Court dismisses N42m entitlement claim against APC
The Presiding Judge, Abuja Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Osat Obaseki-Osaghae has dismissed a Forty-Two Million (N42m) entitlement claim filed by aides to the former National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Chris Owoicho and 15 Others against the party for lack of proof.
Justice Obaseki-Osaghae held that Mr. Chris Owoicho and 15 others failed to place before the court the memo approving severance pay for them, or the schedule of payments approved for them, that their failure to provide evidence showing entitlement to severance pay is fatal to their case.
From facts, the claimants- Mr. Chris Owoicho and 15 others had submitted that they were former aides (Personal Assistants/Special Assistants) to the past National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressive Congress (APC) headed by Chief John Oyegun, and were discharged sometime in June 2018.
They stated that the former National Working Committee (NWC) in May 2018 graciously approved severance allowances for Special Advisers/Personal Assistants whose appointments were terminated at the expiration of the former NWC and to their greatest surprise a different schedule of payment was raised and paid to seven (7) selected aides.
They averred that the Party is owing them severally the total sum of N42,000,000.00 (Forty-Two Million Naira) and all efforts and demands made to get their severance allowances proved abortive, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.
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The defendant- All Progressives Congress -APC raised a “Notice of Preliminary Objection” on the ground that the suit is incompetent for misjoinder of causes of action and argued that claims of Mr. Chris Owoicho and 15 others are different and cannot be constituted under one suit.
Learned Counsel to the APC, Ayuba Ibrahim Idris Esq submitted that the former aides failed to prove their case for the grant of any of the reliefs sought; and urged the Court to dismiss the case.
In a well-considered judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Obaseki-Osaghae overruled the objection for lacking merit and held that there is no conflict of interest between Mr. Chris Owoicho and 15 others as they are fighting a common cause, and the nature of the reliefs are beneficial to all of them.
However, the Court held that Mr. Chris Owoicho and 15 others have failed to prove their entitlement to severance pay from the APC.
Justice Obaseki-Osaghae ruled that the failure to produce the said memo and schedule means that these documents do not exist, and the issue of discrimination raised by Mr. Chris Owoicho and 15 others in terms of full payment to some, part payment to others and refusal to pay others does not arise.