IN THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA
IN THE KADUNA JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT KADUNA
ON MONDAY 7TH DAY OF JUNE, 2021
BEFORE HIS LORDSHIP: HON. JUSTICE S.O. ADENIYI
SUIT NO: NICN/KD/61/2017
MRS. OLUFUNKE OWOEYE…………………………….CLAIMANT
(In substitute of Mr.Temitope Owoeye, now deceased)
KADUNA ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION CO PLC……………DEFENDANT
J U D G E M E N T
The instant suit was initially commenced by the Claimant, Mr. Temitope Owoeye, now deceased. On 09/12/2019, this Honourable Court granted an order of substitution of the Claimant with his wife, Olufunke Owoeye. For starters, I should remark that this judgement was initially slated for 20th of April, 2021 but was further adjourned till today due to the industrial strike of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) which has prolonged until now.
The Claimant’s case in summary is that, he entered into a contract of employment with the Defendant for two (2) years and resumed duties in Kaduna as the Head, Corporate Services. His contention is that the Defendant breached the terms of his contract of employment by not affording him with the opportunity to defend the allegations of misconduct levelled against him before his appointment was terminated. His further contention against the Defendant is that he was denied his entitlements and benefits as contained in the letter of offer of contract of employment.
2. Being aggrieved of the actions of the Defendant, the Claimant instituted the instant action; vide Complaint and Statement of Facts filed in this Court on 29/11/2017, whereby he claimed against the Defendant, reliefs set out as follows:
1. A Declaration that the Defendant breached the terms of the offer of contract appointment of the Claimant dated 24th December, 2014 by the letter of termination of contract appointment dated 5th December, 2016.
2. A Declaration that the manner and reasons of termination of the Claimant’s contract appointment by the Defendant, as contained in the termination letter dated 5th December, 2016 are false, wrongful, null and void.
3. An Order directing the Defendant to pay to the Claimant the sum of N200,000,000.00 (Two Hundred Million Naira only)as general damages for breach of the contract appointment between the Claimant and the Defendant.
4. An Order directing the Defendant to pay to the Claimant the sum of N27,443,811.67 (Twenty-Seven Million, Four Hundred and Forty-Three Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eleven Naira only) (sic) being the total amount of the unpaid entitlements and benefits due to the Claimant while in the employment of the Defendant.
5. An Order directing the Defendant to pay to the Claimant the sum of N500,000,00(Five Hundred Thousand Naira only) being the cost of this suit.
3. The Defendant disputed the case of the Claimant. The gist of the defence advanced by the Defendant in the Statement of Defence filed on 09/03/2018 is that the Claimant’s employment was properly terminated. The Defendant stated that the Claimant was issued query and that he failed to honour the invitation to appear before the Management Disciplinary Investigation Committee (the Committee) to defend allegations levelled against him.The Defendant contends that the Claimant’s cumulative pension entitlements had been remitted to the Claimant’s Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) and it also denied owing the amount claimed by the Claimant as allowances and other entitlements.
4. At the plenary trial, the Claimant testified in person by adopting his Statements on Oath as his evidence – in – chief; and tendered ten (10) sets of documents in evidence as exhibits. He was thereafter cross-examined by the Defendant’s learned counsel.
The Defendant in turn fielded two witnesses in support of their defence. The DW1 is Bayero Sanusi, an Officer attached to the Human Resources Department of the Defendant. He adopted his Statement on Oath, in support of the Defendant’s case. He also tendered eight (8) sets of documents in evidence to further buttress his testimony.
The DW2 is Abass Ahmed, a Legal Officer of the Defendant. He equally adopted his Statement on Oath and tendered two (2) sets of documents in evidence. The Defendants’ two witnesses were equally cross-examined by the Claimant’s learned counsel.
5. Upon conclusion of plenary trial, parties filed and exchanged their written final addresses as prescribed by the Rules of this Court.
In the final address filed on behalf of the Defendant on 27/01/2021, P. K. Tagwai, Esq., identified a sole issue for determination in this suit, that is:
“Whether the Claimant has proved his claim by cogent and credible evidence to warrant the grant of reliefs sought?”
