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Ex-staff fights embattled billionaire Onajite Okoloko‘s Notore Chemical Industries, wins in court

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Ex-staff fights embattled billionaire Onajite Okoloko‘s Notore Chemical Industries, wins in court
Embattled billionaire, Onajite Okoloko, CEO - Notore Chemicals Industries

The National Industrial Court, Lagos Division, has ordered Notore Chemicals Industries Plc, owned by embattled Nigerian billionaire Onajite Okoloko’s, to pay Mr. Ayodele Balogun, a former employee of the company the sum of N20, 525, 999 (Twenty Million, Five Hundred and Twenty-Five Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine Naira, Sixty Kobo only) as outstanding balance of his gratuity payment due to him since 2013.

The court also awarded in favour of the ex-staff the sum of N1, 000,000.00 (one million naira) cost of action within one month, failing which it attracts 10% interest rate per annum until fully liquidated.

In a judgement monitored by The Witness, and delivered by the presiding judge, Hon. Justice Nelson Ogbuanya, the court held that the company action credited to external advice which prompted the defence of ‘mistaken payment’ was not justified, and cannot override the obligation to pay outstanding balance due to the claimant.

The claimant- Ayodele was employed on 1st October 2008 as Chief Marketing Officer, that by a letter dated June 14, 2013, sent via e-mail on Wednesday June 19, 2013 he tendered resignation, and indicated that it would take effect on 1st October 2013, that as a result of his service to the firm spanning 5 years, that he has become entitled to payment of gratuity upon successful exit from the Company that a total settlement package was communicated to him via e-mail out of which only 50% was paid and all effort to get balance proved abortive.

In argument, the firm submitted that Ayodele did not attain the threshold of ‘continuous service greater than 5 years and up to 10 years’ to be qualified for monetary payment in addition to ‘Testimonial of Service’, which is the only package available for those who were in ‘continuous service up to 5 years’, under the company gratuity that the payment already paid to the Claimant was a mistake and it was because of the discovery of the error that the Defendant refused to pay the balance and also seeks refund of it.

Counsel to the firm further argued that the Claimant’s resignation becomes effective on date of receipt of the letter of resignation by the employer, and as such, the correct effective date of the Claimant’s resignation is June 14 2013 (submission date), and not the 1st October 2008 contained in the resignation letter that the Claimant’s case lacks merit and should be dismissed while upholding the counter-claim for refund of the sum already paid to the Claimant in error.

Counsel to the claimant U. U Njoku, Esq contended that the Defendant failed to tender its payroll to disprove that the Claimant was no longer in its pay roll as at 1 October 2013 urged the court to so hold and grant the reliefs sought.

Delivering judgment after careful evaluation of the submissions of both counsel and the processes filed, Justice Ogbuanya held that where date is not provided in the resignation, it takes immediate effect upon receipt of resignation, but when effective date is provided, it becomes effective on the last day of the notice period.

“I also note that it is part of the court’s equitable jurisdiction to preserve earned benefits, particularly those of pecuniary nature, and court usually tilts towards resolving such emerging controversy in favour of the beneficiary rather than in favour of one trying to take away or expropriate the benefit.

“From the tenor of the above provisions of the company Gratuity Policy, I find that once an employee attains 5 years of continuous service with the defendant, such an employee shall/must be entitled to not only cash payment as gratuity but also other testimonials and certificate of appreciation and or asset gift.

“In the circumstance of the claimant, I find that he has attained 5 years of continuous service with the defendant and there was no evidence disputing that he resigned willfully and there was no evidence of any skirmish of probe or low performance tainting his voluntary resignation. I so hold.” Justice Ogbuanya ruled.

In all, the court dismissed the counterclaim for lacking merit.

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Embattled Lagos Speaker, Obasa recalls suspended lawmakers amid corruption allegations

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Embattled Lagos Speaker, Obasa recalls suspended lawmakers amid corruption allegations
Lagos Assembly Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa

The Lagos State House of Assembly led by the embattled speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, on Thursday, 26th March, 2020 lifted the suspension of two lawmakers, Moshood Oshun and Raheem Kazeem, THE WITNESS learnt.

