By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Thirty-two staffers of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE who were recently laid off due to reorganisation at the exchange have dragged the institution to court claiming that due process was not followed in the purported termination of their employments.
Claimants in the suit are Christian Udom, Ononiwu Chidinma Catherine and Oyesiji Omobolanle, suing for themselves and on behalf of those who were forced to resign their job or those whose employment were terminated with the NSE.
Brought as Defendants in the suit are Emmanuel Ikhazobor, the NSE interim Administrator, Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, the Nigerian Stock Exchange LTD GTE, The Council of NSE, Bala Manu and the Inspector General of Police, IGP.
In their Writ of Summons, the sacked workers, who were majorly those sacked and those advised to resign are asking the court to among others declare that their sack or ‘induced resignation’ from the NSE is illegal, null and void.
They are also asking the court to grant an order compelling the defendants to reinstate their employment or “pay them all their entitlements and emoluments from the day they were forced to resign or their employments were either terminated or dismissed until their appointment are properly determined.”
Though, they did not argued that they cannot be retrenched from work by NSE, they are, however, challenging the processes followed by the NSE in laying them off, saying, they were forced to resign under duress.
The sacked workers argued that resignation presupposes that the employees would be the one paying one month salary in lieu of notice.
“In this case, the NSE paid some of the sacked staff two months salary and some one month salary in lieu”, they claimed.
The claimants averred that the Interim Administrator claimed before the mass sack of staff of the NSE that there was need to “right size” the workforce. They however maintained that the NSE after their purported sack went ahead to employ other workers which was contrary to their claim of right sizing the work force.
The claimants therefore prayed the court to make a Declaration that their forced and/or induced resignation is illegal, null and void.
Earlier, in their press briefing, they argued that there were flaws in the action of SEC in laying off the leadership of the NSE, which they said led to their disengagement, arguing, “SEC deployed an unorthodox and violent method in forcing the exit of the Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange from office.
The Investment and Security Act (ISA) provides fully for the process of removing the CEO of NSE from office by its Council/Board of Directors.”
They noted that, “SEC trampled upon the law in its highly questionable move against the management of the Nigerian Exchange led by Professor Okereke-Onyiuke.”
It will be recalled that the 32 workers were sacked on August 26 following the crises that rocked the NSE.