In his written final address filed on 20/11/2020 and deemed properly filed on 27/01/2021, learned counsel for the Claimant, John Ainetor, Esq., distilled three issues as having arisen for determination in this suit, namely:
1. Whether the Defendant breached the original Claimant’s contract appointment as per Exhibit C1?
2. Whether the Defendant is justified for not paying the original Claimant’s entitlements till date?
3. Whether the original Claimant is entitled to the reliefs sought in this suit?
The Defendant did not file a Reply on Points of Law to the Claimant’s final address.
6. Upon a proper assessment of the state of the pleadings of the parties, the material evidence led at the trial, the final addresses filed by the contending parties, my view is that the focal issues that has arisen for determination in this suit, without prejudice to the issues formulated by the parties in their respective final addresses, could be recaptured as follows:
1. “Whether having regards to the conjunction of circumstances and events in this case, the Claimant’s contract of employment was breached by the Defendant and thereby entitled to general damages.”
2. “Whether the Claimant has proved his case to entitle him to his claims for unpaid entitlements and benefits due to him while in the employment of the Defendant.”
In determining these issues, I should also put on record that I had carefully considered and taken due benefits of the totality of the extensive arguments canvassed by learned counsel for the contending parties in their respective written submissions; and to which I shall endeavour to make specific reference as I consider needful in the course of this judgment.
I shall proceed to take both issues together.
7. From the evidence on record, it is stating the obvious to affirm, from the onset, that the relationship between the Claimant and the Defendant is delimitated by a contract agreement. This is clearly seen in that the Defendant, by paragraph 3 of the Statement of Defence, positively admitted the averment in paragraph 4 of the Claimant’s Statement of Facts. I should also remark that the case put forward by the Claimant is substantially documentary evidence. In that circumstance, the focus of the Court is directed principally at the documents tendered by parties as the yardstick to access the oral evidence adduced by the witnesses on either side of the divide. This course is in consonance with the established legal proposition that documentary evidence, being the best evidence, is the yardstick or hanger by which to access the veracity or credibility of oral testimony and that extrinsic evidence cannot be admitted to contradict it, add or vary the provisions contained in a document. See Section 128(1) of the Evidence Act 2011 on the issue. See also Skye Bank PLC Vs Akinpelu  9 NWLR (Pt 1198)179; Ndubueze Vs Bawa  LPELR 43874.
8. Essentially, the case of the Claimant as CW1 is that he was offered a contract of employment by the Defendant for two years commencing from 05/01/2015, with an option to review for further three (3) years. The Claimant testified that he resumed duties with the Defendant in Kaduna as Head, Corporate Services; that thereafter, he repeatedly applied for his entitlements/benefits for annual family vacation tickets for years 2015 and 2016 as stated in his letter of appointment but that same was never paid by the Defendant; that his statutory pension contributions was never remitted by the Defendant and that his Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax was deducted from his monthly salary but was never appropriately remitted by the Defendant. The letter of offer of appointment dated 24/12/2014 containing the terms of his employment was admitted in evidence as Exhibit C1.
9. The Claimant further testified that he was transferred to the Kafanchan Office of the Defendant for five (5) months and that upon his transfer he was entitled to daily per diem of thirty thousand Naira (N30,000.00) which was never paid by Defendant in spite of repeated demands. Exhibits C4 and C5 was admitted in evidence as applications made by the Claimant for his annual vacation and daily Diem upon being transferred to Kafanchan.
The Claimant testified further that on 28/11/2016, the Defendant made a report against him to the Department of State Security, Kaduna State Command; that he was picked up on that same day; that in the evening of the same day he received a query containing some allegations from the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO)which are totally strange to him; that he replied the query via e-mail dated 29/11/2016 and that he received a letter of termination of appointment on 05/12/2016. The Query dated 28/11/2014, the Claimant’s reply to the query dated 29/11/2016 and the letter of termination of appointment were admitted in evidence as Exhibits C2, C7 and C3 respectively.
