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Former Staff Of UBA, Abimbola Aiyetan To Get Over N43M As Industrial Court Orders Bank To Pay Her For Forceful Resignation.

Oliver Alawuba &  Abimbola Aiyetan.

According to a report by Sahara Reporters, the National Industrial Court that sat in Lagos has ordered the United Bank for Africa, UBA to pay one Abimbola Dayo Aiyetan, a former Group Head of Procurement in the bank who was forced to resign because she reportedly refused to compromise on the company’s procurement process the sum of NN43 million in damages.

This is contained in a copy of the judgement signed by the trial judge, Hon. Justice R.H Gwandu and obtained by Sahara Reporters and as ruled, that the evidence canvassed before him showed that Mrs. Aiyetan was truly forced to resign and thus she deserved the relief she sought before him. 

This judgement has mandated UBA to pay Mrs. Aiyetan N20 million in damages, N23 million for her 12 months gross salary and two months' salary in lieu of notice, as SaharaReporters learnt that the gross salary for principal manager when she left the bank was N23 million per annum.

Mrs. Aiyetan claimed before the court that she was forced to resign whilst holding the position of Head, Procurement & Vendor Manager because she failed to compromise on her office ethics and standards, insisting that on following due diligence in awarding contracts and refusal to bend to pressures from the Chairman and Board of Directors, to award contracts to their cronies rather than paying Aiyetan’s severance or terminal benefit as applied to her colleagues who retired at her level.

It was learned that Aiyetan was paid Ten Million, Four Hundred and Thirty-seven Thousand and Two Hundred Naira (N10, 437, 200.00).

Also, instead of paying her three months basic salary in lieu of notice as contemplated by their contract of employment, the Defendant paid her Nine Hundred and Sixty-two Thousand, Four Hundred and Twenty-six Naira and Eighty-eight Kobo (N962, 426. 88k), a far cry from her monthly basic salary at entry point, which was One Million Five Hundred and Eight Three Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty-four Naira (N1, 583,934.00).

The court said it can be seen that Mrs Aiyetan was replaced as the Head of Group Procurement and Vendor Management on January 19, 2016, a month before her resignation and that there was no evidence to suggest that she was transferred to another post, hence, the court ruled.

“The defendant (UBA) was not in a restructuring exercise did they prove that the company laid off staff as a result of redundancy? The Claimant being made redundant therefore would be perceived as a deliberate act which can be evidenced from exhibit ADA 14 pg 8 where it can be seen that the Claimant was replaced as head, Group Procurement and Vendor Management via a memo dated January 19 2016 a month before the Claimants resignation. It is pertinent to note that there is no evidence she was transferred nor given another post when she was replaced.

“The fact the Claimant (Mrs Aiyetan) was replaced meant she was deliberately made redundant by the Defendant which is contrary to the provision of the Labour Act that an employer has the duty to provide work for an employee and also reinforces that Claimant's allegation that she was forced to resign.

“From the evidence before me and the reasons adduced above, I hereby hold that the Claimant was by the Defendant's actions coerced into resigning her employment with the Defendant.”

Considering the probative nature of the facts and arguments canvassed before him, Justice Gwandu continued, “I hereby award the sum of Twenty Million Naira (N20,000,000) as general damages.”, “On the Claimants relief for an order of this Honourable Court directing the Defendant to forthwith implement the restructured terms of the Claimant's existing mortgage loan Agreement dated 18th of March, 2016 at 5% interest for a period of twelve months before it could default to commercial rate, I hereby grant same but that starting from the day of this Judgement for the next 12 months, the Mortgage loan will run at the stipulated 5% on N27,000,000 as per the agreement agreed to by parties on the Claimants relief for the sum of N4, 000, 000. 00 (Four Million Naira Only) as Legal fees for prosecution of this case, I hereby award the sum of 1.5 Million Naira as legal fees/cost of this action against the defendant.”

The court also ruled: “On the Claimant’s relief for payment of three months’ salary in lieu of notice for her coerced resignation -N3,117,666. I have determined that the Claimant’s employment was terminated as result of her being coerced into tendering the resignation letter, this by implication means the Claimant’s employment was wrongfully terminated and she is therefore entitled to be paid salaries in lieu of termination, see exhibit ADA 1b (employment letter), since the Claimant was already paid one month’s salary in lieu of termination, I hereby order the Defendant to pay the Claimant 2 months’ salary in lieu of wrongful termination.”

Mrs. 'Dayo Aiyetan.

“I hereby while refusing to grant the Claimant’s relief for N50,000,000 make an order that the Defendant pay the Claimant 12 months of her gross salary and also the outstanding on her status car be written off,” the court also ruled.

The UBA Head of Media and External Relations, Ramon Nasir told SaharaReporters that the bank doesn’t agree with the judgement of the industrial court and had filed its appeal.

The motion of notice filed on October 27, 2023, obtained by SaharaReporters shows that the bank is praying the court for the following:

“AN ORDER staying and/or suspending the execution of or compliance with the judgment of this Honourable Court delivered in this suit on 23rd October, 2023, pending the hearing and final determination of the appeal lodged against the said judgment at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division.

“AN ORDER of injunction restraining the Claimant/Respondent, her agents and assigns, howsoever described, from commencing, bringing and/or initiating garnishee proceedings or however seeking to enforce all or any part of the judgment delivered in this suit on the 23rd of October, 2023in accordance with the Judgment (Enforcement) Rules, made pursuant to the Sheriffs and Civil Process ActCapS6, LFN2004, the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act and/or the National industrial Court of Nigeria (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017, pending the hearing and determination of the Defendant/Applicant's appeal at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division.

“AND for such further or other order(s) as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”

In its appeal filed at the Court of Appeal in Lagos, the UBA said it was “dissatisfied with the judgment of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Lagos Judicial Division, delivered by Honourable Justice R. H. Gwandu in Suit No: NICN/LA/624/2016: Mrs. Abimbola Dayo-Aiyetan vs. United Bank for Africa Pic on 23rd October, 2023, doth hereby appeal to the Court of Appeal on the grounds set out in paragraph 3 and will at the hearing of the appeal seek the reliefs set out in paragraph 4.”

The reliefs sought from the Court of Appeal include “An order setting aside the judgment of the lower court delivered in Suit No: NICN/LA/624/2016: Mrs. Abimbola Dayo-Aiyetan vs United Bank for Africa Plc on 23rd October, 2023 as it relates to the grant of Reliefs i, ii, iv, v and vi.

“An order dismissing Reliefs i, ii, iv, v and vi sought by the Respondent in Suit No: NICN/LA/624/2016: Mrs. Abimbola Dayo-Aiyetan vs United Bank for Africa Plc."

Other reliefs sought are the “Cost of this appeal” and “Any other order that the Court of Appeal may deem fit to make in the circumstances under Section 15 of the Court of Appeal Act, Cap. C36, LFN 2004.”

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