Court refuses stay hearing on suit against Total Oil

FRANCE TOTAL UTS ENERGY18 February 2014, Lagos – The National Industrial Court, (NIC) has refused an application filed by Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (TEPNG) asking the court to stay proceedings in the N5 billion suit instituted by a former staff, Aralu Steve against the oil company.

Aralu allegedly worked with Total for about 11 years and was injured in a major work place accident in 2011 which rendered him unemployable.

Ruling on the application, Justice Oyeyoju Oyewunmi held the oil company failed to comply with the Rules of the court which requires Total to transmit records of proceedings to the Court of Appeal before seeking for stay.

The court also held that to grant stay of proceedings would do more harm than good considering the health of the claimant, (Steve Aralu).

Justice Oyewunmi however granted the request of the claimant asking the court for accelerated hearing of the suit.

The court thereafter adjourned the suit till April 2 and 3 for definite hearing of the suit.
The claimant a laboratory supervisor had in his amended statement of claim filed by his lawyer Oviemuno Obobolo stated that on December 10, 2008 while carrying out chemical injection monitoring and pumps adjustment at the Obagi Flow Station owned by the defendant Total, he received a splash from one of the chemical injection.

The claimant alleged 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 Departments meeting which he attended as the Laboratory Supervisor.
He stated that the accident left him temporarily blind for about five days and to his surprise the defendant allegedly did not reached out to him to know his wellbeing nor sought to assist him in any way.

He alleged that the oil company turned down his request for financial assistance, prompting him to instruct his lawyer to file suit claiming N5 billion as general damages.
But, the defendant in its Notice of Preliminary objection filed by its lawyer, Babatunde Fagbohunlu SAN challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit but the request was refused.
Dissatisfied, the defendant filed a notice of appeal against the ruling of the court and urged the court to stay proceedings.

– This Day

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