10. The Claimant also testified that while in the employment of the Defendant, he was very diligent and contributed to the progress and the finances of the Defendant; that he never authored nor sent any e-mail to any of the staff of the Defendant and that he was never involved in any act of misconduct, insubordination and indiscipline as alleged by the Defendant. The Claimant contends that the Defendant breached the two (2) years contract appointment by terminating the contract on 05/12/2016; that he was denied fair hearing in the manner his appointed was terminated by the Defendant and that the action of the Defendant caused serious injury and damages to his professional career. The work reports, weekly reports of the Claimant, and the various e-mail correspondences of the Claimant to the Defendant and the Claimant’s assignment completion report were admitted in evidence as Exhibit C6, Exhibit C8, Exhibit C9 and Exhibit C10 respectively.
11. While answering questions under cross examination, the Claimant admitted that the Defendant inherited the liabilities and assets of defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) but that the terms and conditions of his employment was not governed by any other document other than the terms stated in his letter of offer of employment. The Claimant admitted that the computation of his claim for his transfer allowance, per diem, was not stated in his letter of offer of employment and that the PHCN policy for transfer allowance was not applicable to the Defendant. The Claimant further admitted that he did not have receipts for hotel accommodation for the refund being claimed. The Claimant maintained under cross-examination that he replied the query through e-mail; that he was not aware of the invitation to appear before the Disciplinary Committee of the Defendant and also denied that he refused or neglected to attend the Disciplinary Committee set up to investigate the alleged misconduct.
12. The Defendant on its part admitted that the Claimant was employed as the Head, Corporate Services. It further stated that the Claimant’s contract of employment was subject to the Defendant’s Conditions of Service of all staff and the PHCN Policy Handbook which was applicable to the Claimant as the Head of Corporate Services. The Defendants’ witnesses testified that the Claimant did not report at the Kafanchan office when he was transferred but operated from Barnawa Area Office which controls the Kafanchan Business Unit.
The Defendant’s witnesses testified further that the Claimant was queried over some allegations and that the query was replied through e-mail; that not being satisfied with the Claimant’s reply, the Defendant activated its disciplinary proceedings to investigate the allegations; that the Claimant was invited to appear before the Disciplinary Committee but that he refused and neglected to appear and defend himself before the Committee. The Defendant maintained that the Claimant is not entitled to his claims for benefits and other entitlements.
13. The following documents were admitted in evidence to further support the Defendant’s case: letter of invitation to appear before Disciplinary Committee, Claimant’s solicitor’s letters to the Defendant, Replies of the Defendant’s solicitors, Condition of Service Handbook of PHCN, Investigation Report on the alleged security breach, Correspondence between the Claimant and one Umar Yakubu Mohammed, Claimant’s Query and Reply of the Claimant to the Query as Exhibits D1, D2, D2A, D2B, D3A, D3B, D4, D5, D6, D7 and D8 respectively.
14. Now, the dispute between the parties in the main is the determination of the terms and conditions applicable to the Claimant’s contract of employment and when determined, whether the applicable terms and conditions were breached by the Defendant.
The testimony of the Claimant, is that upon being engaged by the Defendant as a new start-up company, the Defendant had no policy handbook that contained the terms and conditions of service. The Claimant maintained that the conditions of service governing his appointment was contained only in Exhibit C1, his letter of appointment and that the PHCN Policy Handbook was never applied to govern the terms of his contract while in the employment of the Defendant.
The Defendant’s stance through, DW1 and DW2 on the other hand, is that the Conditions of Service Handbook in use at all material times for the terms and conditions of the Claimant’s employment and for its members of staff to date is the PHCN Condition of Service Handbook.
15. The dispute between the parties having been clearly identified in the foregoing, I now turn to determine the terms and conditions applicable to the Claimant’s contract of employment.
