Court dismisses Case filed 23 years after cause of action arose
The Presiding Judge, Owerri Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Galadima has dismissed the suit filed by Mr Sebastian Iwudibia against National Pension Commission and 3 others, demanding his 23 years outstanding pension and annuity entitlement for being stale, time and statute-barred that the claims cannot be revived.
The court held that allowing the suit will open a flood gate of potentially needless litigations which is ultimately against public interests.
Counsel to the National Pension Commission-4th defendant contended that the Claimant’s claim for recovery of the alleged 23 years’ pension benefits and annuity offend provision of the Limitation Act, that the Claimant may have had a cause of action before now but the opportunity was lost by his protracted inaction and further that the commission is not a proper party to the suit and not charged with the responsibility of paying the Pension benefits of the Claimant.
In opposition, the Claimant’s Counsel submitted that when a wrongful act is continuous, then a cause of action will be deemed to be in continuous existence, argued that the 4th Defendant is also a necessary party because if it is not made a party to this action, the action may not be effectively dispensed with urged that the matter be heard on merit.
Delivering the ruling, the trial Judge, Justice Galadima held that the application to have the name of the National Pensions Commission struck out on the ground that is not a proper party to the suit in view of the provisions in Section 5 (1) (b) of the Pensions Reform Act, 2014 is misguided.
“It, therefore, seems the cause of action arose in 1994 but it took the Defendant another 21 years before he could put up a formal demand for the payment of his pension by PTAD. From the facts available before this Court, it was from 2015 therefore that the Claimant began to pursue and fight for what he now alleges to be his constitutional right. This suit was eventually filed on the 11/5/2017, 23 years since the cause of action arose.
“It is difficult to ascertain what his balances are if there are any and so the entire suit seems whipped up merely to appeal to sentiments rather than on pure facts and evidence. I believe allowing this suit will open a flood gate of potentially needless litigations which is ultimately against public interests.”
In all, the court struck out the name of the Federal Ministry of Finance that it does not have the competence of being sued and dismissed the matter for being stale, time and statute-barred that the claims cannot be revived.
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