IN THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA
IN THE ABUJA JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT ABUJA
BEFORE HER LADYSHIP HON. JUSTICE O.A. OBASEKI-OSAGHAE
DATE: MARCH 8, 2023 SUIT NO. NICN/ABJ/32/2021
SIKIRU BABATUNDE CLAIMANT
VINTAGE PRESS LIMITED
PUBLISHERS OF “THE NATION” DEFENDANT
Ibrahim T. Hassan for the Claimant.
Yunus Abdulsalam for the Defendant.
Introduction and claims
 The Claimant filed this Complaint against the Defendants on 2nd February 2021 together with the accompanying processes seeking for the following reliefs:
i. A Declaration that the Letter of Separation, to the extent of all its unlawfulness, including its been backdated to 30th September, 2019 be annulled.
ii. A Declaration that the effective date of the Separation Letter be 20th February, 2020.
iii. A Declaration that the Defendant lacks the vires to punish and demand from the Claimant the payment of unsold missing variance of N1,555,737.00 (One Million, Five Hundred and Fifty-Five Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty-Seven Naira) only which was as a result of the Defendant’s inaction and negligence in the provision of storage facility.
iv. A Declaration that the Defendant lacks the vires to tie the payment of the Claimant’s entitlements to settlement of debt of N1,266,498. (One Million, Two Hundred and Sixty-Six Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety-Eight Naira) Only, owed and duly acknowledged by debtor agents.
v. An Order directing the immediate payment of Claimant’s accumulated salaries and emoluments and all other benefits, including that of separation and one month in lieu of notice, to the Claimant as a staff of the Defendant from October 2019 till February 2020.
vi. An Order of payment of general damages of a sum of N10,000,000.00 (Ten Million Naira) Only in favour of the Claimant and against the Defendant for all the inconveniences suffered by the claimant as a result of the Defendant’s action.
vi. An Order of payment of the sum of N3,500,000.00 (Three Million, Five Hundred and Thousand Naira) only being cost of this suit.
 The Defendant filed its statement of defence and a counter-claim together with the accompanying processes on 31st March 2021. The Defendant counter claimed as follows:
a. A Declaration that the Defendant to the Counterclaim is indebted to the Counterclaimant to the sum of N2,753,553 (Two Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty-Three Naira) for the outstanding sales debt and unsold variance.
b. An Order of payment of N2,822,235 (Two Million, Eight Hundred and Twenty-Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty-Five Naira) being the outstanding sales debt and amount for unsold variance.
c. An Order of payment of general damages of N20,000,000 (Twenty Million Naira only) in favour of the Counter claimant and against the Defendant to the Counter claim for all the inconveniences caused and loss of business suffered by the Counter claimant.
d. An Order of payment of the sum of N5,000,000 (Five Million Naira Only) being the cost of this suit.
The Claimant filed a reply to the statement of defence, and a defence to the counter claim on 19th July, 2021.
 The Claimant’s case on the pleadings is that he was employed by the Defendant in April, 2012 as Sales Representative and posted to Maryland Distribution Area. He averred that his appointment was confirmed by a letter of confirmation dated 10th December, 2012. The Claimant stated that he was transferred from the Lagos Office to Lafia (Nasarawa State) office by an Internal Memo dated 30th July, 2012 and his salary was reviewed by a letter dated 31st January, 2013. The Claimant stated that by his posting to Lafia, Nasarawa State as Sales Representative, he was covering Lafia, Akwanga, and Keffi and he diligently carrying out his duties. He averred that his job description as was to supply daily newspapers to agents who in turn distribute directly to vendors under them (the agents).
 The Claimant stated that it is the practice to supply the agents on daily basis on credit and the agents pay back the monetary value on weekly basis. He further stated that the unsold newspapers are collected back from the agents also on a weekly basis by the sales representative who in turn keeps the unsold newspapers in the store provided for by the Defendant, for Auditor’s check. The Claimant averred that when he got to Lafia, upon his transfer, there was no office for him to operate from or a store to keep unsold newspapers, and he could also not immediately secure accommodation when he arrived Lafia in 2012. The Claimant stated that he kept making frantic calls complaining to the Defendant that there was no office to operate from and no store to keep the unsold/returned newspapers without positive response. He averred that he then wrote several letters to the head office of the Defendant, to request for provision of a store, but none of his letters was responded to. That in addition, he wrote several letters to his sales manager requesting for a store.
