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Court Orders Kaduna Refinery To Pay Pension Entitlement

Justice Sinmisola Adeniyi of the Kaduna division of the national industrial court has ordered Kaduna Refinery Petrochemical Co Ltd (KPRC) to pay Zakari Abdullahi pension entitlement from September 16,1996 till date.

The judge made the order on Monday after listening to submissions and arguments from both counsels. She ruled that the entitlement be paid to the claimant within 30 days.

She also declared the withholding of Mr Abdullahi’s pension from 1996 till date unconstitutional, unlawful and against public policy.

What happened in court
The claimant (Mr Abdullahi) argued that by the provisions of the NNPC Staff Conditions of Service, which governed his appointment with the Kaduna Refining Petrochemical, he was qualified for the payment of pension having served for 11 years.

He told the court that his gratuity had been paid; however, all effort to get his pension over the years proved abortive.

The defendant (Kaduna Refining Petrochemical ) argued that Mr Abdullahi was not in the class of staff to be paid retirement benefits as he was sacked for gross misconduct.

O. J. Opawale, the defendant’s counsel, contended that proper parties are not before the court, he said Kaduna Refinery is a separate and distinct legal entity from the NNPC and as such, the Condition of Service was not binding on the defendant.

A. A. Manta, the claimant counsel, averred that the provisions of the NNPC Staff Conditions of Service governed his client’s appointment with the Kaduna Refining Petrochemical. He therefore prayed the court to grant the reliefs sought by the claimant.

What the judge ruled
The presiding Judge, Justice Sinmisola held that the NNPC condition of service is binding on the parties.

She dismissed the arguments that Mr Abdullahi’s appointment was terminated on the ground of alleged misconduct but on “services no longer required” as stated in the termination letter.

“My view is that the act of withholding the Claimant’s pension for over two decades, twenty-six (26) years to be precise, is not only unlawful but morally wrong and callous. The flagrant violation of the Claimant’s constitutional right by the Defendant shall not be condoned by this Court.

“It will therefore be unreasonably excessive for the Defendant; having terminated the Claimant’s appointment on the grounds of services no longer required, and having admitted his gratuity was paid; to now summersault to contend that the Claimant is not entitled to pension for alleged acts of misconduct.” Justice Adeniyi ruled.

She ordered that Mr Abdullahi’s pension entitlement from September 1996 till date be immediately computed and paid to him within 30 days.

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