The first port of call is Exhibit C1. The contents thereof revealed the terms of the contract employment. It states, in part, as follows:
“Following your successful performance at the test and interview held recently at our office, we are pleased to inform you that you have been offered contract appointment as Head, Corporate Services with Kaduna Electricity Distribution PLC (KAEDCO) with effect from Monday, 5 January, 2015. Your appointment will be governed by KAEDCO’s conditions of service for all staff and regulations that may be enacted by the Management of KAEDCO from time to time.” (Underlining for emphasis)
The letter of offer went further to state the details of the obligations of and expectations from the Claimant with respect to his duties and the details of his salary and other benefits. The said benefits are reproduced as follows:
“Other benefits include:
1. Annual holiday ticket for self, spouse and five children based on applicable class of grade.
2. Incentives tied to company bottom line
KAEDCO will also provide health insurance cover for you, your spouse and up to four children (where applicable).”
16. On the issue of the applicability of the PHCN handbook – Exhibit D4, to the Claimant’s employment, the submission of the learned Claimant’s counsel is that all the pleadings and arguments of the Defendant predicated on the PHCN Handbook are completely defeated by Exhibit C1 because Exhibit D4 was not in use while the Claimant was in the employment of the Defendant. The learned Claimant’s counsel submitted further that Exhibit C1, being documentary evidence is the yardstick to assess the credibility of oral evidence. In support of his propositions, learned Claimant’s counsel relied on the cases of Gbileve Vs Addingi  16 NWLR (Pt 1443) 394; GMBH Vs T. D Industries Ltd  11 NWLR (Pt 1206) 58; Okafor Vs Okafor  4 NWLR (Pt 1449) 335
17. On his part, learned counsel for the Defendant argued that the use of the phrase, “other regulations that may be enacted from time to time” in Exhibit C1 presupposes that the terms and conditions of service stated in the letter of appointment are not limited to the terms stated therein only. Learned counsel further argued that by complying with the instruction and/or directive to relocate to Kafanchan, the Claimant by his action confirmed that his employment was not subject to his letter of employment only but that the conditions of his employment also subject to other conditions. The Defendant’s stance through, DW1 and DW2 is that the Condition of Service Handbook in use at all material times when the Claimant was in the employment of the Defendant and to date is the PHCN Condition of Service Handbook.
18. Now, it is borne on the evidence on record that the Claimant testified under cross-examination that his claim for relocation allowance per diem and the calculation for travel benefits/entitlements are not stated in his letter of offer of employment. It is also borne on the record of the Court that the Claimant alleged that he was not invited by the Defendant to appear before a Disciplinary Committee and that he was never made to appear before any disciplinary committee and therefore alleged that the Defendant did not give him the opportunity to defend the allegations. I should remark that the disciplinary procedure or measure that the Claimant sought be adopted by the Defendant was not stated in his letter of offer of contract employment. The procedure was stated in the Conditions of Service of PHCN – Exhibit D4.
19. The settled law is that a party cannot approbate and reprobate that is, he cannot blow hot and cold at the same time. See Ude Vs Nwara  2 NWLR (Pt 278) 638; AG Rivers State Vs AG Akwa Ibom State  29 WRN 1
The Claimant cannot state on the one hand that the Conditions of Service of PHCN is not applicable to his employment and yet still come under the cover of the same Conditions of Service of PHCN to allege violation of the disciplinary procedure. Furthermore, the Claimant cannot allege that the conditions of service guiding his employment is as contained in his letter of offer of employment only and yet resort to the PHCN Condition of Service/Staff Handbook for his claims for relocation entitlements. The law does frown seriously at such attitude of parties approbating and reprobating in the Court thinking perhaps that they might in so doing win some very cheap points in issue if the Court was so gullible as they thought it to be.
In my view, the arguments of the learned Claimant’s counsel with respect of his interpretation and understanding of Exhibit C1, appears to be a far too narrow and simplistic interpretation of the said exhibit.
I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that on the strength of evidence on record as earlier stated above, the appointment of the Claimant was governed not only by Exhibit C1 but was equally governed by the PHCN Conditions of Service – Exhibit D4. And I so hold.
20. Now, as correctly submitted by learned counsel for the Defendant, the burden and standard of proof in civil suits lie entirely on a party who asserts the existence of a fact to prove same or on the party who will fail if no evidence is led to prove the fact (s) asserted. See Section 133 Evidence Act. The Claimant has alleged that the manner by which his appointment was terminated by the Defendant was in breach of his contract of employment.
