…as IGi Plc counsel failed to appear in court
The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) on Tuesday adjourned the case of Samson Onipede and 23 other disengaged workers of Industrial and General Insurance (IGi) Plc till January 20, 2021.
The aggrieved workers, who were staff in the company, had taken the company to court over alleged unlawful dismissal.
The workers were dismissed from the company through Whatsapp. The staffs got their sack letters on whatsapp without their entitlement, and over 20 months accumulated salaries as at October 2019.
The Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Nwaneka, said the adjournment was to enable the claimant’s Counsel, Barrister Joseph Asine file his client’s document as presented and other processes.
The claimants prayed the court to order the company to pay their entitlements and other benefits accruable to them.
The aggrieved workers also prayed the court to prevail on the respondent to pay them damages for the alleged unlawful dismissal.
Speaking after the case had been adjourned in a recent ruling in a suit NO: NICN/LA/294/2020 filed by lawyer to the complainants, Barrister Joseph Asine said since August last year (2020) and till now the respondent (IGI) is yet to file a memorandum of appearance neither have they filed a statement of defense despite serving them letters and other several document.
“Although a counsel has been calling saying he is the lawyer from the IGi wanting to discuss, thereby sending documents to me to look at so as to settle out of court but I am not comfortable as they were not in court to say that before the judge. Also they have not given me the statement and the terms of settlement like a breakdown as he has promised, but that will not stop us from going ahead with our case.”
Meanwhile, there is outstanding salary from the 24 complainants which is over 80 million naira. We have unremitted taxes, pension, unrefunded national housing funds and damages to the tune of 500 million naira as well as other reliefs that we are seeking from the company.
The Chairman, Coalition of IGi Staff, Samson Onipede, said, the reason we came to court was because we did not get any response from our former employer (IGi) after all entreaties failed.
“As a witness I have formally confirmed my documents and admitted earlier presented by our lawyer whether the documents were the exact document. However, the reason we came to court was because we did not get any response from our former employer. Had it been they responded probably the matter wouldn’t have gotten here but since we are here in the court we have to wait for the courts to decide on what is necessary.”
On his Part, Mr. Akeem Atitebi emphasised that the seriousness of the case was shown by the judge at the commencement of the trial and has given us ample opportunity to present their documents the way it is.
“We’ve been given ample opportunity to present our document on the adjourned date which is on the 20th of January 2021 and our prayer is that by the end of the day we will get justice that will relieve us of the suffering we’ve encountered from the company.”
Mrs Florence Oladimeji who stressed that she served the company for 20 years noted that she was disengaged without any offence as the termination letter did not state her offence, if any.
She said, “our expectation is for the court to see with us and they should help us enforce it so that our former employer (IGI) will pay us, that’s all we want. Of course the company knows they have no case against us because they couldn’t say these are the offences we’ve committed. Since they are the one that said, I don’t need your service again, so they should pay us all that is due to us.”