First Bank sanctions over unlawful Sacks of Staff
The Lagos division of the National Industrial Court (NICN) has slammed a huge sum of N7.2 million on First Bank Plc, for sacking on of its employees, Oludiran Taiwo Otuniga, unjustly and unlawfully.
The court also upturned Oludiran Taiwo Otuniga’s dismissal by First Bank Plc, on the ground that the action was null and void.
The court further ordered First Bank to pay the 10 percent simple interest per annum until the judgment sum is fully liquidated.
Above orders were made by Justice Salisu Hamisu Danjidda, in a judgment delivered on January 26, 2024, in a suit marked NICN/LA/64/2015, filed by Oludiran Taiwo Otuniga against the bank.
Oludiran, who worked with the bank from 2006 till 2014, through his lawyer, Dr. Monday O. Ubani, has approached the court and asked for the following reliefs against First Bank: “The sum of N30 million, for the unlawful and wrongful termination of his employment without justifiable causes.
“The sum of 10 million, as special damages for unlawful and wrongful termination of the Claimant’s employment and lack of fair hearing which is key in labour matters.
“N2 million, as general damages for the wrongful and unlawful termination of the his employment without following the terms and conditions of his employment and the agreement to which parties duly signed. And Cost of action.”
But First Bank Plc, in its defence to the suit, filed and argued by its lawyer, D. O. Anumiten, denied sacking the applicant unjustly and unlawfully.
The bank equally counter-claimed the followings: “the sum of N5, 528, 824: 14 million, being the unutilized portion of the upfront payment made to the Defendant.
“Interest on the said sum of the sum of N5,528, 824:14 million, at the rate of 20% per annum till judgment.
“The sum of N500,000:00, as cost of litigation.”
The presiding judge, Justice Danjidda, after perusing all the processes filed by the parties, the arguments canvassed by their lawyers and citing plethoras of legal authorites, dismissed First Bank Plc’s counterclaims against the claimant.
The judge also held that the bank unlawfully terminated the claimant’s appointment.
In final analysis, the judge held as follows: “flowing from the above therefore, I am of the view that the Defendant has not been able to prove strictly its counterclaim against the Claimant. It ought to therefore be dismissed and I so do.
Based on the reasonings given so far, Claimant’s case succeeds in part and for the avoidance of doubt, I hereby make the following orders as follows: “that the termination of the Claimant’s employment on ground of poor performance is not justified hence wrongful.
“That the claim for N10 million, as special damages is hereby declined and dismissed.
“That the Claimant is entitled to compensation and the Defendant is ordered to pay the Claimant the sum of N7, million, as damages for wrongful termination of the Claimant’s employment without fair hearing by virtue of Section 19 of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria Act, 2006.
“That the above sums shall attract 10 percent simple interest per annum until it is fully liquidated.
“Judgment is entered accordingly with a cost of N200, 000: 00 awarded in favour of the claimant against the defendant.”