A breach of contract connotes that the party in breach had acted contrary to the terms of the contract either by non-performance, or by performing the contract not in accordance with its terms or by wrongful repudiation of the contract. See: Pan Bisbilder Nig Ltd Vs F.B.N. Ltd  1 NWLR (Pt 642) 684; Best (Nig) Ltd Vs Blackwood Hodge Nigeria Ltd  LPELR-776(SC); Tsokwa Oil Marketing Company Vs B.O.N. Ltd  11 NWLR (Pt 777) 163.
21. It is settled law that in an action for wrongful termination of an employment the onus is always on a Claimant to prove the terms of the agreement allegedly breached. It is from the terms of the agreement which is binding on both parties that a Court would determine the terms of the contract between the parties and the rights of the parties thereto. Exhibits C1, D4 and C3 is therefore crucial to determination of the terms of the contract of employment agreed by the parties.
It is equally trite that in a purely master and servant relationship in which the relationship is purely contractual, as in the instant case, once there is a purported termination of the employment, the Court will rarely make an order that it still subsists. This is on the principle that the Court cannot force a servant on an unwilling master. However, a termination of employment by the employer would be wrongful if it is in breach of the terms and conditions of the contract. See: Geidam Vs NEPA  2 NWLR (Pt 696) 45; Texaco Nig Plc Vs Kehinde  All FWLR (Pt 94) 143 at 164; Osisanya Vs Afribank Nig. Plc  1 NWLR (Pt 1031) 565 SC Obanye Vs U.B.N  LPELR 44702
22. I had earlier reproduced the relevant part of Exhibit C1, the letter of offer of appointment which contained the terms and conditions of the contract employment. As earlier held, the Conditions of Service of PHCN, Exhibit D4, also governs the relationship of the parties.
I have taken liberty to reproduce the relevant portion of Exhibit D4, the PHCN Conditions of Service that relates to contract appointment.
Section 3.32 thereof states as follows:
“An appointment on contract may be terminated by either party to the contract at any time in accordance with the terms specified in the contract agreement.”
23. I note that Exhibits C1 and D4 are silent on the duration of notice for termination of contract appointment. It has been accepted that in the construction of a contract of employment, apart from the relevant statutory provisions, any question as to the duration of employment, its terminability by notice, the length of notice required to determine it or the time at which notice to determine may be given, will depend on the intention of the parties either revealed in the express or implied terms of the contract or to be inferred from all the surrounding circumstances.
Learned Claimant’s counsel submission on the issue of breach of contract is that the Claimant’s appointment as stated in Exhibit C1 was for two years at the first instance, with effect from 05/01/2017 and that the Defendant breached the terms of the contract appointment by the letter of termination of appointment dated 05/12/2016.
The Defendant did not deny the averment in paragraph 3 of the Statement of Facts that the duration of the contract employment was for two (2) years. From the surrounding circumstances of the instant case, it is crystal clear that the Defendant breached the terms of the contract employment by terminating the Claimant’s appointment before the expiration of the two (2) year term agreed by parties. And I so hold.
24. The trite position of the law is further that in an action of this nature, where breach of contract is established, the only remedy available to the Claimant, is in damages. In other words, where two parties have made a contract which one of them has broken, the damages which the other party ought to receive in respect of such breach of contract should be such as may fairly and reasonably be considered either as arising naturally, that is, according to the usual course of things from such breach of contract itself, or such as may reasonably be supposed to have been in the contemplation of the parties at the time they made the contract, as the probable result of the breach of it.
25. In such circumstances, the Claimant will be entitled to be restored, in so far as monetary compensation can do, to the position he would have been had the contract not been breached, as depicted in the maxim restitutio in integrum. See Okongwu Vs NNPC  4 NWLR (Pt 115) 295;Orji VsAnyaso  2 NWLR (Pt 643) 1; Adekunle Vs Rockview Hotel Limited  1 NWLR (Pt 853) 161; Cameroon Airlines Vs Otutuizu  4 NWLR (Pt 1238) 512.
