The Presiding Judge, Benin Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Justice Adunola Adewemimo has ordered the Esan North-Central Local Government Council to its former vice-chairman, Hon. Solomon Emiohe the sum of N1, 859,168.00 (One Million Eight Hundred and Fifty-Nine Thousand, One Hundred and Sixty-Eight Naira) as severance gratuity balance, with the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Naira cost of action within 30 days.
However, the court held that nowhere in the Edo State Political and Public Officers Emolument Law where a monthly sum of N250,000.00 was provided as entertainment allowance for the office of either the chairman or the vice-chairman, dismissed the claims for the balance of salary arrears, entertainment allowance, duty tour allowance and out of pocket expenses for lack of proof.
From facts, the claimant’s had submitted that he was an elected vice-chairman of the Council from 22nd April 2013 to 21st April 2016 and pleaded that his entitled to severance gratuity of N2,559,168.00 at the end of his tenure and also claimed the balance of salaries, travelling and entertainment allowance.
In defence, the council denied all material allegations in the statement of facts and averred that all the documents frontloaded by the claimant in respect of travelling allowance are fake and were produced in anticipation of the suit argued that the Edo State Political and Public Officers Emolument Law as submitted by Hon. Solomon is illegal and unconstitutional, and morally wrong urged the Court to dismiss the case with a cost.
The claimant’s counsel Edobor Izebhigie Esq. submitted Hon. Solomon is entitled to his severance gratuity and other entitlements having completed his tenure and disengaged honourably from office, that the defendant has paid only N700,000.00 out of his total severance gratuity, urged the court to grant the relief sought.
Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Adunola Adewemimo held that Edo State Political and Public Officers Emolument Law 2001 is a valid Law passed by the body constitutional empowered to make such laws.
“A deduction of N700,000 from N2, 559, 168.00 due leaves a balance of N1,859,168 (One Million Eight Hundred and Fifty-Nine Thousand, One Hundred and Sixty-Eight Naira) yet unpaid, the claimant is therefore entitled to the sum of N1,859,168 (One Million Eight Hundred and Fifty-Nine Thousand, One Hundred and Sixty-Eight Naira) as the balance of his severance gratuity to be paid by the defendant. I so hold.
“On the claim for the balance of salary arrears, entertainment allowance, duty tour allowance and out of pocket expenses, I find that these qualify as special damages, which by law must be specifically pleaded and proved. In other words, it must be proved by exact arithmetic computation.
“In this regard, therefore, it is immaterial that the defendant did not contest the claimant’s assertion, as special damages by its nature must be proved concisely, cogently and specifically.”