (Conveyor 300 Belt). At the point Claimant said he was not at the scene of the incident, the order to write a report was no longer lawful and reasonable until the Defendant conducted an investigation to know if the Claimant was at the scene of the incident or not. If the Defendant failed to conduct an investigation to ascertain if the Claimant was at the scene of the incidence, then for all intents and purposes, his reply that he was not at Conveyor 400 Belt (the scene of the incidence) should serve as his report, and I so hold. For all it is worth, a man cannot give what he does not have. If therefore the Claimant was not at the scene of the incidence, what report did the Defendant want from him other than what he said that he was not at the scene? Were they expecting him to manufacture a report on what he knows nothing about?
I am not sure if it is even the intention of the Almighty that created us to be zombies who must turn right because our employers say so or turn left when the employer says so. Else the Holy Book (Bible) would not have been repleted with people whom God allowed to have their way starting from Abraham begetting Ismael; Jacob seizing an Angel of the Almighty and saying he would not let go until he was blessed; Balaam proceeding on the insistence of Balak the King when God had initially warned him not to go on the ground that he had blessed the Israelite and no man could curse them.
In the case herein, the cases referred to by the Defendant with quotes make use of the word ‘willful disobedience” which by extension means “intentional disobedience”. The Court also maintained the use of the word willful disobedience in the case of UBN V. Soares (2012) 11NWLR (Part 1312)550@557when it held:
A willful disobedience of a lawful order and reasonable order of an employer by an employee is a definite act of misconduct which, at common law, attracts the penalty of summary dismissal, because such willful disobedience is a reflection of total disregard of an essential condition of a contract of service, namely, that the servant must obey a proper, reasonable and lawful order of the master, in default of which their contractual relationship cannot be expected to continue (Sule V. Nigerian Cotton Board (1985 2NWLR (Pt. 5) 17 referred)
(Underlining mine for emphasis)
What that means is that the disobedience complained of must by all means be willful or intentional. From the totality of evidence before me, this Court finds and I so hold that there is no evidence before me that the Claimant disobeyed the Defendant willfully or intentionally in the matter of writing report on the alleged theft of cables at Conveyor 400 Belt. The Claimant offered a reasonable explanation in lieu of the report expected from him by the Defendant and in absence of the Defendant investigating the explanation offered by the Claimant, the explanation offered by the Claimant that he was not working at Conveyor 400 Belt but Conveyor 300 Belt suffices as obedience to the report expected from the Claimant, and I so hold. In this vein, there is nothing to have warranted the termination of the Claimant’s employment as a result of his disobedience to write a report on an incidence which he had said from the beginning that he was not at the location of the said incidence when it occurred, if ever it did occur. One thing that baffles me most is that the Defendant, in all her pleadings, did not even mention the date the said theft took place. Even on cross examination, DW1 said he could not remember the day the incidence took place. It is quite surprising that an incidence which has caused the Claimant his job has no date in the annals of the Defendant but only has a location, Conveyor 400 Belt.
In a bid to pin the Claimant to Conveyor 400 Belt, Learned Counsel to Defendant argued in their final written address that the former location of the Claimant before he was deployed to Conveyor 300 Belt was Conveyor 400 Belt. This Court wishes to state that this was smuggled in by the defence in their final written address. There is no where they pleaded it in their pleadings or led evidence in support of same. The trite law is that parties are bound by their pleadings and they cannot use written addresses to supplement pleadings. See SMOOTH V. SMOOTH (2015) LPELR-25732(CA) per Bada JCA where the Court of Appeal held thus;
It is important to point out at this juncture that addresses of counsel as important as they may be, cannot take place of pleadings or evidence because cases are decided on credible evidence. No amount of brilliance in an address can make up for lack of evidence to prove and establish a case ………………. An address may make a good impression on the judge but it certainly cannot make up for lack of evidence, and cases are decided on credible evidence. Address by counsel is only a forum where the last is brought in, not only to interpret the facts before the court but to edify them in lucid persuasive style of advocacy. See the following cases: - EKPEYONG VS ETIM (1990) 3 NWLR Part 140 Page 594. - NIGER CONSTRUCTION LIMIT ED VS. CHIEF OKUGBENI (1987) 4 NWLR Part 67 Page 787
Given the foregoing, facts alluded to in Defendant’s final written address, whether real or imaginary, go to no issue inasmuch as such facts were not pleaded nor was evidence led in support of same, and I so hold
Having dealt with the issue of disobeying superior order levelled against the Claimant, the Court will proceed to look at the alleged dismissal of the Claimant by the Defendant.
On when a Defendant alleges that he has dismissed or terminated the employment of the Claimant lawfully, what the Defendant is required to prove is as stated in the case of Olorutoba-Oju& 4Ors V. Abdul-Raheem & 3Ors (2009) 13 NWLR PT1157P.83 where it was held @page103 as follows:
In order to justify the dismissal or termination of appointment of an employee, the employer must be in a position to prove to the Court satisfaction:
(a) That the allegation was disclosed to the employee
(b) That he was given a fair hearing
(c) That the employer believed that the employee committed
the offence after hearing witness
In addition to the above, the Defendant must lead evidence to prove that the dismissal or termination of appointment was communicated to the Claimant as it is not the duty of the Claimant to start second guessing the Defendant.
