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Industrial Court orders firm to pay retired staff $3,000 monthly till death, awards $325,000 judgment sum

5741 Friday 8th October 2021

The Presiding Judge, Portharcourt Judicial division, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Faustina Kola-Olalere has ordered Intels Nigeria Ltd to pay compulsorily retired staff, Chief Patrick Udoh the sum of $325,183.5 as retirement benefit from 2012 till September 2021 within 30 days.


Justice Kola-Olalere further directed the firm to continue to pay Chief Udoh the sum of $3000 monthly with effect from October 2021 as long as he's alive and as long as the firm continues to operate in Nigeria. 


The Court held that the exhibit tendered by Chief Patrick Udoh is a contractual undertaking between him and the firm which is binding on the parties and can be legally enforced. 


From facts, the claimant- Chief Patrick Udoh had pleaded that he served the firm for about 20 years and was compulsorily retired from the services with a condition that his former boss would ensure that the firm would be paying him the sum of $3,000 (Three Thousand (US Dollars) monthly as long as firm continues to be in operation in Nigeria. 


He went on that the firm complied with the undertaking and stopped the payment after 18 years, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.

 

In defense, the firm maintained that Chief Udoh’s former boss wrote the letter of undertaking in his personal capacity to assist the Claimant following the termination of his employment with Intel Services Limited and not as an officer or their agent urged the court to give a plain interpretation to the agreement and to dismiss the claim for lacking merit and to strike out the matter for being statute-barred, and the court lack the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.


Delivering the judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Faustina Kola-Olalere affirmed the jurisdiction of the court and held that the case is not statute-barred that the injury being complained of is a continuous one.


The court held that the monthly sum of $3000 being claimed against the firm by Chief Udoh is his retirement income/fund, which he lives on after the determination of his employment by the firm cannot be and it is not limited by Limitation Law of Rivers State. 


Consequently, the court held that Exhibit C.1 is a contractual agreement between the Defendants (the employers) and their employee (the Claimant), which is binding on the parties and that the Defendants rightly complied with these undertakings from January 1996 to September 2012 (a period of almost 18 years).

 

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