Former AIT newscaster drags company to court over compulsory retirement

Raymond Dokpesi

A former employee of African Independent Television (AIT), Peter Kumba, has dragged the broadcast station’s parent company, DAAR Communications Plc, before the National Industrial Court, Abuja, challenging his compulsory retirement.

Mr Kumba’s lawyer, Adesola Ajayi, told the court on Monday that the matter was slated for mention.

Justice Oyejoju Oyewumi asked if the defendant had been served with court processes.

Mr Ajayi affirmed that the defendant had been served, although they were yet to receive any process from them.

She also urged the court for an adjournment and accelerated hearing in the matter stressing that the claimant had suffered untold hardship since he had been compulsorily retired and he had not been paid his benefits.

The Raymond Dokpesi-led DAAR Communications was not in court nor represented by a legal counsel for Monday’s proceeding.

The judge instructed the clerk to verify proof of service on the defendant and when it was verified that the process was served on February 10, she said the defence was to file its defence, adjourned the matter until April 10 for further mention and directed that hearing notice be served on the defendant.

Kumba is seeking a declaration that his compulsory retirement is inconsistent with the provisions of the defendant’s Internal Control Policies and Procedures Manual signed and dated Nov. 2, 2011.

The claimant is also seeking a declaration that he is entitled to his full retirement benefits, outstanding salaries, unpaid allowances, payment in lieu of annual leave and pension contributions.

In addition, he is also seeking an order of the court, directing the defendant to pay him the sum of N22.8 million being his unpaid terminal benefits as at February 2018 and 21 percent interest rate per annum on the sum.

Kumba is equally seeking the sum of N5 million as general damages, another N30 million as exemplary and aggravated damages and N2.5 million as cost of prosecuting the suit.

Kumba, in his Statement of Facts, said he was employed in 2004 as an editor and was compulsorily retired on February 12, 2018, when he had not attained the mandatory age of 65 years for retirement, neither had he spent 40 years as stipulated by the defendant’s Internal Control Policies and Procedures Manual.