BY Innocent Anaba
The National Industrial Court, NIC, sitting in Lagos, yesterday, dismissed a preliminary objection by Bellview Arilines Limited, challenging the suit by family members of late Captain Lambert Imasuen, the pilot of Bellview aircraft Boeing 737-200 that crashed on October 22, 2005.
The family members had dragged the airline before the NIC over non-payment of the compensation due to their late father.
The aircraft was on its way to Abuja from Lagos when it crashed at Lisa Village area of Ogun State, killing all 117 persons on board.
Trial judge, Justice Peter Lifu, in his ruling, yesterday, assumed jurisdiction, and dismissed the objection of the airline challenging the power of the court to adjudicate on the matter.
Justice Lifu held that the NIC was the proper court with jurisdiction to entertain and determine the case, being a matter connected with, pertaining to, and indeed incidental to the contract of employment of late Captain Imasuen, who died in the course of his employment with Bellview Airlines.
The judge held that the case involved issues of unfair labour practices, adding that the NIC, under the constitution, had the jurisdiction to entertain same.
The suit was filed in representative capacity on behalf of the family members by Imuwahen Lenita Imasuen, who is the eldest child and administrator of the Estate of late Captain Imaseun.
Other defendants are Kayode Odukoya, Tunde Yusuf, Gabriel Olowo, Emmanuel Ombu, Abisoye Mohammed, Kola Sobande, Chimara Imediegwu and Alex Iheuwa – all directors of the airline.
The family is urging the court to compel the airline to pay $90, 000 and N82 million damages, as well as the cost of the action and other benefits and entitlements accruing to the Estate of late Captain Imasuen both as air crash victim and staff of Bellview Airlines.