A former staff of the West African Seasoning and Co. Limited, (WASCO), producers of popular Ajino Motor seasoning brand, has draged his former employer before Justice Dr. I. J Essien of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, in Makurdi, Benue State, over alleged unlawful dismisal.
The ex-staff, Musa Garba Rugo, in a suit with Reference No: NICN/MKD/30/2021, filed by his counsel, Zabili Iliya, of James Ochojila and Associates, Lafia, avarred that his dismisal was unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect.
The claimant is therefore seeking the declaration of the court to direct the company to pay him N50 million as penalty for mental anguish, trauma, psychological stress, and set back cost of the suit.
Also in his statement of claim, the plaintiff is seeking an order of the court to direct his former employer to reinstate him to his position with full rights, privileges and entitlement and pay his salaries, allowances, bonuses and other benefits/entitlements from May 27, 2020 to the date, maintaining that his dismissal was done without recourse to lay down procedure among other reliefs.
When the case came up for hearing at the weekend, the defence counsel, E. J Alpha in a motion filed preliminary objection to the claimant’s statement of claim – the motion which was not objected by counsel to the claimant, Iliya.
In his defence which was obtained our Reporter, Alpha pleaded that the company commenced investigation on the claimant having noticed irregularities at the Makurdi branch of the company and requested the claimant, to step aside, pending the outcome of the inquiry.
In the document, the defendant said upon completion of investigation, the company discovered the claimant committed serious misconducts and also engaged in dishonesty and fraudulent acts which contravene the company’s rules and regulations contained in the company’s handbook.
The defendant argued this informed findings via a memo dated 31, March, 2020, claiming that the claimant in his response on 8th April, 2020 admitting the allegations, leveled against him.
Consequently, the defendant is praying the court to dismiss the suit filed by the claimant with substantial and full indemnity as its cost, with documents before the court.
Having listened to both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Essien adjourned the case until 25th May, 2022 for hearing.