 The Claimant stated that on the 9th January 2017, he wrote to the sales manager when one of the shops he used as a makeshift store was burgled; and afterwards sent messages requesting for the provision of a store once again, on 16th November, 2017, 28th February, 2018 and 19th April, 2018. The Claimant averred that due to the lack of a store, he had to use his initiatives to keep unsold newspapers in shops owned by some agents domiciled in Keffi and Lafia. The Claimant stated that due to Defendant’s failure to provide a store, the unsold newspapers were either missing or stolen. He stated that one of the shops he kept unsold newspapers was burgled on the 3rd January, 2017 and the unsold newspapers were among the things stolen from the shop; and that he made a report to the Police as well as to the sales manager. The Claimant averred that upon the audit carried out in 2018, the total amount of unsold variance missing stood at N1,555,737, (One Million, Five Hundred and Fifty-Five Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty-Seven Naira) for the period 2012-2018.
 The Claimant stated the Defendant eventually provided a store on 23rd October, 2018 and that ever since the store was provided, there was no missing newspaper or theft of the unsold newspapers. The Claimant averred that some of the agents were in debt. That the total debt that accrued when he handed over to another sales representative on the 30th September, 2019 was N1,266,498.00 (One Million, Two Hundred and Sixty-Six Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety Eight Naira). He stated that the agents who were indebted signed an undertaking to pay the Defendant. The Claimant stated that upon handing over to another sales representative posted to Lafia to replace him, he was in the Defendant’s Abuja office in the month of October for reconciliation of accounts. That after the reconciliation of account he remained in Abuja as he could no longer work in Lafia since he handed over the Lafia Station to another Sales Representative. The Claimant stated that the Defendant did not write him or instruct him as to what next to do, while he remained in Abuja, checking intermittently at the Defendant’s office while also maintaining contact with the Auditor of the Defendant.
 The Claimant averred that he was not paid his October, November, and December, 2019 salaries and his January 2020 salary, following which he wrote a letter dated 3rd February, 2020 to the Defendant requesting for the payment of all his outstanding salaries. The Claimant further averred that rather than the receipt of his salary, he first received a mail bearing a letter of separation on the 17th February, 2020, while he received the print out copy from the Defendant’s office in Abuja on the 20th February, 2020. That upon the receipt of the letter, he realized and was surprised that the said letter of separation he received on the 20th February, 2020 was dated 30th September, 2019 and effective 1st October, 2019, whereas, he was in the Defendant’s office in Abuja several times in the month of October doing reconciliation of accounts. The Claimant stated that it appears that it was his letter of demand for payment of his outstanding salaries that triggered the letter of separation without notice or payment of his entitlements. The Claimant averred that upon his receipt of the so called separation letter, he wrote a letter dated 20th February, 2020, denying liability as to the outstanding sum attributed to him.
 The Claimant stated that it is absurd and unethical for the Defendant to place liability incurred from the usual trade practice on him; and that since the stoppage of his salary, has been rendered financially impotent, unable to discharge his roles as the head of his family and this has exacerbated his suffering. The Claimant further stated that except for the fact that the letter of separation contained inhuman conclusions and was unlawfully backdated and not in line with his letter of engagement, he is not contesting his separation; but is demanding that all the unjust decisions contained in the letter of separation be annulled and his entitlements be paid.
 The Claimant adopted his statement on oath. It was in terms of the pleadings and he relied on his documents. In cross examination, the Claimant told the court that his responsibility was to sell copies of news papers to sales agents and remit the proceeds of sales back to the Defendant. He admitted that at the time he received his letter of disengagement, there were some monies he ought to have remitted to the Defendant. He stated that N1, 226, 498.00 is owed by agents, and that by the terms of his engagement he was supposed to remit the money from agents latest on weekly basis. The Claimant admitted that some occasions he has not been able to meet up with the weekly timeline. He denied that the Defendant queried him when he failed to meet up the timeline and explained that he made several attempts to get the money from those owing. The Claimant confirmed that he paid N150,000.00 after making calls to friends because he was under obligation to repay the money due from the sales agents, and that it was paid under duress.
