The Presiding Judge, Portharcourt Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Faustina Kola-Olalere has declared that Ascot Ltd breached Mr. Iboyi Onoride's duty of care for the accident that occurred on June 27, 2010 which led to the permanent and total incapacity of his four fingers and part of his right palm while on duty.
The Court ordered Ascot Ltd, Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and 1 other to pay Mr. Iboyi the sum of Three Million, Three Hundred and Eighty-Two Thousand, Five Hundred and Sixty Thousand Naira Only (N3,382,560) being 54 months earnings, as compensation, and N30,000,000.00 as General Damages for trauma and inconvenience within 30 days.
From facts, the claimant- Mr. Iboyi Onoride had submitted that during the discharge of his duty, he had an accident and his right hand’s four fingers and part of his palm crushed, which resulted in physical disability and the company abandoned him.
He sought amongst others the sum of N120,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Twenty Million Naira) only as General Damages for the trauma, inconveniences, permanent, physical and total incapacity.
In defence, the defendants' averred that Ascot Ltd did not refuse to put Mr. Iboyi back to work after his treatment at the hospital, that at the time Mr. Iboyi was discharged from the hospital, most of the company facilities were being shut down on account of reorganization process, thereby leading to some employees, including Mr. Iboyi been put on standby.
The learned counsel to the firm argued that the alleged accident was a result of Mr. Iboyi’s negligence because he failed to observe the standard of care expected of a reasonable prudent employee.
In opposition, the claimant's counsel, A. O. Chukwuka Esq contended that his client was neither given any training nor given any personal safety equipment to work with and that his injury was caused by the failure of the company to provide him with personal safety gadgets to use.
Counsel further maintained that AMCON acquired not just the non-performing loans of Ascot Ltd but also all the assets and liabilities of the company, and urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.
Delivering judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Faustina Kola-Olalere held that it is not enough for the firm to contend that Mr. Iboyi's negligence resulted to the accident in question, that the duty of care on the defendants goes beyond just training or making Mr. Iboyi aware of safety measures; it also includes the defendants ensuring that safety regulation is strictly adhered to prevent accident.
The Court held that Ascot Ltd is in breach of its duty of care towards Mr. Iboyi and stated that if reasonable care, attention or supervision had been paid to Mr. Iboyi in the process of the operation of the said machinery, the accident in question would have been avoided.
“I hold that the claimant is entitled to compensation from the defendants under section 5 of the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 2004 jointly and severally, for the injury he suffered from the accident and for which is permanently deformed.” The Court ruled.
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