By Jennifer Y Omiloli
On Monday, the National Industrial Court ruled on Dec. 18, demanding N100 million in damages for a definite hearing of pending applications in a lawsuit filed by a CCECC worker, Mr. Godspower Ntaka.
Ntaka claims the amount in the hands of armed robbers during an official duty for alleged emotional trauma, psychological anxiety, mental stress and discriminatory treatment resulting from his ordeal.
Anuwe delayed the matter for a definitive hearing until Dec. 18 after a letter from the defendant’s lawyer told the court.
The judge noted that in a letter dated 25/10/19, the defendant’s counsel stated that Mr Oluleye Delano, SAN, who is to defend this case, was ill and would not be able to attend court.
The judge had set the Oct. 28 at the last sitting of Oct. 7 after the defendant had informed the court of a preliminary appeal.
Any we in addition ordered accelerated hearing of the case.
Anuwe also directed Mr Cornelius Nwapi, claimant counsel to reply on point of law to the preliminary objection.
The defence counsel, Mr Ahmed Oyegbami in the objection said the claimant, Ntaka instituted the suit without necessary compliance with the preliminary steps in the agreement on Terms and Conditions for junior employees in the building and civil engineering sector in Nigeria as provided by NJIC.
He said that Article 9 specifically was on procedures for settling grievances, which stated that an aggrieved employee must first report to his supervisor, head of department, management, branch union and finally state union office, before seeking redress in court.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the claimant (Nkata) in his statement of facts filed on March 27, stated that he was attacked by armed robbers on Aug. 25, 2012 while on an official errand as a security supervisor.
He said he was in company of two other workers, Mr Emeka Amadi, the company’s chief security officer and Mr Bennett Kalu, a driver in the company too.
He said that Kalu was discovered to have been killed by the robbers after he (claimant) and Amadi reported to the police and in company of the police returned to the scene of the robbery.
The claimant said thereupon, the police took him and Amadi to the Special Anti robbery Squad (SARS ) where he was detained from Aug. 29, 2012 until Oct. 11, 2012.
He said that it took the services of a private lawyer who filed for the enforcement of his fundamental right at an FCT High Court before he was released from SARS.
The claimant said he was then charged to court and was in prison custody from May 2013 until September 2018 when he was discharged and acquitted.
He averred that his ordeal was a result of an official errand he was sent to do by the company and that the company abandoned him.
The company, he said, stopped his salary while in prison custody and took no steps either to defend him or offer any succour.
He said that after his discharge and acquittal, the company has not taken any step to rehabilitate him and pay compensation.
He therefore seeks the court‘s declaration that he was still a staff of the company and entitled to all the rights, privileges and benefits due to him by reason of his employment.
The claimant is also seeking the court’s order to direct the company since 2014 to pay all its outstanding salaries, benefits and entitlements.
He also asks for the amount of N100 million as harm to alienation, emotional trauma and psychological stress, discriminatory treatment, loss of opportunity to pursue his schooling, inconvenience and misery among others.