Fourteen thousand ex-workers of non-consolidated banks in Nigeria have sued the Central Bank of Nigeria over the bank’s alleged refusal to pay their entitlements.
The ex-bank workers sued as registered trustees of the Association of Non-Consolidated Banks, Nigeria, in the matter that came up for hearing at the National Industrial Court, Enugu Judicial Division, on Friday.
Joined in the suit are the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation; ministers of Finance, Labour and Productivity; and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Other defendants in the suit, which is being presided over by Justice A.K Ibrahim, include Eco Bank PLC, United Bank for Africa, AfriBank (now Mainstream Bank) and Zenith Bank.
The ex-workers are asking the court to determine “whether having regards to the CBN Guidelines and Incentives on Consolidation in the Nigerian Banking Industry of August 5, 2004, particularly the ‘Social Safety Net’, and the claimants are not entitled to be ameliorated and compensated in terms of their terminal benefits, salary arrears and allowances.
“Whether the tacit delay and intractable refusal of the defendants to implement the Social Safety Net and in so doing ameliorate and compensate the claimant job losses and redundancies as enshrined under the Social Safety Net is not tantamount to a denial to perform a statutory duty to a remedy enforceable by an order of mandamus.
“Whether it is proper for the first and second respondents (CBN and NDIC) to categorise the claimant’s employers within the meaning of ‘failing banks’ in the light of the provisions of Section 35, 36 and 38 of Banking and other Financial Institutions Act, (Cap B3 LF 2004) and section 494 (1) of Companies and Allied Matters Act, (Cap 59) and in consequence of such classification treat the claimant’s rightful benefit as other creditors.”
Accordingly, they are seeking from the court a declaration that they are entitled to amelioration and compensation in terms of their terminal benefits, salary arrears and allowances in accordance with the ‘Social Safe Net’ enshrined in the CBN Guidelines and Incentives on consolidation in the Nigeria Banking Industry of August 5, 2004.
The suit has been adjourned to November 7, 2013 to enable counsel to the claimants, Emenike Azubuike, respond to the counter affidavits filed by the defendants.
Read more: Nigerian Eye