In the present case, the Court has found as fact in the foregoing that the Defendant breached the contract of appointment by terminating the Claimant’s appointment before the end of the duration of the contract as agreed by parties as stated in Exhibit C1. The Claimant is therefore entitled to his claim for damages. This is the salary he ought to have been paid if the contract agreement had not been breached by the Defendant. And I so hold.
26. The Claimant also alleged an infraction of his fundamental right to fair hearing as guaranteed under Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) on the disciplinary procedure adopted by the Defendant resulting to the termination of his appointment.
Learned Claimant’s counsel’s submission is that the Claimant was not given the opportunity to defend the criminal allegations that were levelled against him as stated in Exhibit C2, the Query and Exhibit C3, the letter of termination of appointment and thereby violated the Claimant’s right to fair hearing. Learned counsel cited the cases of Arije Vs Arije  16 NWLR (Pt 1644) 67; Arobieke Vs N.E.L.M.C  5 NWLR (Pt 1613) 397; Federal Polytechnic Mubi Vs Yusuf  1 NWLR (Pt 165) 81
27. The defence put forward by the Defendant is that a query was issued to the Claimant and that not being satisfied with the reply of the Claimant, the Defendant invited the Claimant via Exhibit D1, to appear before its Management Disciplinary Committee set up to investigate the allegations levelled against him but that the Claimant refused, neglected and ignored the said invitation. The Defendant further maintained that it adhered to the disciplinary procedures by calling witnesses to testify at the Committee; that thereafter, a decision was made to terminate the Claimant’s appointment and that the Committee made its recommendation to the Management in its report – Exhibit D5.
28. Now, it is settled law that before an employer can dispense with the service of his employee under the common law all he needs to do is to afford the employee an opportunity of being heard before exercising his power of dismissal even where the allegation for which the employee is being dismissed involves accusation of crime. See: Ransome-Kuti Vs A-G Federation  2 NWLR (Pt 6) 211; Yusuf Vs UBN  LPELR 3537
The established fact through the Defendant’s witnesses is that the Claimant was invited to the Disciplinary Committee. The Claimant admitted that he replied the query via an e-mail – Exhibit C7.
From the contents of Exhibit C7, dated 30/11/2016, I am of the view that the Claimant had by his conduct resolved not to participate in the investigation of Disciplinary Committee set up by the Defendant.
The relevant portion of the said exhibit states as follows:
“Since you already referred the matter to the DSS and I did spend the entire day of Monday 28 November 2016 at the DSS’ Office, Kaduna. Appreciate that we allow the DSS Office’ to complete their investigation on this matter because your “preliminary findings” are not accurate.
Please be informed that I handed over the Corolla, Laptop, Office Keys, etc to your nominees that laid siege on me in the evening of Monday, 28 November, 2016. I await the DSS’ investigation report because my character has been assassinated by the actions of Kaduna Electric”.
29. It is established that the principle of fair hearing is one of substance and not a mere technical rule. Hence, the question is, whether a party who is entitled to fair hearing and who is desirous of being heard before his fate is decided, had in fact been given ample and adequate opportunity of being heard as provided under the law. See Ahmad Vs Sahab Enterprises (Nig) Ltd &Ors  LPELR 41313 and Oloruntoba – Oju Vs AG Federation  LPELR 41250.
To put it differently, the important thing required of the Defendant, by the rules of natural justice and the provisions of Section 36(1) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) applicable to this case, is to convey to the Claimant that a meeting was set up to investigate the allegations made against him.
Aside from the invitation to appear before the Committee, the Defendant also tendered the report of the Committee, Exhibit D5 to further strengthen its defence. It is crystal clear from Exhibits C7 and D5 that the Claimant was given opportunity to defend himself. The Defendant in the instant case afforded the Claimant the opportunity of being heard which he failed to utilize before the Defendant exercised its power to terminate his appointment. The Claimant’s complaint of not being given opportunity to be heard is baseless and lacks merits. I so hold.
