The National Industrial Court on Monday fixed July 17, to hear pending applications in a suit filed by a staff of the CCECC, Mr. Godspower Ntaka, for N100 million as damages from his employer.
Ntaka is claiming the amount for alleged emotional trauma, psychological anxiety, mental stress and discriminatory treatment arising from his ordeal in the hands of armed robbers during official duty.
Justice Olufunke Anuwe, fixed the date after the court was informed about a preliminary objection from the defendant.
When the matter slated for the hearing came up, the claimant‘s counsel, Cornelius Nwapi informed the court that they were served with a preliminary objection on June 27 and were yet to reply.
Nwapi further said the late service of the application was a ploy to delay the matter.
He said the first objection was on the ground that the suit did not disclose any reasonable cause of action against the defendant.
He also said another objection was that the suit was instituted by the claimant without exploring the internal mechanism for resolution of the dispute as stipulated by the National Joint Industrial Council ( NJIC).
The defence counsel, Ahmed Oyegbami in the objection said the claimant, Ntaka instituted the suit without necessary compliance with the preliminary steps in the agreement on Terms and Conditions for junior employees in the building and civil engineering sector in Nigeria as provided by NJIC.
He said that Article 9 specifically was on procedures for settling grievances, which stated that an aggrieved employee must first report to his supervisor, head of the department, management, branch union and finally state union office, before seeking redress in court.
The judge thereafter directed Nwapi to reply on point of law to the preliminary objection and adjourned the matter until July 17, for the hearing of pending applications.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the claimant (Nkata) in his statement of facts filed on March 27, stated that he was attacked by armed robbers on Aug. 25, 2012 while on an official errand as a security supervisor.
He said he was in the company of two other workers, Mr. Emeka Amadi, the company’s chief security officer and Mr. Bennett Kalu, a driver in the company too.
He said that Kalu was discovered to have been killed by the robbers after he (the claimant) and Amadi reported to the police and in the company of the police returned to the scene of the robbery.
The claimant said thereupon, the police took him and Amadi to the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS ) where he was detained from Aug. 29, 2012, until Oct. 11, 2012.
He said that it took the services of a private lawyer who filed for the enforcement of his fundamental right at an FCT High Court before he was released from SARS.
The claimant said he was then charged to court and was in prison custody from May 2013 until September 2018 when he was discharged and acquitted.
He averred that his ordeal was a result of an official errand he was sent to do by the company and that the company abandoned him.
The company, he said, stopped his salary while in prison custody and took no steps either to defend him or offer any succour.
He said that after his discharge and acquittal, the company has not taken any step to rehabilitate him and pay compensation.
He, therefore, seeks the court‘s declaration that he was still a staff of the company and entitled to all the rights, privileges and benefits due to him by reason of his employment.
The claimant is equally seeking for the order of the court to direct the company to pay all his outstanding salaries, benefits, and entitlement since 2014.
In addition, he is asking for the sum of N100 million as damages for the abandonment, emotional trauma and psychological anxiety, discriminatory treatment, loss of opportunity to further his education, inconvenience, and hardship among others.