Industrial Court declares Peter’s employment termination as wrongful, orders Dangote to pay N1.4m within 30 days

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Hon. Justice (Prof.) Elizabeth Oji of the Lagos Judicial division of the National Industrial Court has declared the employment termination of Mr. Peter Ahemen from Dangote Oil Refining Company Limited as wrongful.

 

The Court ordered Dangote Oil Refining to pay Mr. Peter Ahemen, the sum of N180, 000.00 (One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira) being his unpaid monthly remuneration from the month of February 2019 to May 2019 and one month’s salary in lieu of notice totalling N900,000.00(Nine Hundred Thousand Naira) only and the sum of N500 cost of action within 30 days.

From facts, the Claimant- Mr. Peter Ahemen had submitted that he was employed as a graduate Engineer trainee and Dangote Oil Refining Company entered into a Training Bond which required him to be under the employment of the firm for a minimum of five (5) years after the one-year training in India.

Mr. Peter further stated that following the incident that occurred at his place of work, he was redeployed to the Dangote Projects Limited at Ikeja, Lagos vide a letter dated the 29th day of April 2019. Mr. Peter averred that Dangote Projects Limited, not being his employer, could not validly terminate his employment. He also contended that he was terminated without notice, contrary to Law requiring that termination must be by notice.

Mr. Peter Ahemen further contends that his contract of employment is for a fixed period of five (5) years, and could not be terminated before then, without just cause given.


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In defense, the defendant- Dangote Oil Refining Company contended that Mr. Peter’s employment was validly terminated and was not entitled to the one-month notice or salary in lieu of notice, by reason of his breach of the training bond.

Counsel to the defendants stated that the Training Bond executed by the parties gives Dangote Oil Refining Company entitlement to set off any terminal entitlements that may accrue to Mr. Peter and he’s still indebted to the company in the sum of N10 million.

In opposition, the Counsel to Mr. Peter, Gibson Elumelu with CJ Nwogu stated that Dangote Oil Refining Company did not spend the sum of N15,714,000.00 or any outrageous sum whatsoever on their client as a training bond because Mr. Peter and others were issued no certificate.

Delivering judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Elizabeth Oji held that Mr. Peter Ahemen’s employment was terminated by a person who was not a party to the initial agreement between him and Dangote Oil Refining Company and no fair hearing given to him before his employment was terminated with immediate effect.

Furthermore, Justice Oji disagreed with Mr. Peter Ahemen that his contract is one for a fixed term of five (5) years that both exhibits C1 and C8 show that the five years is the period covered by the training bond, and not necessarily the duration of the contract of employment.

However, the Court dismissed the Dangote Oil Refining Company and Dangote Projects Limited counter-claimed for lacking merit on the premise that the companies have not established that Mr Peter Ahemen breached his agreement and the training bond.

“…no act of gross breach or violation of the company rules or regulations is shown to have been established against the Claimant. The Claimant was never issued a query by the 1st Defendant, on account of the allegations. He was not terminated on account of the said acts of gross breach or violation of the company’s rules.” Justice Oji ruled.



Call Bridget Edokwe Esq on 08060798767 or send your email to ngbarrister@gmail.com



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