 The Claimant told the Court that was in the Defendant’s Office in October 2019, for reconciliation and went to the office in February 2020 after he received the email on separation to collect the hard copy. The Claimant explained that he was not told to go back to Lagos or to come to Abuja every day. That he stayed back in Abuja and Nasarawa with his family and his last salary was in September, 2019. He stated that when he did not receive his salary in October he called the Auditor. The Claimant stated that he took steps to show the Defendant that newspapers were stolen and he made a report together with the agent of the stall to the Police.
 The Defendant’s case on the pleadings is that the Claimant was employed on 1st April 2012 as sales representative and his appointment was subsequently confirmed on the 10th December 2012. The Defendant averred that it is the responsibility and duty of the Claimant as a sale representative to receive daily Newspapers from the Head Office and supply same to agents who in turn sell to vendors and the general public. The Defendant stated that at the end of everyday sales, the sale representative has the duty to receive payment for the newspapers sold and the remaining unsold copies from the agents. That the Claimant is expected to safely keep them in a store provided by the Defendant or any other safe space for the Auditor’s check; while the Claimant is equally expected to make a weekly return for the daily sales recorded within a week.
 The Defendant averred that sale representatives, the Claimant inclusive were never authorized to sell the newspapers on credit to the agents or anyone beyond a day and that is the reason why they were directed to store the unsold copies for auditing. That few months after his employment, the Claimant was able to account for his weekly returns satisfactorily consequent upon which his salary was reviewed on the 21st day of July 2013. That subsequently, the Claimant failed to send his weekly sales, returns and payments as at when due which caused him to be issued with a warning dated the 6th day of February 2013. The Defendant stated that when the Claimant continued to violate its remittance policy having failed to send his weekly sales, returns and payments as at when due, he was issued a query dated 16th May 2019; and reiterating his debt in the sum of N938,967.00 (Nine Hundred and Thirty Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Seven Naira).
 The Defendant stated that in his response the Claimant authored a handwritten undertaking dated the 17th day of May 2019 where he admitted the said indebtedness and promised to pay N15,000.00 (Fifteen Thousand Naira) monthly among other means for the purpose of defraying his indebtedness. That upon receipt of the Claimant’s undertaking, it rejected the terms of repayment contained in the undertaking. Perturbed by the Claimant’s failure to redeem his indebtedness, the Defendant issued another warning dated the 29th day of August 2019 to the Claimant. The Defendant averred that a comprehensive audit of the sales recorded by the Claimant since his transfer to Nassarawa State was carried out by the Auditor, and which it was discovered that the Claimant is heavily indebted in the sum of N2,753, 553.00 (Two Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty-Three Naira) being the accumulated sum for the weekly sales returns and unsold variance.
 The Defendant stated that when the Claimant failed to settle his indebtedness, he was replaced by another employee and was instructed to handover to him and proceed for reconciliation of account at the Abuja office. The Defendant stated that after the reconciliation, the Claimant failed or neglected to come to work either at the Abuja office or the Head Office in Lagos State. That it became apparent that the Claimant grossly mismanaged the assets of the Defendant by virtue of which a separation letter dated the 30th day of September, 2019 was issued to be served on the Claimant. The letter could not be served on the Claimant due to his refusal to resume to work after the reconciliation of account. The Defendant stated that the Claimant absconded from work after the reconciliation of account, and sent a mail on the 3rd day of February 2020 to the Personnel Manager requesting for his unpaid salaries from October 2019 till February 2020. The email address was then used to serve the Claimant with the letter of separation.
 The Defendant stated that in June 2020, the Claimant through his Solicitors wrote demanding for immediate payment of the Claimant’s outstanding salaries and other entitlements. It swiftly replied through its Personnel Manager refuting the claim while reiterating the Claimant’s indebtedness. That contrary to the Claimant’s claim, he neither swore to an affidavit in support of the purported Police report nor did the purported Police report contain the number/naira value of the newspapers allegedly stolen. That he was instructed to furnish the Defendant with the detailed account of the theft and witnesses. The Defendant stated that the Claimant furnished it with a scanty and unconvincing account of the theft wherein he included the contact of a witness to the burglary who when contacted denied the knowledge of same. The Defendant stated that i wrote to the agents solely for the purpose of confirming the genuineness of their indebtedness and not for the purpose of collecting the sums as the collection of the debts is exclusively that of the Claimant who the agents in question know and are familiar with.
