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.



[Injury at Workplace] Industrial Court awards N22.5 million damages against firm

338 Monday 30th November -0001

The Presiding Judge, Yenagoa Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Bashar Alkali has ordered Saipe Ltd to pay its former staff Mr. Festus Uba the sum of N20, 000, 000. 00 (Twenty Million Naira) as damages, and N2,500,000. 00 (Two Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) special damages for the permanent injury sustained in the course of his employment with the firm within 30 days.

The Court held that the injury suffered by Mr. Festus Uba is attributable to the perceived negligence of the firm, and Mr. Festus has successfully proved the allegation of negligence.

Justice Alkali ordered Saipe Ltd to sponsor Mr. Festus to a reputable Orthopaedic Hospital to remove the screw and plate implanted on his pelvis, and awarded the sum of N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) only as the cost of action.

From facts, the claimant- Mr. Festus Uba had submitted that Saipe Ltd and 5 others breached the duties of care and his hope of survival is uncertain as a result of his health condition caused by the accident while working for the firm that resulted in his permanent incapacitation.

He averred further that after the surgery, he was discharged from the Hospital for outpatient treatment on the 3rd of June, 2015 with auxiliary crutches. As an outpatient and at some point, the firm denied sponsoring him for the regular checkup on the ground that they had spent much money on his head. 

He added that on the 8th day of October 2016, the firm terminated his employment on grounds of redundancy and averred that the contract or work to which he was employed has not been completed having served the company more than 24 years, and his present condition will not allow him to be employed by any other company, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.

In defense, the Defendants- Saipe Ltd and 5 others asserted that they operate in line with the best global practices, and the accident was caused by the Festus negligence and he was provided with robust medical support pre and post-surgical operations.

The company denied preventing Mr. Festus from attending all the outpatient appointments he had with the Hospitals and states that it had encouraged and actively facilitated his attendance at all outpatient appointments, made steady progress, recovered fully from his injuries and had no functional limitations or any permanent disability. 

Saipe Ltd denied terminating Mr. Festus's contract of employment on the grounds of race but rather his employment was terminated in line with all laid down and agreed procedures.

Delivering the judgment after careful evaluation of the submission of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Bashir Alkali held that Mr. Festus has failed woefully to plead or prove the terms and conditions of his employment which is the pivot or foundation upon which an aggrieved employee must found his case.

Justice Alkali held that the employment termination of Mr. Festus by Saipe Ltd was not wrongful and the company gave the reason for the termination and has complied with international best labour practices in bringing its employment contract to an end.

However, the court held that the injury suffered by Mr. Festus is attributable to the perceived negligence of the firm; and he has successfully proved the allegation of negligence against the firm.

“I, therefore, entertain no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the claimant is entitled to damages of N20, 000, 000. 00 (Twenty Million Naira), and I so grant. This is even insufficient to put the claimant to the position he would have been, had the injury not been suffered; for as it is, the claimant can no longer secure employment in his trained profession, which relies heavily on dexterity of legs as an excavator operator.” The Court ruled.


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