December 15, 2022

Court orders BOI to reinstate unlawfully sacked AGM, Ekedayen

By Innocent Anaba

A National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos, has nullifiedBank of Industry, BoI’s sack of its Assistant General Manager, Mr. Sonny Ekedayen.

Trial judge, Justice R. Gwandu, in his ruling ordered the bank to reinstate Ekedayen “forthwith and his salaries and allowances paid from the date he was illegally dismissed from the bank.”

According to the court, “Failure to pay same will be treated as contempt of this court’s order and will attract a 10 per cent per annum interest until it is fully liquidated.”

The judge gave the orders in its judgment in suit by Ekedayen 2015, against BoI’s Managing Director, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa and BoI as first and second defendants, respectively.

The claimant’s case, which he canvassed through his counsel, Abimbola Akeredolu, SAN, was that he is an Assistant General Manager in BoI and has been in BoI’s employment since February 14, 2003.

He was 50 years old and had only served for 12 years in BoI as of November 20, 2015, when the 1st defendant,Olaoluwa, without just cause or lawful authority ordered him to resign his employment with BoI or proceed on voluntary early retirement therefrom, on the basis that he (the 1st defendant) could no longer work with the claimant.

He contended that this contravened his Employment Contract and Conditions of Service which provide that the compulsory retirement age for every BoI employee is 60 years or 35years in service

He averred that he was neither 60 years old nor had he attained 35 years of service in the employment of the bank as of November 20, 2015, when he was asked to resign.

He had prayed the court to declare that the bank has no right and/or power  to compel and/or force him to either resign from his employment with BoI or proceed on voluntary early retirement therefrom, among other prayers.

The back-and-forth legal fireworks in court between the plaintiff’s lead counsel and the defendants’ legal team led by T.A.B Oladipo, SAN, had lasted for over seven years before the judgment was delivered in the suit.

Granting the reliefs, Justice Gwandu held that forcing an employee to resign is “A gross misuse of power and position, a vagrant display of superiority and most of all an infringement on the claimants rights as guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.

“I, hereby, hold that the claimant’s first relief succeeds. The 1st defendant is not in any position to direct or force the resignation of any staff, if they must do so, it should be of their own volition, or the company’s internal mechanism has to come into play, this relief is granted accordingly.”