In the case herein, the Defendant relied on Exhibits C8 and C9 which are forms titled “Disciplinary Policy Procedure”. They stated that the Claimant faced a Disciplinary panel, he pleaded guilty; he accepted and signed the decision of the panel. On the part of the Claimant, whereas he admitted to being given the forms, he stated however that the forms that were given to him were blank forms which he was asked to only write his name, date and signature. I have gone through the forms tendered in evidence as Exhibit C8 and Exhibit C9, there is nothing there to satisfy the Court that the forms are tantamount to disciplinary proceedings. By the very nature of the forms which have boxes to be ticked at any given time, this Court finds and I so hold that such can be easily manipulated. As a result, the Court cannot place any weight on such suspicious forms which leave a lot of rooms for manipulation, especially when same is not corroborated by any other evidence before me, and I so hold. Furthermore, there is nothing before me to prove that the Claimant was given fair hearing on the allegation of disobedience of superior order and or allegation of the theft of cables given the analysis the Court has given earlier on the disobedience of superior order, and the allegation of the theft of cable which has a location but has no date or time.
Furthermore, the position of the Defendant that the Claimant was dismissed leaves more to be desired. This is so because there is no evidence before me that the dismissal was communicated to the Claimant. Granted, being that the relationship between the Claimant and the Defendant is Master-Servant, the Defendant can fire the Claimant with or without reasons. However, when such fire, termination or dismissal takes place, the Defendant has no right to keep the Claimant in the dark as to the status of his employment. What is in evidence before me is a standby which, even though it is the duty of the Defendant to provide duty/work for the Claimant during the period of standby, the Defendant neglected/failed to provide work/duty for the Claimant.No document before me to show that there was subsequent dismissal and that same was communicated to the Claimant. Given the circumstances, whatever the Defendant termed dismissal did not take place nor was it brought to the knowledge of the Claimant until the Defendant filed their statement of Defence alleging dismissal of the Claimant, and I so hold. Be that as it may, the Court cannot force a willing employee on an unwilling employer. In the circumstances, the Court cannot force the Claimant on the Defendant even though the determination of the employment is done under questionable circumstances. However, the Court can award damages for the wrongful and questionable manner the employment was brought to an end.
Considering the facts and circumstances in this case and given that by Exhibit C5 (a letter dated 13th March, 2017) Claimant’s Counsel wrote the Defendant on the unfair treatment meted to the Claimant to which Counsel asked for payment of the entitlements and reinstatement of the Claimant, I feel that if the Defendant no longer saw the Claimant as their employee, they would have, with clear conscience, written a reply to that effect to the Counsel to Claimant.
In Gege v. Nande (2006) 10 NWLR Pt. 988 Pg. 256 at 266; Ekeagwu v. Nigerian Army (2010) 16 NWLR Pt. 1220 Pg. 419 at 421 - 422the Court held thus:
In an action for wrongful termination or dismissal or retirement, only two primary issues call for determination. These are:
(a) Whether the termination, dismissal or retirement of the plaintiff is wrongful,
(b) What is the measure of damages recoverable where the termination, dismissal or retirement is found to be wrongful?
Where a plaintiff seeks the relief of reinstatement which is granted, the issue of measure of damages for wrongful termination, dismissal or retirement becomes irrelevant because upon reinstatement the Plaintiff is entitled to be paid all his arrears of salary and emoluments including fringe benefits up to the time of reinstatement and thereafter as and when due and payable.
In the case herein, the Claimant deserves compensation in damages being that the circumstances of this case do not allow the Court to order reinstatement, and I so hold
From all that have been said above, this Court finds and I so hold that for all the unsubstantiated theft of cable; unsubstantiated disobedience of order of the Defendant by the Claimant, unsubstantiated dismissal of the Claimant, the Claimant is entitled to damages for the ill-treatment meted out to him by the Defendant. The Court, having weighed the facts and circumstances is therefore minded to grant the Claimant the sum of N1,5000.000.00 (One Million Naira) damages as claimed by the Claimant in Relief 4 of their claim.
The success of Relief 4 wipes out the success of Relief 1 as it will amount to double jeopardy to award relief 1 when the Claimant has already been compensated by the award of relief 4. The second ambit of Relief 1 also fails in that there is no evidence before me that there was pension contribution by the Claimant and the Defendant in line with the Pension Reform Act. Claim 2 also fails for, given the circumstances, this Court is not minded to grant same. On relief 3, the Court would rather grant same to the extent that all judgment sum shall be paid within 30 days of this judgment and failure to so do shall attract 5 percent interest annually.
Finally, arising the settled law that a successfully litigant who comported himself throughout the trial is entitled to cost, this Court is minded to award the sum of N200,000.00 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) as cost in favour of the Claimant.
For the avoidance of doubt, the declaration/order(s) of the Court are as follows:
1. THE COURT HEREBY ORDERS the Defendant to pay the sum of N1,500,000 (One Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira) to the Claimant arising from the shame, embarrassment, untold hardship, loss, pain the Claimant underwent as a result of the way and manner his employment was brought to an end by the Defendant.
2. THE COURT HEREBY ORDERS the Defendant to pay the Claimant the sum of N200,000.00 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) as cost
All judgment sum to be paid within 30 days of this judgment. Failure to so do shall attract 5% annual interest rate.
Judgment entered accordingly.
HON. JUSTICE M.N ESOWE