[Severance Benefits] Industrial Court dismisses case against Edo State Assembly

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His Lordship, Hon. Justice O. O. Oyewumi of the National Industrial Court, Abuja judicial division has dismissed the suit filed by Hon. Samuel Saiki against Edo State House of Assembly and Attorney General, Edo State on entitlement claims for lacking merit.

The Court held that Hon. Samuel has not discharged the burden placed on him by law to substantiate his claim that no single document or cogent evidence canvassed to prove that he attended plenary and conducted the business of the house during the period under consideration.

From facts, Claimant- Hon. Samuel elected Honourable Member of the Edo State House of Assembly averred that sequel to the purported removal of the then speaker of the house that the defendants stopped his monthly salary and overhead from March 2010 to 19th January 2011 when his election to the Edo State House of Assembly was annulled by the Court of Appeal Benin division.

He averred that the House owes him arrears of salary, monthly overhead cost, severance benefit in the sum of N16, 245,506.42

The defendants averred that the claimant at the proceedings of the house on the 22nd of February, 2010 in solidarity with the erstwhile speaker stopped attending sittings, absented himself without due leave from the 24th of February, 2010 until the expiration of his tenure on the 4th of June, 2011 and his seat was in accordance to the law declared vacant by the house on the 22nd of June, 2010, that claim for severance benefits fails as he failed to complete his tenure successfully.

Learned counsel to the defendant further submitted that the suit is incompetent having not commenced within 3 months after the cause of action arose and further that by the Judgment delivered 19th January 2011 that claimant was not competent to occupy the said seat in issue ab initio that the claimant’s claim is built on nothing and will not stand.

Learned claimant’s counsel Kingsley Idahosa Esq argued that claimant never boycotted nor absented himself from the sitting of the House rather he was prevented from entering his office urged the Court to so hold.

Delivering Judgment, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Oyewumi held that claimant claims are for work and labour done which is one of the exceptions under the Public Officers Protection law, that the suit competent as constituted and not statute-barred.

“I have stated supra in this judgment that the propriety or otherwise of the defendants declaration of the claimant’s seat vacant is not within the adjudicatory powers of this Court, rather this Court can only consider whether or not he is entitled to his salaries, allowance, overhead for the period as stated by the claimant in his claim.

“I have carefully perused the document tendered as exhibits before this Court and did not find any document to evince the claim of the claimant in his favour. The claimant in this suit has not by any shred of evidence shown to this Court how he is entitled to his salaries for the period from the 1st day of March 2010 to the 22nd day of June 2010 as he wants the Court to believe.” Justice Oyewumi ruled.

 

In all, the Court held that Claimant has failed woefully to canvass evidence in prove of his claims.



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