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Court adjourns suit against firms to May 12

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Justice Anthony Ubaka of the National Industrial Court (NIC) sitting at Ikoyi, Lagos has fixed May 12, 2020, for further hearing of the suit filed by former employees of Bua Limited/Quintessential Foods Nigeria Limited for alleged non-payments of their entitlements.

The matter came up on March 18, 2020, for the continuation of trial. On that day, the claimants’ first witness, Mr. Kolapo Ahmed (an ex-employee of Bua International Plc and Quintessential Foods Nigeria Limited) was cross-examined.

But before the commencement of proceedings, counsel to the 1st defendant (Professor Oludayo Amokaye) requested for an adjournment to enable the 1st defendant to amend its statement of defence.

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Lead counsel for the claimant, Olugbenga Akinlabi, however, opposed the application for any further adjournment on the basis that the court cannot act on an application not before it and that the business of the court for the day was trial, adding that parties were in court and ready for the trial.

In the day’s proceedings, the court admitted as exhibits documents relied upon by the ex-employees’ to prove their claim. The witness also informed the court that he wants the reliefs contained in the claimant’s statement of fact granted. The claimant’s first witness was also cross-examined by the defendant’s counsel.

In the course of the cross-examination of claimants’ 1st witness, the witness was able to establish inhuman and unfair labour practices that were meted out to the ex-employees, which culminated into their eventual disengagement by their employers.

The case thereafter was adjourned to May 12, 2020, to allow the claimants to present their 2nd witness.

Speaking on behalf of the workers, Sylvester Akasan said they were disengaged from Bua and engaged to another food company called Quintessential Food.

He said they filed the action because Bua did not pay them in line with its handbook. He added that the new company also breached the payment agreement, adding that the two parties were brought to court for refusing to pay the workers according to the agreement they had with the ex-employees.

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