IN THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA
IN THE ENUGU JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT ENUGU
BEFORE HIS LORDSHIP: HON. JUSTICE O.O. AROWOSEGBE
DATE: FRIDAY 21ST FEBRUARY2020
SUIT NO. NICN/EN/38/2018
MR. CHIBUZOR AJAKOR……….……………………….CLAIMANT
1. BECKLEY EYE CARE INTERNATIONAL LTD DEFENDANTS
2. DR. L.C. MONANU
1. M.C. UKPAI, WITH L.O. OWOH – FOR THE CLAIMANT.
2. C.A. EZE WITH D.C. ANEKE – FOR THE DEFENDANTS.
General Complaint commenced this suit on 13/11/2018. The following reliefs were claimed in the Statement of Facts dated 9th November 2018 and filed along with the General Complaint:
a. A declaration that the disengagement of the Claimant by the Defendant without complying with the terms of his employment as contained in Article 15 of the Conditions of Service by giving him one month notice or one month salary in lieu thereof was wrongful [sic].
b. The sum of N60,000.00 (sixty thousand naira) only being Claimant’s salary for the month of August, 2018 which the Claimant has fully worked for [sic].
c. Pay him the sum of N104,000.00 (One Hundred and four Thousand Naira) only which is the total of such deductions made from the Claimant’s salary and allowances between December, 2013 and July, 2018 [sic].
d. The sum of N195,000.00 being the Claimant’s unpaid salary at N65,000.00 per month for the period of July, 2014 to September, 2014 [sic].
e. The sum of N5,000,000.00 general damages.
f. 30% monthly interest on all the outstanding salary and allowance as from 31st Day of August, 2018 until judgment is delivered; and thereafter at 20% interest on the entire judgment sum until fully liquidated.
On the basis of the foregoing reliefs, the parties, having negotiated amicable settlement of the case and reached consensusad idem, duly signed the undated Terms of Settlementfiled in this Court on 18/02/2020.
Consequently, on Tuesday 18th February 2020 and in the presence of the claimant and 2nd defendant for himself and the 1st defendant, the learned M.C. UKPAI with L.O. OWOHfor the claimant informed the Court that the matter was adjourned for report of settlement and that parties have settled amicably and filed their Terms of Settlement on 18/02/2020. The learned C.A. EZE with D.C. ANEKE for the defendants confirmed the position.
Thereafter, the learned M.C. UKPAI for the claimant adopted the Terms of Settlement filed 18th February 2010 and urged the Court to enter it as the judgment in this suit. Thereafter, the learned C.A. EZE for the defendants proceeded to adopt the Terms of Settlement and also urged the Court to enter same as the judgment of the Court in this suit.
The case was thereafter reserved for judgment on 21st February 2020. But while writing the judgment, I observed that, the information that the case was adjourned for report of settlement was not correct. The record of proceedings as a whole did not show that at any time, the case was adjourned for report of settlement and did not indicate that at any time, issue of amicable settlement was muted. Be that as it may, parties are at liberty at any point of lawsuits,to amicably settle their differences – see Habib Bank Nigeria Plc v. Lodigiani (Nigeria) Limited (2010) LPELR-4228 (CA) 14-15, F-B. So, the Court needs not belabour this issue but it was necessary to point it out for record purposes.
I also observed that, the Terms of Settlement filed did not contain a space for dating and so was undated. It is my view too, that, the mere fact of not dating the Terms of Settlement would not invalidate it,once it was duly executed in accordance with the rules of this Court, filed in Court and adopted by parties or their counsel in the open Court – see Afolabi v. Ola (2016) LPELR-40186 (CA) 11-12, F-B. The instant Terms of Settlement was duly executed, filed in this Court on 18/02/2020 and duly adopted in the open Court by the learned counsel to the parties in their presence the same day. So, it is valid in law.
I pointed out the above observations to the counsel to the parties in Court before proceeding to deliver judgment and sought their clarifications. I wassatisfied by the explanations offered. I also asked both the claimant and the 2nd defendant if they consented and they said they agreed to the settlement.
The next thing is for me is to reproduce the Terms of Settlement as filed verbatim. After setting out the reliefs claimed in the suit by the claimant and the reliefs claimed in the counterclaim by the defendants, the following terms of settlement were set out in the following manner:
IT IS THEREFORE AGREED BETWEEN THE PARTIES AS FOLLOWS:
1. That the Defendants shall pay to the Claimant the sum of N104,000.00 (one hundred and four thousand naira only) being the total sum deducted from the Claimant’s salary and allowances as an indemnity.
2. That the Defendants shall pay to the Claimant the sum of N60,000.00 (sixty thousand naira only) being the Claimant’s salary for the month of August 2018.
3. That the Claimant shall write a formal letter of resignation and accordingly the Defendants shall accept the said Claimant’s letter of resignation with effect from 1/9/2018. Consequently, therefore the Defendants do hereby withdraw the letter dated 28/8/2018.
4. That these terms of settlement shall be the Judgment and Order of this Court.
5. There shall be no ORDER as to costs.
The parties, in the presence of their witnesses duly signed the Terms of Settlement. While the claimant signed personally, DR. L.C. MONANU signed personally as the 2nd defendant and also for the 1st defendant. The learned counsel to the claimant, M.C. UKPAI witnessed for the claimant while the learned VENERABLE ANENE NZELU, ESQ, who franked the defence processes, witnessed for the 2nd defendant.
I have done with reproducing the Terms of Settlement and their ratification. I shall now proceed to give judgment based on the Terms of Settlement as agreed and executed by the parties and reproduced hereinabove and duly adopted in this Court by their respective counsel.
In consideration of the above Terms of Settlement dully executed by the parties in the presence of their witnesses and duly adopted in this Court on 18th February 2020, and having satisfied the requirements of Order 42, Rules 2-6(1), 7& 9, and Order 47, Rule 9 of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017; this Court, hereby enters judgment in this suit in accordance with the said Terms of Settlement. The said terms of settlements earlier reproduced abovein are therefore made the judgment of this Court in this suit.
The above constitutes final and binding judgment of the Court in this suit. Judgment is entered accordingly.
No cost is awarded.
HON. JUSTICE OLUWAKAYODEO. AROWOSEGBE
NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA