Industrial court dismisses Total’s suit against ex-staff

FRANCE TOTAL UTS ENERGY11 October 2013, Lagos – The National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos, Thursday, dismissed the preliminary objection by Total E&P Nigeria Limited, TEPNG, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the N5 billion suit instituted against it by a former staff, Aralu Steve.

Ruling on a preliminary objection by Total, Justice Oyeyoju Oyewunmi said that the claimant’s suit disclosed reasonable cause of action against the oil company.

Justice Oyewunmi said that from the document frontloaded before the court, such as letter of employment proved that there was a nexus between the claimant and the defendant.

The court also joined Maple Leaf Ventures Limited as the second defendant in the suit, adding that the justice of the case would be defeated without the participation of Maple Venture.

“There are reasonable grounds to join Maple Venture in the suit whose presence is essential to the complete and final adjudication of this suit. You cannot shave a person’s head in his absence,” Justice Oyewunmi held.

The claimant a laboratory supervisor had in his amended statement of claim argued that on December 10, 2008 while carrying out chemical injection monitoring and pumps adjustment at the Obagi Flow Station owned by the defendant, he received a splash from one of the chemical injection.

The claimant stated that prior to the occurrence of the incident, he discovered that the particular pump had malfunction and promptly drew the attention of the defendant to it during the daily Heads of Department’s meeting which he attended as the Laboratory Supervisor.

He is claiming N5 billion as general damages.

But, the defendant in its notice of preliminary objection, had contended that the court has no jurisdiction to hear the suit.

– Innocent Anaba, Vanguard

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