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The court has exclusive jurisdiction in civil causes and matters relating to or connected with any labour, employment, trade unions, industrial relations and matters arising from workplace, the conditions of service, including health, safety, welfare of labour, employee, worker and matter incidental thereto or connected therewith.

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Industrial Court faults LAPO indefinite Suspension of Ubigho Stewart, orders payment of Salaries, Allowances from 2018 to 2022


1327 Wednesday 19th October 2022

The Presiding Judge, Akure Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Kiyersohot Damulak has declared the indefinite suspension placed on Mr. Ubigho Stewart by Lapo Micro Finance Bank since 29th June 2018 without pay as wrongful and unfair labour practice.


The Court ruled that the indefinite suspension was done in violation of the LAPO Microfinance Bank’s Code of Conduct for staff; ordered the bank to pay Mr. Ubigho Stewart the sum of N4.4m being all his salaries, rights, benefits, and privileges attached to his employment status from August 2018 up to September 2022 within 21 days.


From facts, the claimant-  Mr. Ubigho Stewart had submitted that his indefinite suspension without pay since 29th June 2018 is contrary to his terms of employment, and all efforts to get back to work proved abortive.


In defense, the defendant- Lapo Micro Finance Bank maintained that Mr. Ubigho was issued a query along with others upon their disruption of the Bank’s activities and for insubordination in violation of the defendant’s code of conduct and was given the opportunity to defend himself before the Disciplinary committee, but he refused to show up. 


The Bank concluded that Mr. Ubigho violated the code of conduct which was validly enacted by the defendant to warrant such suspension and opined that the claimant is not entitled to any of the reliefs claimed and that the suit is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of court process, urged the court to dismiss same with punitive cost in its favour.


In opposition, the claimant learned counsel, E. M. Abayomi Esq averred that notwithstanding the two queries issued by the defendant, it does not warrant the indefinite suspension without pay and there is no provision whatsoever in the Defendant’s Staff Code of conduct, urged the Court to grant the reliefs sought.


Delivering the judgment after careful evaluation of the submission of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Kiyersohot Damulak held that there is no provision for indefinite suspension without pay by the bank’s code of conduct, that the punishment imposed on Mr. Ubigho Stewart is beyond what is in the contract.


The Court ruled that the indefinite suspension without pay meted on Mr. Ubigho Stewart by the bank was contrary to the defendant’s code of conduct and same amounts to unfair labour practice.


Justice Damulak further declared that Mr. Ubigho Stewart is still in the employment of the Bank and therefore entitled to all the rights, benefits, and privileges (including salaries) attached to his employment status from August 2018 up to the date of judgment, today 17th October, 2022.


“The indefinite suspension of the claimant without pay is hereby lifted from today 17th October, 2022.” Justice Damulak ruled.


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