A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Baker Hughes: Court to rule on N12bn ex-workers’ suit Jan 31

*Aerial view of Baker Hughes headquarters.

Mkpoikana Udoma

09 December 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN, sitting in Port Harcourt has set aside 31st January 2018 for ruling on the suit whether it has jurisdiction to order the CEO of Baker Hughes Incorporated, Mr. Martin Craighead, Baker Hughes Incorporated and Baker Hughes Company Nigeria Limited to pay the sum of N12 billion to ex-workers of the company.

The trial judge, Justice Anwal Ibrahim, also set aside 30th January 2018, for hearing on pending suits filed before it by over 300 ex-workers of Baker Huges against Mr. Martin Craighead, Baker Hughes Incorporated and Baker Hughes Company Nigeria Limited (first, second and third defendants) over unlawful disengagement without severance benefits.

Counsel to the claimants (ex-workers) Barr. George Ogara, who provided documents to show that General Electric has bought over Baker Huges, had filed an injunction asking the company to pay N12billion (redundancy benefits to 300 sacked workers) into the court account pending the final outcome of the case so the money is not merged with GE.

Ogara also provided documents to show that GE has merged with Baker Hughes Incorporated, and the 1st defendant Mr. Martin Craighead, has been paid $74.4million as an executive parachute for moving from CEO of Baker Hughes to Vice Chairman of the Board of General Electric.

Ogara is also asking that if the court cannot stop the merger between GE and Baker Hughes, the court should order the later to pay the money into the court account.

While fielding questions from newsmen after the court session, Ogara said that the entire issue of the jurisdiction of the court will come to an end by January 31st, 2018.

“All the preliminary applications and objections to paying the N12billion into court was taken today and the court adjourned to 31st of January 2018 for ruling on every application.

“The objection that we ought not to have brought the case to court in the first place will be ruled upon on 31st of January 2018.

“And then the issue of whether Baker Hughes should keep holding the money until the case is decided or they should pay into the court account so that whosoever wins will collect the money would be settled on that day too.

“Immediately that is decided, we will go into the substantive matter where all the ex-employees will now give evidence.”

Meanwhile, the counsel to the Defendants, Barr. Y.A. Kadiri had also filed a motion, asking the court to strike out the case filed by ex-workers of Baker Hughes for lack of competence.

The defendant’s lawyer is also asking the court to remove the first and second defendants from the case, being Martins Craighead and Baker Hughes Incorporated, saying the court does not have jurisdiction over them.

“That the 1st and 2nd defendants were not served.

“That the court does not have the jurisdiction to order the payment of the N12billion by Baker Hughes Company Nigeria Limited into the court account.

“Whether the court has jurisdiction over the 1st and 2nd defendants.”

These motions and complaints were argued on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between the defendants’ lawyers and claimants lawyers.

But Justice Ibrahim adjourned the ruling to 31st of January 2018, after entertaining arguments from the defense counsel challenging the jurisdiction of the court.

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