Hon. Obasa, made the announcement at the start of plenary activities on the floor of the House.

According to Obasa, the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, called a meeting earlier in the week to intervene in the matter.

The Speaker said at the meeting, it was agreed that the House should reinstate the suspended lawmakers.

Recall that aside the suspension of the two members, two other principal officers, Olumuyiwa Jimoh and Rotimi Abiru, who were the former Deputy Majority Leader and the Chief Whip, respectively, were relieved of their offices.

Recall also that the sanctions was slammed against them by their colleagues on Monday, 9 March, 2020.

Hon. Obasa has been battling allegations of fraud for weeks now.

Recall, THE WITNESS reported that a non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA),  recently accused the Lagos Assembly speaker of being reckless with funds meant for development.

In a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), and signed by its executive director, Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak, the group called on the anti-graft agency to investigate and prosecute Hon. Obasa for “gross financial misconduct and abuse of office allegedly perpetrated by the speaker so as to avert a further bleeding of the public treasury under his care and restore sanity in the functioning of the state’s legislative establishment.”

Specifically, HURMA urged the anti-graft agency to probe Hon. Obasa’s alleged financial recklessness and cornering of public funds through illegitimate means; and the alleged corruption and compromise of laid down procedures and rules deliberately foisted on the workforce of the assembly.

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COVID-19: Panic over Abba Kyari’s health as more ‘critical’ details emerge

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COVID-19: Panic over Abba Kyari's health as more 'critical' details emerge

There is panic over the health of the chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, as sources say he has other ailments that can hamper his rate of recovery from Coronavirus.

The Punch reports that doctors attending to Kyari, have obtained his medical records from Wellington Hospital, St. John’s Wood, London. “Abba Kyari’s medical records have been sent via email from Wellington Hospital where he goes for his check-up and also gets his treatment.

“He has some other health conditions which will be kept confidential. We are hoping for the best”, the source told

The Wellington Hospital, located in North London, deals with Brain surgery, Cardiac care, Orthopaedic care, Spinal care, Women’s health, Urology care and others.

Kyari was tested positive for coronavirus Tuesday.

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COVID-19 in Nigeria is political, full of lies and fraud – Kogi gov, Bello

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COVID-19 in Nigeria is political, full of lies and fraud - Kogi gov, Bello

Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, has said that the reported spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria is political, full of lies and an avenue for political office holders and corrupt officials to embezzle and steal the nation’s resources, THE WITNESS reports.

The governor disclosed this in a post on his verified Facebook page on Wednesday while denying rumours that he tested positive to the virus.

“Please stay at home and stay safe. I got NO Covid. It’s fake news. People of Kogi State, I love you all. Don’t mind the political aspect of COVID-19, maximum of 21 days, COVID-19 will disappear.

“Don’t panic, if you have catarrh (fluid), take hot water with garlic, ginger, lemon, lime and steam yourself, you will be good.

“There are a lot of lies, politics about COVID-19, I will not play with that. I will not play with my people’s life or pretend and steal money because of this so-called pandemic. Please, stay safe.

“I’m good, strong, hale and hearty. If COVID-19 comes to Kogi State, you have a governor who will combat and defeat the idiot.

“I can assure you, 90 percent noise about COVID-19 is political and economic financial material thing,” the governor disclosed.

SEE LINK FOR VIDEO: KOGI GOVERNOR, YAHAYA BELLO SPEAKS ON COVID-19

 

Malam Abba Kyari, President Buhari’s Chief of staff, now stricken by coronavirus, had contacts with many people since his return from Germany 14 March. One of his contacts was the Kogi State governor.

Kyari visited Bello on 17 March, to deliver Buhari’s message to the governor at the prayers marking the eigh days since the death of his mum.

Lai Mohammed, Akume, Shehu were all at the event.

Kyari reportedly travelled to Munich, Germany, on Saturday, March 7th, to meet with officials of Siemens over the Nigerian electricity expansion programme.

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