The Presiding Judge, Makurdi Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Salisu Danjidda has ordered Makurdi Local Government to pay 43 former Civil Defense volunteers their outstanding balance of stipends for the various months they have served till the date of their disengagement May 2015 totalling N8, 482, 000 (Eight Million, Four Hundred and Eighty-Two Thousand Naira) within 30 days.
The Court held that the defence volunteer are entitled to their salaries for the work done that the documentary evidence showed that there was an employment relationship between them and the council to offer security services for a fee and the Claimants have discharged the burden of proof as provided under the Evidence Act
From fact, the claimants-Gwamile Demenenge and 42 others had submitted that they were engaged orally by the Makurdi Local Government sometime in 2004 as Civil Defense volunteers that their salaries were not paid on a regular basis up until they were disengaged in 2015 owing them arrears of salaries amounting to N 8,482,000.00 (Eight Million Four Hundred and Eighty-Two Thousand Naira).
In defence, the council maintained that upon the understanding that claimants were not yet in the full employment of NSCDC, the local government accepted them as casual workers to be laid off at any time that she does not pay salary to casual workers but a grant which is not fixed; denied having any agreement with the claimants either expressly or orally.
Learned counsel for the Defendant submitted that the claimants failed to discharge the burden placed on them and due to the inconsistencies in the case of the claimants, counsel prayed the court to dismiss the claim for lacking merit.
In opposition, counsel to the claimants, Paul Okoliko Esq urged the court to hold that there is privity of contract between the claimants and the Defendants as the contract in issue is a personal contract with benefits urged the court to enter judgment and grant the relief sought.
Delivering judgment, the trial judge, Justice Salisu Danjidda held that documentary evidence showed that the Claimants were engaged by the Defendant and were at material times on monthly payment of allowances for the services they rendered.
“All these exhibits are positive to the fact that there was an employment relationship between the Claimants and the Defendant to offer security services for a fee. Even though there is no written agreement between the parties, it can be inferred from the conduct of parties that there was a contract of service existing between them.
“There is no evidence to the contrary from the Defendant regarding the case of the Claimants, thus where evidence is unchallenged and uncontroverted by the opposing party, the court seized of the proceeding can act on it.