The Association of Ex-Staff of Non-Consolidated Banks Nigeria has called on the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to comply with the judgment of the court to pay them their entitlements without further delay.
A National Industrial Court in Lagos had on May 23 ordered the Nigerian government agencies to pay over N5.7billion terminal benefits to more than 1,000 bank workers affected by the re-capitalisation exercise of 2006.
The money, according to Justice Paul Bassi, was to be paid within three months from the date of judgment failing which would attract 10 per cent interest until liquidated.
The Chairman of the association, Magnus Maduka, in a statement said the association tried it’s best to go through diplomacy to get their money and all their efforts were either snubbed by regulatory authority or completely ignored.
The statement read, “Our first consultations were with the NDIC and we were assured that our members would be paid after the sale of assets of the banks that could not consolidate.
“To keep hope alive, we petitioned the CBN who replied that we should engage the purchasing banks to take up the responsibility of paying our entitlements. On hearing this, the NDIC made a publication in one of the national dailies that we should not bother the banks that acquired the assets our defunct employers but that we should always revert to her for our claims.
“We were still hoping to hear some good news only for our counterparts in City Express and Lead Banks to inform us that their own terminal benefits had been paid them. We confronted the NDIC to clarify this and were told that the two banks credited their staff personal accounts with their final entitlements for the NDIC to assume as depositors liability. To this end, we appealed to the NDIC who later agreed that they paid our colleagues in error. They kept insisting that they would pay when the assets of the banks had been fully sold and therefore, classified us as ‘Other Creditors’.
“In the course of consultation and lobbying, NDIC, CBN, Ministry of Labour including the senate when David Mark presided over it, our members began to suffer terrible hardships which took some heavy toll on their health and those of their dependants. As at today, we have lost over three hundred of our members, not to mention several untimely deaths of dependants of our colleagues. Many families have broken up and all manners of sicknesses have cropped up (loss of sights, diabetes, stroke etc.), on our living colleagues. Properly crunched, the casualties we have suffered in this our predicament could be circa three hundred and fifty of our hapless members.
“As a result of the pressure from us to the two bodies coupled with numerous petitions to the Presidency, a meeting was arranged between us and the Federal Ministry of Labour during the tenure of Barrister Nwogu as minister in charge. This took place on the 23rd of November 2010. Present at the meeting were representatives of the NDIC and CBN. At the end of the meeting, we advised to write a passionate appeal to The President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to please consider our plight and give approval for the payment of our entitlements. We promptly did and that yielded no respite.
“After so many moves and nothing was forthcoming, we decided to head for the court. We approached the Late Barrister Bamidele Aturu who advised that we head for the Industrial Court, being the ideal place to get judgment on industrial matters. Before we could finalize the arrangement, Mr. Aturu died which made us to seek the advice of Messrs. Daniel Omotilewa & Co., our present lawyers.
“At the first sitting, the presiding judge, Dr. Benedict Kanyip informed us that we could not sue as a body since we were not unionized even if we were a registered association with CAC. The only measure we could take was to appear as individuals before him. This was how we had several court sessions until finally a judgment was given in our favour on 23rd May, 2022.
“We see the judgment as having a no victor no vanquished! We believe NDIC and CBN did what they deemed expedient but we only went to test the justice of their decision in court rather than take the laws in our own hands. We therefore, strongly appeal to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and to NDIC to be magnanimous enough to settle our claims without further ado. Our members have served this country in the banking industry for years of their lives; some for over two decades. We are not responsible for the economic doldrums of our nation. We believe the delay in settling claims is uncalled for and could be misinterpreted to be callously punitive and not serving any positive purpose whatsoever.
“The aggregate of our benefits is just pittance to CBN and NDIC. The CBN has the weightier matter of checkmating the free fall of the naira on its plate than the ‘Crumbs from her table’ that our members are demanding for some fifteen long years.
“Once again I have to use this medium to say we are highly honoured by your presence and hope that when next we invite you, we will have something positive to report on our terminal benefits. Long live the CBN, long live the NDIC and long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Source: Sahara Reporters.