The National Industrial Court Abuja has ordered the Federal Government to pay the former staff of NITEL/MTEL their final entitlement representing 20 per cent of their annual salary within 30 days.

Justice Peter Lifu (JP), who gave the judgment in Abuja, however, dismissed three other claims by the claimants.

The claimants had prayed the court to order the payment of three months’ salary in lieu of notice as their final entitlement.

Furthermore, they had demanded payment for loss of office and redundancy in line with section 11 sub-section 12 and 13 of staff condition of service and the existing labour law, general damages and cost of suit.

The judge only upheld the demand for repatriation which is the final entitlement and dismissed their claim of N20 billion as general damages and N10 million cost of suit.

In dismissing the prayer for the payment of damages and cost of litigation, the judge stated that there was no evidence of suffering, trauma or torture throughout the trial, neither did the claimants show how they the cost of litigation.

On redundancy, the judge refused the demand on grounds that they resigned voluntarily and  could not be paid compensation.

The judge stressed that if the repatriation was not paid within 30 days, it would attract 10 per cent interest.

It would be recalled that Mohammed Jiyah and 197 ex-staff of the erstwhile government establishments had filed the suit against the 1st to 6th defendants at the Federal High court on Jan. 20, 2011.

The case was later transferred to NIC in April 2013.

The defendants are Bureau of Public Enterprises, Nigeria Telecommunications Limited, Mobile Telecommunications Limited, Giants Consultants Limited, Attorney General & Minister of Justice and Accountant-General of the Federation.

The plaintiffs’ claims dated back to Oct. 31, 2006, when the management of NITEL/MTEL was taken over by Transcorp following a privatization transaction.  

In his reaction, the claimants’ Counsel, Akenuwa Wilfred, expressed satisfaction with the judgment, as one of the claims was granted.

He said the judgment was very detailed, adding that they were going home with something.