 The Defendant averred that the Auditor has cautioned the Claimant on selling the newspapers to the agents on credit during one of his audit assignment but the Claimant did not heed to it. The Claimant was instructed to update the returns of payment and record of unsold copies through WhatsApp but the Claimant flagrantly and consistently defaulted in doing same. That upon the completion of the reconciliation of accounts, it is the prevailing practice that the Claimant is to report back to the Head Office of the Defendant for further instructions but the Claimant never went to the Head Office nor did he go to the branch office in Abuja. The Defendant stated that the Claimant did not work in the months of October, November, December, January and February; and he did not get his clearance as required to enable his severance benefits to be paid. The Defendant stated that the Claimant neither complained nor did he write demanding the payment of his salaries.
 That the separation letter was prepared to be served on the Claimant dated the 30th of September, 2020 to take effect on the 1st of October, 2019 was forwarded to the Claimant’s last Lagos address but was informed by the Occupant of the residence that the Claimant does not live there anymore. The Defendant averred that the Claimant violated its remittance policy as a result of which he accumulated to the sum stands at N2, 753, 553 (Two Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty-Three Naira). That the Claimant caused his unfortunate predicament by intentionally and flagrantly disregarding the standing instructions by not reporting to the Head office for account, clearance and further instructions which eventually caused delay in serving him the letter of separation.
 On the counter claim, the Defendant/Counterclaimant averred that it does not owe the Claimant/Defendant to Counterclaim salary for the months of October, November, December, 2019 as well as January and February 2020 or any other amount. The Defendant/Counterclaimant averred that the Claimant/Defendant to Counterclaim was instructed to sell and not to issue the newspapers on credit to the agents and the general public beyond a day. The Defendant/Counterclaimant averred that the Claimant/Defendant to Counterclaim wrote a letter of undertaken dated the 15th of May, 2019 wherein he acknowledged his indebtedness as at then to the sum of N938,967.00 (Nine Hundred and Thirty-Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty-Seven Naira in which he settled only N150,000.00 One (Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) and the debt subsequently continued to accumulate.
 That a comprehensive audit of the sales recorded by the Claimant/Defendant to Counterclaim since his transfer to Nassarawa State revealed that the Claimant is indebted in the sum of N2, 753, 553 (Two Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty-Three Naira) been the accumulated sum for the weekly sales returns and unsold variance. That the Claimant/Defendant to the Counterclaim will not pay this debt without the Order of Court.
 Godfrey Okeke (DW) Internal Auditor testified for the Defendant. He adopted his statement on oath. It was in terms of the pleadings and relied on his admitted documents. In cross-examination, DW told the court that he is aware the Claimant was posted to Nasarawa State as sale representative, covering Lafia, Akwanga, and Keffi. DW stated that the letter of separation was dated and served on 2019 but he did not know when the Claimant received the letter. DW told the court that the Claimant did not work till February 2020. He said the Claimant informed them there was a theft and submitted a Police extract. DW stated that it is the responsibility of the Defendant to provide stores where unsold newspapers are kept; and that he is aware the Claimant made a request for a store which was being processed before the issue of the theft came up in 2018. That when the Defendant provided a store, there was no report of stolen newspapers. DW told the Court that the Defendant does not know those who are indebted, that it does not have any contract with the agents, neither does it the agents or have their addresses.
 The Defendant’s final address is dated 6th May 2022 and filed on the 10th May 2022. The Claimant’s final address is dated 13th June 2022 and filed on the 14th June, 2022. The Defendant’s reply on points of law is dated 17th June 2022 and filed the same day. Parties adopted their respective addresses.
 Learned counsel to the Defendant raised one issue for determination as follows:
Whether the Claimant has proved his case to entitle him to the reliefs sought
Learned Counsel submitted that the law is trite that a worker who failed to come to work is not entitled to salary citing FCDA v. Nzele (2014) 5 NWLR (Pt 441) 650; Abdulraheem v. Olufeagba  17 NWLR (Pt. 1008) 280. He submitted that the Claimant has not been able to prove that the said makeshift shop were the unsold variance was kept was burgled as he who asserts must prove, citing Christian V. Umara & Anor (2021) LPELR-53242 (CA); Dasuki v. FRN & Ors (2018) 10 NWLR (PT. 1627); Section 131 Evidence Act.
