The Presiding Judge, Calabar Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sanusi Kado has dismissed the pension entitlement claims filed by one Isa Bello against the United Bank For Africa for lack of proof.
The Court held that Isa Bello failed to refer the court to any provisions in his conditions of service that grants him entitlement to pension on the attainment of 45 years of age after voluntary resignation before attaining such age.
From facts, the claimant – Isa Bello had submitted that he voluntarily resigned after 15 years of service with the bank at the age of 38 years that upon attainment of 45 years on 15th May 2007, he demanded his due from the bank and all efforts proved abortive, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.
He stated that the reason why he did not complain was that when he resigned he was 38 years and by 15/5/2007 he clocked 45 years which entitled him to his pension.
In defence, the UBA counsel, P. K. Ndawalam Esq posited that Isa Bello has not adduced evidence to the effect that at age 45 he shall be entitled to payment of pension and has been paid all his terminal benefits.
Furthermore, the counsel averred that Isa claim is statute-barred as the cause of action arose on 23/01/2001 but the suit was not instituted until 12/07/2019 urged the court to dismiss the case in its entirety.
In response, Isa’s counsel, A. P. Japhet, Esq argued that the extant law governing pension in Nigeria provides 15 years as the qualifying years for the enjoyment of Pension, that if a person retires before he is 45 he is still qualified for his pension, he only has to wait until he is 45 years to begin drawing the pension, urged the court to resolve the issue in favour of his client.
Delivering the judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Sanusi Kado held that the failure of the claimant to tender any instrument which grants him pension is a costly omission and fatal to his case.
The court further held that the Isa has not proved entitlement to any of the reliefs sought for the simple reason that no iota of evidence has been adduced in proof of the assertion that at the age of 45 years the claimant shall become entitled to payment of pension.
“The claimant has insisted that the law has provided 45 years, but, I have searched the law relied on by the claimant there were no such provisions.
“In labour law, claims for terminal benefits must be proved by reference to the law that grant the benefit or the regulations governing the employment that grant such entitlement.” Justice Kado ruled.