….Ex- staff urges court to give judgment on his statement of claim
By Bola Akinsola
A former staff of Newswatch Times Limited (formerly known as Newswatch Newspapers Limited), Iwuchukwu Francis on Thursday urged the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos to pass judgment in favour of the writ and statement of claim in the suit he initiated against the media outfit.
He made the request at the commencement of trial in the suit designated NICN/LA/200/2016 while being led in evidence by his lawyer, Yemi Omodele before the court presided over by Justice Osagie Obaseki.
Justice Obaseki equally admitted as exhibit the letter of appointment dated October 1, 2012, resignation letter dated May 28, 2015, demand letter dated August 17, 2015, and the Leadway Pensure PFA Limited Retirement Savings Account Statement.
It would be recalled that Francis had dragged Newswatch to court over the failure of the media outfit, owned by Jimoh Ibrahim, to pay his seven (7) months’ salaries.
In his statement of fact before the court, Francis claimed that he was employed through a letter of appointment dated October 1, 2012, by the defendant.
The claimant added that “The defendant trickily did not issue letter of confirmation of appointment to the claimant after being qualified for same despite constant demands for it. All he was told at the registry of the defendant is you have been employed, carry on with your work.
“That upon noticing the lackadaisical attitude of the management of the defendant particularly none payment of outstanding salaries and other issues connected thereto, the claimant, in line with employment law tendered its letter of resignation dated 28/05/2015.
“That despite the constant visit and demand for the outstanding salaries of the claimant from the defendant, the latter refused and/or neglected to pay same which prompted the claimant counsel, Yemi Omodele (Esq) to write a letter dated 17/08/2015 to the defendant demanding for the payment of all outstanding salaries of the claimant.
“That the defendant claimed that it deducted some money and remit it to Lead way Pensure Limited, which it did not do. The claimant visited the office of the Leadway Pensure Limited wherein retirement savings account statement was printed and given to him showing that the defendant did not pay a kobo to the said company.
“That the defendant’s action is fraudulent and intention to dupe the claimant herein.
“That the claimant suffered a lot of loss due to none payment of his outstanding salaries by the defendant.”
The former Newswatch staff is consequently asking the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, to issue, “A declaration that the claimant is entitled to be paid salaries for the months of October, November, December 2014; January, February, March and April 2015 by the defendant.
“A declaration that the none payment of the October, November, December 2014; January, February, March and April 2015 salaries by the defendant to the claimant amounts to breach of trust and intention to dupe the claimant.
“An order of this honourable court directing the defendant, its servants, agents and/or privies to pay forthwith the sum of N700, 000.00 (Seven Hundred Thousand Naira) only to the claimant being salaries for the months of October, November, December 2014; January, February, March and April, 2015 owed the defendant.
“An order of this honourable court directing the defendant, its servants, agents and/or privies to pay 21 percent interest on the sum of N700, 000.00 (Seven Hundred Thousand Naira) only to the claimant from May 1, 2015, till judgment is delivered and executed.”
As at the time of filing this report, no defence has been filed by the defendant and no legal representation appeared in court on behalf of the media outfit.
The matter has been adjourned till February 6, 2017 for cross-examination.
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