 Learned counsel argued that the Defendant did not employ the Claimant to incure debts which is antithetical to the growth of the Defendant as a corporate entity, Usondu v. UBN Plc  LPELR – 4535 (CA). He submitted that general damages can only be awarded once liability is established, citing Diamond Bank Plc v. Wellcare Alliance Ltd (2015) LPELR (40762) at 27-28; Ogbiri v. N.A.O.C (2010) 14 NWLR (Pt. 1213) 208 at 225; and that exemplary damage is punitive in nature and courts rarely award it except there is a case of fraud or malice. He stated that the sum of the
N22,000 (payment in lieu of notice) has already been calculated in the Claimant’s entitlement as can be seen in exhibit C15. Counsel submitted that failure to issue a letter of termination of employment contemporaneously with the salary in lieu of notice will not render the termination of employment ineffective. He cited Ifeta v. SPDCN  8 NWLR (Pt. 983) 585 SC; Olatunbosun v. NISERC  6 SCNJ 38; Osisanya V. Afribank (Nig) Limited Plc  6 NWLR (Pt 1031) 565.
 Learned Counsel argued that the Claimant’s act of gross misconduct disentitles him to payment of salary in lieu of notice and that this is evident from the Claimant’s violation of his terms of employment by defying the Defendant's instruction of non- sale of credit which was responsible for the Claimant’s failure to remit sales proceed to the Defendant as at when due. On the counter claim, he submitted that from the totality of evidence, the Claimant has admitted the counter claim. He then urged the Court to dismiss the claimant’s case and to grant all the reliefs sought by the Defendant/Counterclaimant.
 Learned Counsel to the Claimant raised two issues for determination as follows:
1) Whether on the preponderance of evidence before this court, the Claimant is entitled to the reliefs claimed.
2) Whether on the preponderance of evidence before this Court, the Defendant/counter claimant is entitled to the reliefs claimed in the counter claim.
 Learned Counsel submitted that the letter of appointment of an employee is the bedrock of his contract of employment. All the terms and conditions of the contract of employment must be founded within the letter of employment citing Sokoto State Government & Anor v. Nawawi  LPELR-516883 (CA); Mainstreet Bank Registrars Ltd v. Abimbola  LPELR-50227(CA). He submitted that the effective date of the ‘letter of separation’ dated 30th September, 2019, was the date it was delivered to the claimant which was 17th day of February, 2020, the hard copy was received on the 20th February, 2020 citing C.B.N v. Igwillo, unreported suit No. SC 83/2002, its judgment was delivered on the 4th May, 2007.
 Learned Counsel submitted that it is the responsibility of the employer to insure where it is necessary or required insurable risks ;and that it is not the duty of this court to venture or accede to the demand of payment of stolen or missing unsold variance citing Yunusa Umar Gunda v. University of Maiduguri (2014) LPELR-23351(CA). He submitted that the defendant/counter claimant has no document evidencing a debt before this Court and therefore, the counterclaim must fail. He cited Frazimex Nig Ltd & Anor v. Doatee Concepts Nig. Ltd (2010) LPELR-4173(CA); L.T. Thadeni & Anor v. National Bank of Nigeria Ltd & Anor (1972) LPELR-3147(SC). It was his submission that the back dated letter of separation is an unfair labour practice, maliciously intended to deny the Claimant his rightful benefits, relying on Udegbunam v. FCDA (supra). He then urged the Court to dismiss the claims of the Defendant/Counter claimant and enter judgment in favour of the Claimant.
 Replying on point of law, learned defence counsel submitted that it is settled that if the working conditions of an organization are so unsatisfactory as to be intolerable to an employee, such employee is empowered by law to quit and the employer cannot stop him, relying on Taduggoronno v. Gotom (2002) 4 NWLR (Pt. 757) 453. He submitted that from the evidence, the Claimant has already admitted his indebtedness to the Defendant.
