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The court has exclusive jurisdiction in civil causes and matters relating to or connected with any labour, employment, trade unions, industrial relations and matters arising from workplace, the conditions of service, including health, safety, welfare of labour, employee, worker and matter incidental thereto or connected therewith.

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Industrial Court dismisses Defamation Claim against Mobil Nigeria, orders firm to pay Godwin N375,000 entitlement Claim


202 Wednesday 15th June 2022

The Presiding Judge of the Uyo Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Mahmood Namtari has declared the termination of Mr. Godwin Akpan’s employment by Gins Global Ltd as wrongful and not in accordance with the employment agreement; ordered the firm to pay Mr. Akpan the sum of N120,000.00 (One Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira) for severance benefit, and N75,000.00 for contract bonus 2019 as admitted and N180,000.00 (One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira only) being three (3) months’ salary as general damages for unlawful termination of employment.


Justice Namtari dismissed the defamation case against Mobil Producing Nigeria for lack of merit.


From facts, the claimant- Mr. Godwin Akpan had submitted that he was offered employment as a Laundryman by Gins global ltd, who was a labour and service Contractor working for Mobil, asserted that it is wrong and against custom, norm, and international best practice for the firm to unilaterally convert, transfer his services to another department without his express consent, that when he complained to the General Manager about the forced labour, he was threatened with sack. 


It is further alleged that it is against this background that his employment was terminated for services no longer required without one week notice or one week salary in lieu of notice as stipulated in the offer of appointment letter and averred that Gins Global and Mobil Producing colluded through the Mobil’s security personnel to maliciously defamed him in presence and hearing of other staffs, urged the Court to grant the reliefs sought. 


However, the 1st Defendant- Gins Global Ltd did not enter any formal appearance, file any defence, and did not have any legal representation throughout the hearing of this case in spite of being put on notice at every turn.


In defense, the 2nd Defendant- Mobil Producing Nigeria contended that any person whose services is no longer required cannot access any of its facilities and that it never blacklisted or accused Mr. Godwin of any criminal act and no witness or third (3rd) party testified to prove the publication of the said slanderous words. 


It is therefore the submission of Mobil Nigeria that since Mr. Godwin admitted in evidence that the 2nd Defendant was not his employer which was so proved by the Service Outline Agreement, there exists no privity of contract between the Claimant and the 2nd Defendant to warrant any liability on its part, urged the Court to dismiss the suit with exemplary costs for being frivolous, vexatious and fictitious.


In opposition, the Claimant counsel, Nwabueze Onukogu Esq also submitted that it is contrary to international labour standards for employers to terminate the employment of their employees without stating reasons.


Delivering the judgment after careful evaluation of the submission of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Mahmood Namtari held that a servant who complains that his employment has been wrongfully brought to an end must found his claim on the contract of service and show in what manner the wrong was done.


Justice Namtari further held that Gins Global Ltd stipulated one week notice or one week salary in lieu of notice is not complied with in termination of Mr. Godwin’s employment and no evidence that no severance benefits were paid to him.


The Court maintained that the declaration that Gins Global Ltd has not paid the two Annual Leave cannot be granted for want of proof. 

 

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