The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), on Thursday ordered the Benue Government, to pay a retiree, Oche Abah N6.4 million, being his gratuity and 16 months accumulated pension arrears.
Other co-defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of the State, the State Ministry of Education, State Education Teaching Board and Bureau of Pension Service.
Delivering judgment via virtual proceeding, the judge, Justice Isaac Essien held that the amount claimed by Abah had been clearly supported by the computation of his retirement benefits as done by the Auditor General of the state.
The judge equally stated that because the defendants did not have any defence to oppose the computation, the claimant was therefore entitled to the relief.
“In the absence of a proper defence to this action, this court is under a duty to enter judgment for the sum claimed in this motion.
“Judgment is hereby entered in the sum of N6.4 million being the claimant’s gratuity and the accumulated arrears of his monthly pension as contained in his computation for payment of Retirement Benefits in the letter dated July 27, 2015.” Essien ruled.
The court however declined to grant the claimant’s prayer for an interest rate of 25 per cent for the absence of proof.
From the claimant’s statement of facts, he averred that after he retired from the State’s Ministry of Education after 35 years of service, that the deliberate refusal of the state government to pay his gratuity and the accumulated monthly pension after his statutory retirement from service was illegal, unlawful, and unfair labour practice.
He had therefore sought for an order of court to enter summary judgment in his favour on the grounds that the defendants could not deny his retirement benefits which was they had duly computed.
In defence, the defendants had however urged the court to dismiss the claims of the claimant for being unmeritorious.