Nes Africa Ordered To Pay $51, 527; £14, 119 To Ex-Business Dev. MGR

A Lagos division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), has ordered a company, Nes Africa Limited, to pay the sum of $51,527.95 USD and £14, 119. 68 BPS, or their naira equivalent, as terminal benefits to its former Business Development Manager, Babafemi Banjo, whose appointment was illegally terminated by the firm.

The court also ordered that the sum of N1 million be paid to Mr. Banjo by the firm, as cost of instituting the suit.

Meanwhile, all the counterclaim against Mr. Banjo by the firm, were declined.
These were the decisions of the presiding Justice (Professor) Elizabeth A. Orji, who delivered judgment in a suit marked NICN/LA/273/2018, filed by Mr. Banjo against the firm and Lagos State Police Commissioner.

In the suit, the claimant, Mr. Banjo, through his lawyer, Segun Adedoyin, asked the court for the followings: “a declaration that the company’s refusal to pay his terminal benefits is arbitrary, unfair, unlawful and unconstitutional.

“An order compelling the company to immediately pay his terminal benefits assessed as $51, 527.95 (Fifty-One Thousand, Five Hundred and Twenty-Seven United States Dollars and Ninety-Five Pence) and £14,119.68 (Fourteen Thousand, One Hundred and Nineteen Great Britain Pounds and Sixty-Eight Shillings) or its equivalent in Nigerian currency.

Alternatively, the claimant urged the court for “an order directing the company to pay to him the Naira equivalent of the said sums of money mentioned in relief at the prevailing rates for exchange at the time of payment.

He also asked the court for an order of Perpetual Injunction restraining the second defendant from inviting, harassing or further investigating the him on account of his possession of official car assigned to him by the company, until full payment of Claimant’s terminal benefits;

He also asked for the sum of N5 million, as special and general damages against the company. And costs of the action.

However, the company, in its counterclaims filed by it’s lawyer, Damilola Amore, against the claimant, asked the court for the followings: “a declaration that the continued detention and use of the vehicle is illegal, irresponsible and unlawful

“An order compelling the defendant-to-the-Counter-claim to return the vehicle in his possession to the company.

“An award of N2 million only, as damages for loss of use of its vehicle by the defendant to the counter-claim and Cost of action.”

In the course of the trial of the suit, parties called their witnesses as well tendered several documentary exhibits, which were admitted by the court.
Delivering judgment on the suit, Justice Orji held that: “Based on the above, I find that the claimant is entitled to his second relief. 

” The first defendant is ordered to immediately pay Claimant’s terminal benefits of $51,527.95 (Fifty One Thousand, Five Hundred And Twenty Seven United State Dollars, Ninety Five Pence and GBP 14,119.68 (Fourteen thousand, One Hundred and Nineteen Great Britain pounds) or their equivalent in Nigeria currency at the prevailing rates of exchange at the time of payment. 

“The thrrd relief sought by the claimant is for “perpetual injunction restraining the second defendant from inviting, harassing or further investigating the claimant on account of claimant’s possession of the official car assigned to claimant by first defendant, until full payment of Claimant’s terminal benefits.  This relief is denied as the claimant has not led any evidence in its proof.  

“Having been granted relief two above, the claim for special and general damages of N5, 000,000.00 (Five Million Naira Only) against first defendant, is denied.

“Issue two is whether first defendant is entitled to the reliefs sought in the counterclaim.  The first defendant claims for “a declaration that the continued detention and use of the vehicle is illegal, irresponsible and unlawful. I have considered the evidence before this Court in relation to the continued retention of the first defendant’s vehicle, which the Claimant used as an official car.  

“The claimant has not laid claim to the ownership of the vehicle; but states that he is holding on to the car, in view of the first defendant’s failure to pay his entitlements. Though the first defendant made efforts at establishing a case of theft against the claimant, however, in the circumstances of this case, I find that the first defendant has not established the illegality and unlawfulness of the claimant’s action. 

“The second relief sought by the Counterclaimant is for “a order compelling the defendant-to-the-Counter-claim to return the vehicle in his possession to the Counter-claimant.”  In view of the non-contention of the ownership of the vehicle, the claimant is ordered to return the said vehicle in his possession to the first defendant, immediately upon the first defendant’s compliance with the Order of this Court, for the payment of the claimant’s entitlements.

“Relief three of the counterclaim for an “award of N2 million only, as damages for loss of use of its vehicle by the defendant to the counter-claim”, is refused, in view of the findings in favour of the claimant.

“Cost of this suit is placed at N1 million only; to be paid to the claimant by the first defendant. All adjudged sums are to be paid not later than 30 days from this date of judgment; failure will attract an interest of 10 percent per annum.”