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JUST IN: Court dismisses N42m entitlement suit against APC

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The National Industrial Court suiting in Abuja has dismissed a N42 million entitlement suit instituted against the All Progressives Congress (APC) by aides to the former National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, Chris Owoicho, and 15 Others over lack of proof.

It held that Owoicho and 15 others failed to place before the court the memo approving severance pay for them, or the schedule of payments approved for them, that their failure to provide evidence showing entitlement to severance pay is fatal to their case.

Justice Obaseki-Osaghae gave the ruling on Wednesday after listening to arguments presented before the court by counsels to all parties involved in the case.

The judge ruled that the failure of the claimant to produce the said memo and schedule means that these documents do not exist initially.

He added that issues of discrimination raised by Owoicho and 15 others in terms of full payment to some, part payment to others and refusal to pay others does not arise.

Earlier, the claimants, Owoicho and 15 others, had submitted that they were former aides (Personal Assistants/Special Assistants) to the past National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressive Congress (APC) headed by Chief John Oyegun, and were discharged sometime in June 2018.

They stated that the former National Working Committee (NWC) in May 2018 graciously approved severance allowances for Special Advisers/Personal Assistants whose appointments were terminated at the expiration of the former NWC and to their greatest surprise a different schedule of payment was raised and paid to seven (7) selected aides.

They averred that the Party is owing them severally the total sum of N42 million and all efforts and demands made to get their severance allowances proved abortive, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.

The defendant- All Progressives Congress -APC raised a “Notice of Preliminary Objection” on the ground that the suit is incompetent for misjoinder of causes of action and argued that claims of Mr. Chris Owoicho and 15 others are different and cannot be constituted under one suit.

Learned Counsel to the APC, Ayuba Ibrahim Idris submitted that the former aides failed to prove their case for the grant of any of the reliefs sought; and urged the Court to dismiss the case.

In a well-considered judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Obaseki-Osaghae overruled the objection for lacking merit and held that there is no conflict of interest between Owoicho and 15 others as they are fighting a common cause, and the nature of the reliefs are beneficial to all of them.

However, the Court held that Chris Owoicho and 15 others have failed to prove their entitlement to severance pay from the APC.

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