Industrial Court Dismisses Entitlement Claim Against OOU

The Presiding Judge, Ibadan Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Dele Peters has dismissed the entitlement claim filed by former Olabisi Onabanjo University Primary School teacher, Mr. Olusegun Yaya against Olabisi Onabanjo University in its entirety for lack of proof.

The Court held that Mr. Yaya has not proved the claim sought as required by law and no cogent, credible and admissible evidence were led in support of same.

From facts, the claimant- Mr. Olusegun Yaya had submitted that he worked with Olabisi Onabanjo University Primary School for about 18 years; that the Defendant terminated his appointment; and failed to transfer his Legacy Funds for the years 1996 – 2015 and also failed to pay his gratuity having served the Defendant for nineteen years.

In defense, Olabisi Onabanjo University denied being the employer of Mr. Yaya; that the School Management Board is solely responsible for the management and operation of the Primary School which is the employer of Mr. Yaya and that it is in no way liable for the reliefs sought.

The University averred that Mr. Yaya upon cessation of employment in 2015 was paid his terminal benefits and neither did he reject nor refund same to the University. There is also no evidence that he contested or protested the sums of money paid to him as his terminal benefits.

Counsel to Olabisi Onabanjo University urged the Court to dismiss the case of Mr. Yaya as his claims are fundamentally contradictory and unsustainable in law for the absence of pre-action notice amongst others.

In opposition, Counsel to Mr. Yaya submitted the fact that Olabisi Onabanjo University pursued its defence from beginning to end without any objection to the jurisdiction of the Court is a clear evidence of a total submission to the jurisdiction of the Court.

Counsel to Mr. Yaya further urged the Court to declare Olabisi Onabanjo University Law which requires pre-action notice as being inconsistent with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Counsel averred that his client is entitled to claim for N574,382 being funds deducted for pension purposes between 1996 and 2007, and N10,724.083.60 being shortfalls of Claimant’s remuneration with the yearly steps and promotion between 1st June 2001 and May 2015

Delivering judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Dele Peters held that the requirement of pre-action notice is not in any way an inhibition to the right of individuals to approach the Court for the ventilation of their constitutional rights but affirmed that there is sufficient evidence that Mr. Yaya’s pre-action notice was duly served on the office of the Vice Chancellor.

On the entitlement claim, the court held that the document which Mr Yaya alleged to have been issued bringing his employment to an end with the University was not tendered, and there is nothing before the Court linking the University with the termination of his employment.

Justice Peters stated that Mr. Yaya is expected to lead evidence as to from which incremental step to which is the shortfalls complained off and also expected to lead evidence as to when he was promoted and from what salary grade level to what salary grade level.

The Court held that No cogent, credible and admissible evidence is led in support of same and questioned how Mr. Yaya arrived at the figure claimed as his gratuity, that Mr. Yaya only averred that he served the University for nineteen years and that he is entitled to the sum of N2,442,039.60 as gratuity.

“Where is the letter of promotion for which he claims financial benefits? Aside from all this, how did the Claimant arrive at the sum of N10,724,083.60? In any event, the sum claimed is a sum certain. This relief is therefore in the nature of a claim in special damages. To succeed in same the Claimant must specifically plead and strictly prove his entitlement.

“Aside from failing to specifically plead his entitlement to this relief, the Claimant also failed to strictly prove as required by law. The relief sought is not proved. Accordingly, the relief sought is not granted. It is refused and dismissed.” The Court ruled.