The Presiding Judge, Lagos Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Maureen Esowe has ordered Arik Air Limited and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria to immediately remit the complete monthly pension contributions of Mr Kalu Sylvester for the entire period of his employment with the Arik Air into his Retirement Saving Account with his Pension Fund to the tune of Four Million, Three Hundred and Two Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty Naira only (N4,302,450.00).
The Court also ordered Arik Air Limited and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria to pay Mr Kalu the sum of N735,820 unpaid salary, and total allowance for the month of November 2015.
Justice Esowe held that there is no evidence before the Court that Mr Kalu was paid his salary and other ancillary allowances for the month of November 2015 even though he worked for this period.
From facts, the claimant- Mr Kalu Sylvester had submitted that he worked for Arik Air from 2010 to 2015, when he resigned after he gave the company 1-onth notice of his intention to resign.
He averred that the sum of N155,000 representing his one-month salary in lieu of resignation and the sum of N580,000 allowance package was not paid; and also discovered after his resignation that Arik Air Limited only remitted his pension contribution for October 2011, February 2012, January and February 2013 throughout the 5 years of his job with the company.
In defense, the 1st defendant- Arik Air Limited alleged that Mr Kalu breached his employment contract and is not entitled to November 2015 salary and the salary in lieu of notice because it wasn’t the firm that terminated his employment; and also not entitled to leave allowance under the terms and conditions of his employment.
The defendants’ Counsel stated that the 2nd defendant- AMCON is not a proper party to the suit and Mr. Kalu also failed to disclose any cause of action against the agency, and urged the Court to resolve all issues in their favour and dismiss Mr. Kalu’s case for lack of proof.
In opposition, Mr. Kalu’s Counsel, Dr. Iwowo Anthony, Esq. with Iwowo Mercy, Esq submitted that an employer who deducts funds from an employee’s monthly salary for the purposes of contributory pension is duty bound to remit the fund to the pension manager of the employee, and urged the Court to grant all the reliefs sought in the interest of justice.
Delivering the judgment, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Maureen Esowe held that Mr Kalu Sylvester has proved the case as required by law, and declared that Arik Air failure to immediately remit the complete monthly pension contributions of Mr Kalu for the entire period of his employment into his Retirement Saving Account to the tune of N4,302,450.00 as unlawful, illegal, and same is in clear breach of contract of employment.
The Court held that for all intents and purposes, AMCON is a proper party in this suit for, if not for anything, it is a party by implication, and also a party for the purpose of enforcing the judgment of this Court given the facts of this case.
On Mr Kalu’s claim for 1 month’s salary in lieu of notice, the Court held that it was Mr. Kalu that brought the employment to an end by giving 1-month notice to Arik Air and cannot turn around and ask for 1 month’s salary in lieu of notice that doing this is tantamount to beating somebody and yet crying the tears that are meant for the person beaten.