Bank worker challenges termination of appointment

National Industrial Court, Abuja

A senior member of Ecobank Nigeria Limited has sued it before the National Industrial Court, (NIC), Lagos for wrongful termination of employment.
The plaintiff, Gbite Mathew Adegoke is claiming N1.2 billion as damages and special damages having suffered near paralysis in the course of being on official duty.
The bank has however denied owing him any duty of care save what is established in his contractual employment.In a statement of facts filed by Adegoke’s counsel, Jiti Ogunye, the claimant stated that he was employed by Oceanic Bank on April 11, 2006 as a Manager and was the pioneer branch manager of the bank at Ota, Ogun State.
Due to hardwork, he was promoted as a Regional Manager in 2007 and redeployed to Oyo as Regional Manager, Western Zone 1. On May 26, 2008, he was deployed to the Western Zone Region 6.
To Adegoke’s credit, according to his claims filed in court, he was responsible for opening up the bank in the Western Zone, particularly in the rural areas. He assisted the ban in opening more than 10 branches. One the branches he opened that really benefitted the bank is the Canaanland branch. Canaanland is the headquarters of the Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel) where he grew the balance sheet consistently from a paltry N1.2 Billion to N21 Billion. At this juncture, he received a letter of commendation from the Managing Director of the bank.
Trouble however started for him on July 11, 2009, while on a trip to Lagos for an official meeting, he encountered armed robbers on Lagos- Ibadan Expressway. The armed bandits shot at him and their bullets penetrated his spinal cord, rendering him a near total paralysis. This was before Ecobank took over Oceanic Bank in a merger.
Other chain of events eventually led to the termination of his appointment and he sued.However, in the defence filed by the bank’s counsel, Chief Anthony Idigbe SAN, the bank refuted Adegoke’s claim. In its 101 paragraph statement of defence filed before the court, the defendants denied most of the averments of the claimant.
The bank said in a bid to re-engineer and restructure her workforce and determine the contract of employment of some of its members of staff, the claimant was affected.
He said: “After the restructure of her workforce, the claimant was deemed surplus to requirements and was subsequently issued a letter of termination of employment dated January 4, 2016.
“The defendant was never pushed out of employment, forced out in a precarious health condition, rendered unemployable and demoralized, rather, in order to restructure her workforce, the contract of employment for some staff was determined and the claimant’s employment was terminated.”The suit as been adjourned till March 21, 2017.

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