Court orders NNPC to pay former Director’s retirement benefits

The National Industrial Court, Abuja, on Thursday ordered the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to pay its former Executive Director, Gbenga Komolafe, his terminal and pension benefits.

Though the total benefit was not declared, the court directed that it should cover the 27 years of his public service.

The claimant had approached the court to seek redress when the defendant failed to pay his benefits as a retired ED, Commercial, Pipelines and Product Marketing Company Limited (PPMC), a subsidiary of the defendant.

In her judgment, Justice Edith Agbakoba declared that the non-payment of the claimant’s terminal benefits as well as his pension with effect from 2016 when he voluntarily retired was unlawful.

Agbakoba also ordered the defendant to pay the claimant his terminal benefits and pension per month with effect from 2016 in line with the defendant’s pension scheme pursuant to the provision of the NNPC Act.

The judge awarded the sum of N100, 000 against the defendant as the cost of prosecuting the suit.

Deji Morakinyo, the claimant’s counsel told the court that his client, who had worked with the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), was appointed as an ED by the defendant in 2012.

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Morakinyo said his client applied for his public service career to be merged, and same was granted with effect from June 5, 1989, being the date the claimant assumed duty in the Federal Public Service.

The counsel also said the claimant was qualified for retirement/terminal benefits for 27 years of public service.

He said, moreover, the claimant had not been paid any gratuity from his last employer, therefore eliminating the possibility that he was attempting to defraud the system.

The defence counsel, Solomon Umoh (SAN), however, in his submission said the defendant’s Corporate Policy and Procedure Guide (CPPG) prohibited the transfer of service, although the claimant’s transfer of service was approved by the then Minister of Petroleum Resources.

Umoh further averred that the claimant was entitled to only three years, five months and six days’ benefit, the period that he was in the employment of the defendant.

The counsel added that the claimant did not qualify for gratuity and pension as the defendant’s CPPG prescribes five and ten years for gratuity and pension respectively.

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