About 1,833 former staff of Oceanic Bank Plc whose services were transferred to Ecobank Nigeria Plc (now Ecobank Nigeria Limited) following a merger arrangement but their services terminated have dragged Ecobank before the National Industrial Court, asking for N3, 489 billion being the sum of their unpaid Staff Savings Investment Trust Fund (SSITF), gratuity, severance and redundancy payment, among others.
According to the suit number NICN/LA/231/2012 filed by nine of the applicants, Uzoma Ihediohanma, Babajide Bayode,Yemisi Adesote, Adeboyejo Oladimeji Seun Aina,Yusuf Kadiri, Segun Alasan, Adetayo Familugba and Lolade Olaribigbe on behalf of themselves and other affected staff, the plaintiffs were asking the court for an order directing Ecobank Nigeria Limited (defendant) to pay the sum of N1,146 billion.
The amount is made up of N926,901,065.60 being the sum total for SSITF contributions by 1,833 employees of Oceanic Bank plc made up of those transferred to Ecobank upon the merger of the two financial institutions whose contracts of employment were determined by the defendant as of February 15, 2012, the sum of N159,710,523.51 being the total sum of gratuity due to the plaintiffs as well as the sum of N59,858,804.51 being the amount due to the workers as severance and redundancy payment.
The plaintiffs are also asking for the sum of N1,500,000,000 in special damages as well as the sum of N1,000,000,000 as general damages.
According to the statement of fact filed by the claimants, it was averred that sometimes in 2008, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) carried out a special examination of the 24 banks operating in the country then and that the outcome showed that nine of the banks including Oceanic Bank Plc were in a “grave situation” which compelled the CBN to carry out a number of rescue mission as an alternative to the revocation of banking licenses.
The claimants said Oceanic Bank Plc and Ecobank Plc eventually merged with the latter assuming the asset and liability of Oceanic Bank staff which includes staff and staff matters.