Sixteen years after they lost their jobs due to the Banks’ re-capitalisation exercise of 2006, the National Industrial Court in Lagos has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to pay over N5.7 billion in terminal benefits to 1,116 bank workers affected by the exercise
Justice Paul Bassi, who made the order on Monday, ordered that the money must be paid within three months from the date of judgment failing which it will attract 10 per cent interest until liquidated.
Justice Bassi, who made the order while delivering judgment on the case filed in 2018 by the sacked employees, also ordered the CBN and the NDIC to pay another N10m as general damages to the claimants.
The bankers lost their job in 2006 after their various employees failed to recapitalise from N2 billion to N25 billion as ordered by the CBN.
After the banks failed to meet the recapitalization requirements and their licenses were revoked by the CBN which then appointed the NDIC as the liquidator.
The bank employees then sued the two organisations demanding the payment of their terminal benefits.
Both the CBN and the NDIC filed separate preliminary objections to the suit, insisting among other things that they were not the employers of the workers and the suit disclosed no cause of action against them.
But in his judgment, Justice Bassi dismissed the preliminary objections, holding that while they may have acted in the general good by raising the capital base of banks in the country, it should not be done at the expense of the former employees.
He further held that by revoking the banking licenses of the non-consolidated banks, the defendants interfered with the employment contracts of the bank workers, a contract which would ordinarily have run its natural course with the claimants paying their benefits at the end.
The court then ordered the CBN and the NDIC to pay the workers within three months from the date of judgment failing which it will attract 10 per cent interest until liquidated.