 I have carefully considered the processes filed, the oral and documentary evidence, the submissions and the authorities cited by counsel. It is trite that whoever desires the Court to give judgment as to any legal right or liability dependent on the existence of facts which he asserts must prove that those facts exist. See Section 131 (1) & (2) of the Evidence Act, 2011. The Claimant who desires that the Court determines his employment rights is to place before the Court the terms and conditions of his employment that provides for his rights and obligations, and how they have been breached by the Defendant his employer. See Okoebor v. Police Council  12 NWLR (Pt. 834) 444; Idoniboye-Obe v. NNPC  2 NWLR (Pt. 805) 589 at 630.
 In evidence is the Claimant’s employment letter (exhibit C1), letter of confirmation (exhibit C2), letter of transfer (exhibit C3), store request (exhibits C5, C6 & C8), unsold storage and theft (exhibit C7 & C9), debts and debts refund (exhibit C11 & C12), unpaid salary ( C13 & C14), letter of separation (C15), accounts receivable (exhibit C16), letter of demand (C17). The defendant in proof of its counter claim has placed before the Court a letter of warning (exhibit D2), outstanding debt (D3 & D9), letter of undertaken (exhibit D4), repayment plan (D5).
 The issues for determination are as follows:
1. Whether the Defendant can terminate the Claimant’s employment retrospectively?
2. Whether on the pleadings and evidence the Claimant ought to be entitled to judgment?
3. Whether the Defendant has proved the counter claim?
 There is no dispute between the parties that the Defendant instructed the Claimant to hand over his duties to another officer in September 2019 and to proceed from Lafia to Abuja for reconciliation of his accounts. The Claimant’s unchallenged evidence is that the remained in Abuja for reconciliation meetings throughout the month of October; and thereafter remained in Abuja reporting to the office from time to time. There was no communication or directive to him from the Defendant and he was not paid his salary from October 2019. I believe the Claimant. There is no evidence that it is the practice of the Defendant for its staff to report back to head office after reconciliation. The Claimant remained a staff of the Defendant while awaiting further directives; and his right to his salary was not affected by his handing over his duties to another officer. The employee’s salary becomes due and his right to it is vested at the end of each month. When his salary was not forthcoming, the Claimant on 3rd February 2020 wrote the Defendant formally demanding his salary.
 Upon receipt of the Claimant’s letter of demand, the Defendant sent him a mail which he received on 20th February 2020 and to which a letter of separation dated 30th September 2019 was attached. The letter of separation states: “We regret to inform you that your services are no longer required in this organization. This is with effect from 1st October 2019”. I do not believe the evidence of DW that the separation letter had been prepared in September 2019 but it could not be delivered because they could not find the Claimant. An employer cannot terminate his employees’ employment with retrospective effect with a view to denying him his right to salary. See Underwater Eng Co Ltd v Dubefon (1995) 6 NWLR (Pt 400) 156, Abenga v BSJSC (2006) 14 NWLR (Pt 1000) 610, Olumide Otusote v National Union Of Hotel And Personal Services Workers (unreported) Suit No NICN/LA/126/2014 judgement delivered on October 9, 2018.
 The separation of the Claimant cannot be made retrospective as the effective date of termination must be reckoned as the date the Claimant received the letter of separation. I find that the Claimant’s employment was in existence till 20th February 2020 when he received the letter of separation. It was therefore wrongful of the Defendant to terminate his employment retrospectively, see N.N.B Ltd v Obevudiri (1986) 3 NWLR (Pt 29) 387. The Claimant is entitled to all of his accrued salary from October 2019 to 20th February 2020; and the other terminal benefits in the sum of N306,533.31 (Three Hundred and Six Thousand, Five Hundred and Thirty Three Naira, Thirty One Kobo) as stated in the letter of separation. The Claimant did not place before the Court his pay slip to enable the Court determine the exact figure he is entitled to for the 5 months period. Reliefs 1, 2 and 5 succeed.
 The Claimant has admitted in his pleadings that the total amount of unsold variance missing stood at N1,555,337.00 (One Million, Five Hundred and Fifty-Five Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty-Seven Naira) for the period of six years, 2012-2018. The evidence adduced reveals that the Claimant persistently wrote the Defendant’s Sales Manager, and Senior Sales Manager between the years 2013 and 2017 requesting and pleading that he be provided with a store at the Lafia station to enable him store the unsold newspapers and prevent theft of same. The Claimant’s request was only granted in 2018 and thereafter the unsold newspapers were not lost to theft. The Defendant admits in its pleadings that the Claimant is expected to safely keep the unsold newspapers in a store provided by it or any other safe space for the Auditor’s check and account. This is also the evidence of DW. It is the law that facts admitted require no further proof, see section 123 of the Evidence Act, Unity Bank v Denclaff (2012) 18 NWLR (Pt 1332) 293 SC.