30. In prove of his claims for annual family vacation tickets and relocation allowance for being transferred to Kafanchan, the Claimant testified that the said entitlements were stated in Exhibit C1. The annual family vacation tickets claims are for the years 2015 and 2016 at N2,950,00.00 per year, totaling N5,900,000.00. The Claimant testified that he is entitled to relocation allowance from Kaduna to Kafanchan at the daily per diem rate of N30,000.00 for five (5) months. Exhibits C4 and C5 was admitted in evidence to prove these claims.
Learned counsel for the Defendant submitted that the Claimant did not prove how he arrived at the calculation for these claims. Learned counsel further submitted that there is nothing to prove on the face of Exhibit C1 that the Claimant is entitled to relocation allowance as claimed.
31. As I had earlier held, Exhibit D4 also regulates the contract between the parties. Section 4.1.8 thereof states as follows:
“Termination of appointment means loss of employment without loss of earned benefits.”
The pertinent question now is, did the Claimant earn the benefits being claimed? The answer to this poser is in the affirmative. However, as correctly submitted by learned counsel to the Defendant, the Claimant did not prove how he arrived at the sum claimed.
The Claimant’s claim in relief 4 is for the sum of N27,443,811.00 being the total amount of the unpaid entitlements and benefit due to the Claimant while in the employment of the Defendant .
It is trite that claims for allowances and or benefits are claims for special damages that must be claimed specially and proved strictly. See: NNPC Vs Clifco Nigeria Ltd  LPELR-2022(SC); Seven Up Bottling Co Plc Vs Augustus  LPELR-20873(CA).
32. In Mr. Mohammed Dungus&Ors Vs ENL Consortium Ltd  60 NLLR (Pt 208) 39, this Court held that the rule is that it is the Claimant who claims that must prove; and in labour relations, an employee can only claim if an entitlement is shown. An entitlement is shown by reference to the law that gives it, the collective agreement from which the entitlement was agreed on between the contracting parties or the conditions of service governing the relationship of the employer and his/her employee. Secondly, the employee who claims must show how he came by the quantum of the sums claimed. This Court also cautioned that it may be fatal if, in proving an entitlement, and even if the instrument is referred to, the employee does not indicate the clause, section, article or paragraph that grants the entitlement claimed given that the employee should not expect that it is the Court that will shop for the relevant article that substantiates the claim prayed for. This is the context within which the Claimant can succeed in the present case.
I totally agree with the learned counsel for the Defendant that the Claimant did not refer to any law, document, contract by which he calculated this amount of his entitlements. In the circumstance therefore, the Claimant failed to discharge the burden of proof to entitle him to this claim. And I so hold.
33. Berthing the Court’s analysis of the totality of the material evidence adduced on record as demonstrated in the foregoing, therefore, I must resolve the issues set down for determination in this suit, encompassing the issues respectively formulated by learned counsel for the respective parties, partially in favor of the Claimant. As seen by evidence on record, this suit is rooted in the sanctity of contracts freely entered into by parties in this suit; and this Court, in that regard has a bounden duty to ensure the enforcement of the Contract Agreement executed between the parties.
34. In the overall analysis, the Court adjudges the claim of the Claimant as meritorious in part.
For avoidance of doubts and abundance of clarity, judgment is hereby entered in favour of the Claimant in part against the Defendant upon the terms set out as follows:
1. It is hereby declared that the Defendant breached the terms of the Contract Appointment of the Claimant by the letter of termination of appointment dated 5 December, 2016.
2. The Defendant is hereby ordered to pay to the Claimant forthwith, the sum of N2,333,625.00 (Two Million, Three Hundred and Thirty Three Thousand, Six Hundred and Twenty- Five Naira) only as damages for breach of contract.
3. It is hereby further ordered that the Defendant shall pay the sum set out in (3) above within sixty (60) days to the Claimant.
4. Costs of the action is hereby assessed in the sum of N100,000.00 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) only, payable by the Defendant to the Claimant.
SINMISOLA O. ADENIYI
John Ainetor Esq. for Claimant
D. D. Tabakwot Esq. for Defendant