N50m damages suit: Court fixes Jan. 27 for report of settlement

 Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court, on Tuesday fixed Jan. 27 for a report on settlement in a suit filed by a suspended staff member of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).

The suspended staff member, Dr Charles Alfred, filed the N50 million in damages suit challenging his expulsion, suspension and non-payment of salaries.

The claimant’s counsel, Peter Asimegbe informed the court that the parties were exploring the option of an out-of-court settlement as they were already in talks with the defendants.

He therefore requested for an adjournment to enable parties conclude and return to court for report of settlement.

However, when the case was called up, the counsel said, “as at today, we are still engaged in talks.

“Therefore I humbly ask for adjournment to enable parties conclude settlement arrangement,’’ he said.

The defence counsel, Kabiru Yakub also confirmed the position of the claimant’s counsel.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the claimant, a Research Fellow II at the NILDS was issued a query, a warning letter in Oct. 2019.

He was suspended after being indicted by a disciplinary panel in December 2019.

The defence in its submission said the claimant had written a letter against an alleged lopsidedness in the employment exercise conducted by the Institute.

In addition, it was claimed that the claimant extensively publicised the same issue beyond the office to the general public.

The claimant on his part argued that he was suspended as a result of an online publication which quoted him out of content.

He further said he was thereafter barred from gaining access into the office on Dec. 9, 2019 and was paid only half of his December 2019 salary.

Alfred also claimed that at the time he instituted the suit in April, he had not received any salary.

He approached the court seeking for a declaration that the payment of his half December 2019 salary and stoppage of his salary was wrongful, illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.

He is also seeking an order for payment of the salary forthwith, an order for the defendants to tender unreserved apology for the barring, expulsion and suspension and publishing same in at least two national dailies.

In addition, the claimant is further praying for an order of N50 million as general and exemplary damages.

Joined as a co-defendant is the Director-General of NILDS. (NAN)