 Having failed to provide a store for safekeeping of unsold newspapers, I find that the loss of the unsold newspapers was occasioned by the Defendant’s inaction and failure to provide storage facility. The Claimant cannot therefore be held liable, and be punished to pay the sum of N1,555,337.00 (One Million, Five Hundred and Fifty-Five Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty-Seven Naira) for the missing variance. Relief 3 succeeds.
 The Claimant has admitted that the total debt owed by the agents when he handed over was N1,266,498.00 (One Million, Two Hundred and Sixty-Six Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety-Eight Naira). There is no evidence that the Defendant authorized the Claimant to sell the newspapers to agents on credit. When the Claimant failed to send his weekly sales returns and payments, he was queried in 2013 (exhibit D2) by the Defendant. Again in May 2019, the Claimant was queried (exhibit D3) for failing to remit the sum of N938,967.00 (Nine Hundred and Thirty Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Seven Naira). The Claimant in response gave an undertaking (exhibit D4) admitting the sum and stating that he had been able to remit the sum of N150,000.00. He promised to pay the outstanding balance of N788,967.00 (Seven Hundred and Eighty Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Seven Naira) in monthly installments of N15,000.00.
 The Claimant failed to honour his undertaking and the Defendant reminded him of this in exhibit D5. There is no evidence that the Claimant has paid the outstanding balance of N788,967.00 that he undertook to pay off. I therefore find that the Claimant is indebted to the Defendant in the sum of N788,967.00. Relief 4 is refused.
 The Claimant is seeking an award of general damages. I have already found that he is indebted to the Defendant having failed to meet up with his obligations. The Claimant has not proved to the Court any injury or damage he has suffered by the actions of the Defendant. This prayer is refused.
 On the whole, the case of the Claimant succeeds.
 The Defendant is ordered to pay the claimant his accrued salary from October 2019 to 20th February 2020; and his terminal benefits in the sum of N306,533.31 (Three Hundred and Six Thousand, Five Hundred and Thirty Three Naira, Thirty One Kobo) as stated in the letter of separation within 30 days. Thereafter the sum will attract interest at the rate of 10% per annum.
 I now proceed to the counter claim. The Defendant has counter claimed for the sum of N2,753,533.00 for outstanding sales debt and unsold variance. I have already held that the Claimant is not liable for the missing variance. The totality of the evidence adduced reveals that the Claimant is liable for the balance of the sales debt of N788,967.00 having paid N150,000.00 already. The Claimant is ordered to pay the outstanding balance of N788,967.00 (Seven Hundred and Eighty Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Seven Naira) to the Defendant/Counter claimant. The claim for general damages is refused having not been proved.
 The counter claim has been proved; and succeeds against the Claimant.
 This sum is to be paid by the Claimant within 30 days. Thereafter, it will attract interest at the rate of 10% per annum.
 For all the reasons given above I hereby declare and make the following orders:
1) It is declared that the letter of separation is wrongful for being retrospective and backdated to 30th September 2019.
2) It is declared that the effective date of the letter of separation is 20th February, 2020.
3) The Defendant is ordered to pay the Claimant his accrued salary from October 2019 to 20th February 2020; and his terminal benefits in the sum of N306,533.31 (Three Hundred and Six Thousand, Five Hundred and Thirty Three Naira, Thirty One Kobo).
4) Costs in the sum of N150,000.00 awarded the Claimant.
5) It is declared that the Claimant/Defendant to the Counterclaim is indebted to the Defendant/Counterclaimant in the sum of N788,967.00 (Seven Hundred and Eighty Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Seven Naira) for the outstanding sales debt.
6) The Claimant/Defendant to the Counterclaim is ordered to pay the outstanding balance of N788,967.00 (Seven Hundred and Eighty Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Seven Naira) to the Defendant/Counter claimant.
7) Costs in the sum of N150,000.00 awarded the Defendant/Counter claimant.
Judgment is entered accordingly.
Hon Justice O.A.Obaseki-Osaghae