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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 orders Covenant University to immediately pay Dr. Daniel N6.2 gratuity, N1m damages


277 Friday 29th July 2022

The Presiding Judge, Ibadan Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, Hon Justice Dele Peters has declared the pension deduction from Dr. Durodola Daniel's gratuity as wrongful, illegal, and having no basis both in law and equity.


The Court ordered Covenant University to pay Dr. Durodola Daniel the sum of N6,234,380.00 (Six Million, Two Hundred and Thirty-Four Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty Naira only) as gratuity; N406,590.00 long service bonus, N1m as general damages and N200,000 as cost of action with immediate effect.


Justice Dele Peters held that no justification for alleged deduction of pension from the gratuity due to the Dr. Daniel by the University that pension deduction was never intended to be from gratuity due to an employee at the end of his service years.


From facts, the claimant- Dr. Durodola Daniel had submitted that he was employed as Lecturer in 2003 and was promoted until 2018 when the University caused a cessation of his appointment with effect from 31/12/2018 as a full-time employee and the School refused to release his Doctoral Degree Certificate he earned while in the employment of the Defendant and also refused to pay the Gratuity due to him.


In defense, the defendant- Covenant University averred that Dr. Durodola Daniel was under a bond when he studied for his Ph. D and his Certificate was returned to him upon completion of the bond; that the Defendant in computing the gratuity of the Claimant did not approve any long service bonus for the computation of gratuity or additional benefit for any Staff; that the institution is not under any compulsion to pay and that the sum of N4,584,478.81 was arrived at as the Claimant’s total entitlement after pension deduction, urged the court to dismiss the case.


In opposition, the learned Counsel, Adejare Kembi urged the Court to hold that the non-release of his client Certificate after completion of his program is not justified and ought to entitle him to damages, that the certificate was returned a year after filing of the case.


Delivering judgment after careful evaluation of the submissions of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Dele Peters held that there is no justification for the alleged deduction of pension from the gratuity due to Dr. Durodola Daniel by the University.


The court held that the admission made by the university is clear, straightforward, and unambiguous and the whole gamut of the evidence led in the case is in tandem with the admission made by the defendant. 


“The Defendant knew what was due to the Claimant. It deliberately refused for reasons best known to it to pay as at when due. When it elected to pay it was to offer much less than the amount due to the Claimant. 


“For the Claimant who diligently served the Defendant and against whom no failing or fault was found the conduct of the Defendant must be deprecated. It amounted to a wrong done to the Claimant which wrong can only be remedied by an award of general damages.” Justice Dele Peters ruled

 

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