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Court frowns at firm’s failure to file defence after 15 months in N26m suit against it


gavel lawThe National Industrial Court presided over by Justice O. O. Oyewunmi‎ has expressed displeasure at the attitude of one of Nigeria’ s foremost confectionaries company, UTC Nigeria Plc for failing to file its defence in a case instituted against it by one Mrs Abolade Ajala, a retiree of the company who dragged the company before the court over its alleged failure to pay her retirement benefits up to the tune of N26, 558,012.76, having served the company for 29 years before her retirement in 2011.

The court had fixed Thursday, May 5, 2016 for report of the filing of the defendant’s response to the plaintiff’s claim.
But at the resumed hearing of the matter, counsel to the defendant (UTC), Martina Aguotcha told the court that the defendant was yet to file its defence as its witness has travelled out of the country.

The counsel submission drew the ire of the judge who blasted the company for failing to file its response 15 months after it had been served the notice.

The judge however described the defendant’s action as a ploy to deny the claimant justice and waste the time of the court.
‎She said: “ You have been served since January 2015 which is over one year and the court has been magnanimous to grant you several adjournments for you to respond yet you have failed to file your response till date. What impression are you giving the people? That cases are delayed unnecessarily in court? This is the reason people are discouraged from coming to court.

“This kind of action discourages people from coming to court to fight for their rights. This does not augur well. This is so appalling from this defendant. The court cannot be waiting for an unwilling defendant.”
She therefore adjourned the matter till October 15, 2016 for hearing.

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