The Presiding Judge, Portharcourt Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Faustina Kola-Olalere has dismissed the case filed by One Inyang Joseph on entitlements claim against Martin Craighead and 2 others for lack of jurisdiction.
The Court held that there was no proper party before the Court to direct any payment of compensation to Mr. Joseph and has robbed the court of the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
From facts, the claimant- Inyang Joseph had pleaded that the companies embarked on redundancy exercise without following due process and has refused and/neglected to pay him the redundancy benefits provided for under the company Voluntary Release Program package, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.
In defense, the defendants-Martin Craighead and 2 others submitted that Baker Hughes Company conducted a redundancy exercise which affected Joseph and was accordingly paid in line with his Contract of Employment that Bakers firm is not under their control.
Furthermore, the defendants' counsel maintained that failure of Joseph to join the right party is fatal to the suit and entirely robs the Court of the jurisdiction to entertain the matter on the ground that those sued are strangers to Joseph’s contract of employment, urged to court to dismiss the case in its entirety.
In addition, learned counsel submitted that Joseph had accepted the payments in form of his terminal benefits and redundancy package in full and final settlement of his entitlements and cannot be allowed in law to turnaround and claim otherwise.
In opposition, Joesph's counsel submitted that the rights and obligations created under the contract of employment between his client and Martin Craighead and others through Baker Hughes Company are enforceable against all the Defendants, urged the court to dismiss the defendants' submission and rule in his client favour.
Counsel submitted further that the mere acceptance of two weeks’ basic salary as redundancy payment and salary in lieu of notice is insufficient to stop his client from contesting the non-payment of the redundancy benefit that the protest by his client is a repudiation of the payment.
After listening to the submission of both parties, delivering the Judgment, the presiding judge, Justice Kola-Olalere held that the parties sued by Mr. Joseph in the suit are not proper or necessary parties that Joseph’s failure to sue his employer totally robs the Court of its jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
In all, the case was dismissed.