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Thursday, 15 December 2016

First Bank losses Attempt to Dismiss N100 Billion 'Unlawful Termination' Lawsuit

First Bank Nigeria Limited has lost an attempt to dismiss a N100 Billion Suit instituted against it by former employee of the Bank Mr. Tennyson Ikpi in Suit No: NICN/AWK/13/2015.

The National Industrial Court dismissed the Preliminary Objection dated 8th June, 2015, filed by A.O Omonuwa SAN on behalf of
First Bank Nigeria praying the Court to dismiss the N100 billion suit.

The Preliminary Objection asking the Court not to hear the suit was dismissed on Tuesday, 6th day of December, 2016, in a well-considered ruling delivered by Hon. Justice W. Abali.

It will be recalled that Mr. Ikpi had dragged First Bank of Nigeria Plc, his ex-employer, before the National Industrial Court, sitting at Awka, Anambra State , following his indefinite suspension from duty and subsequent disengagement by his employer, without adherence to the strict provision of employment law and internationally recognised best labour practices.

Ikpi, a former staff of United Bank for Africa (UBA) and former Branch Manager at Keystone Bank Limited, had a flourishing banking career until sometime in August 2012, when he received an offer letter from the First Bank of Nigeria, due to his vast and intimidating banking experience and impeccable track record.

Consequent upon taking the offer from First Bank of Nigeria, Ikpi at the same period tendered his resignation to Keystone Bank Limited, without knowing that the offer wasloaded with very bitter consequences that could be likened to a stillbirth.

Few weeks after his resignation from Keystone Bank, Ikpi received a letter from First Bank of Nigeria abruptly suspending his employment. The action, according to Ikpi, was on the ground of a spurious and unfounded allegation against him on the pages of some Newspapers by an individual with whom he had a personal misunderstanding over a court case.

Ikpi said following the allegation, First Bank of Nigeria decided to keep him in the dark without paying his salaries for six months, and without any hearing or Judgment from any Court of law. First Bank of Nigeria  later decided to terminate his employment, a decision which he strongly believes violates his constitutional right to fair hearing, and has since commenced a legal action against the bank at the National Industrial Court, challenging the constitutionality of the termination of his employment.

Ikpi is praying the Court to award the sum of N100 billion against First Bank of Nigeria for damages suffered by him, as a result of its unlawful action.

The case was adjourned to 15th day of February, 2017, for hearing of the substantive suit.

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