Some former staff of NEXIM sued the bank for nonpayment of severance benefits.
The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday overruled the Nigeria Export-Import Bank’s preliminary objection to its hearing of a case filed against it by some of its former employees.
The claimants, Abdulrahman Omade, Onyeka Nkwor, Amina Attah and Francis Jegede, had sued the NEXIM Bank for non-payment of their severance benefits.
The former employees had also claimed that the defendant withdrew their promotion in 2008, leading to their resignation from the bank.
The claimants are praying the court to declare that their promotion in December 2008 was in order and that the withdrawal of same by the defendant is illegal, null and void.
They are also asking the court to order the defendant to pay all their entitlements from the date of their resignation till the date they are expected to retire.
When the matter came up for mention in February, the defence counsel, Chuma Ajaiyegbu, filed a preliminary objection challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter.
He argued that the claimants did not disclose any reasonable course of action as they were aware that their promotion was nullified because of irregularities.
The counsel also argued that the claimants were paid all their entitlements after they resigned their appointments in 2008.
He further submitted that the claimants signed severance agreement with the defendant not to make any further claims for their unpaid severance entitlements.
The claimants, in their counter claims, told the court they were compelled to sign the said agreement and urged the court to discountenance the objection.
In her ruling, Justice Oluseun Shogbola, said that the only matter for determination before the court is whether it has jurisdiction to hear the matter.
She concluded that the court has jurisdiction to hear the case as it relates to an employment issue.
“Therefore, the matter cannot be stopped by the preliminary objection and the case shall be adjourned for continuation of hearing,” Ms. Shogbola said.
She adjourned the matter to May 8 and 13 for continuation of hearing.