James Ebede exposes ExxonMobil, demands N4b compensation

Mr James Nwagbogwu Ebede, a former staff of ExxonMobil is seeking N4 billion in damages
Mr James Nwagbogwu Ebede, a former staff of ExxonMobil is seeking N4 billion in damages
Mr James Nwagbogwu Ebede, a former staff of ExxonMobil is seeking N4 billion in damages
Mr James Nwagbogwu Ebede, a former staff of ExxonMobil is seeking N4 billion in damages

National Industrial Court (NIC) in Ikoyi, Lagos has dismissed the objection filed by a multinational oil company, ExxonMobil Corporation and its parent body Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited against N4billion suit instituted against the company by its ex -staff Mr James Nwagbogwu Ebede.

Joined as co-defendant is the Vice President and the overall executive officer of ExxonMobil Iraq Limited between 15 February 2017 and December 2017, Mr Ronald W. Romere, who had worked in Nigeria for so many years before being deployed in Iraq. 

In a statement of fact filed before NIC by Lagos lawyer Mr Francis Chuka Agbu SAN, the ex -ExxonMobil corporation staff James Nwagbogwu Ebede stated that he worked with the company from December, 2001 to 2018 as an engineer and because of his consistent excellent performances he was at various times given important responsibilities.

In 2015, he was deployed to Dubai, the posting which was to last till December 2017 but was forcefully redeployed back to Nigeria to retire because he refused to carry out dishonest actions that he was being compelled to do by the manager of ExxonMobil while on assignment in the United Arab Emirates and Iran.

On his return to Nigeria, further punitive actions were taken against him leading him to his forced pre-mature retirement,

Some of these actions were that the company attempted to compel him to employ an unqualified engineer. On several occasions, attempts were made to compel him to sign off uncompleted and poorly executed project as complete several contract manipulations that were in breach of  simple ethical guidelines.

Also there was a deliberate over -scoping of several projects with corrupt intentions to rig the bidding process and award projects at escalated prices running into several billions of dollars.

In view of his resistance contrary to, and in clear breach of, the stipulations contained in the ExxonMobil Educational Assistance Supplementary, the company refused to reimburse him for the monies expended on settling his children’s school fees.

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The company also refused to provide flight tickets for the return of his family members to Nigeria after his stay in Dubai was abruptly cut short.

The company refused to ship many of his belongings and one of his family members at the time he was returning to Nigeria.

Consequently, Mr Ebede is not only claiming the following sums of money of $40million as general damages for the emotional stress he has suffered but also N114,992,096 being the equivalent of the 32-month salary which defendant ought to pay him for his forceful retirement.

He is also demanding a published public apology in two daily newspapers and two international newspapers.

However, the defendants, in their preliminary objection filed before the court by Mrs Abimbola Akeredolu SAN urged the court to decline jurisdiction to entertain the suit on the ground that ExxonMobil is an entity incorporated under the laws of the United States of America, therefore the Nigerian court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

In his response, Mr Agbu SAN in his submission contended that  the company not only conducts its business in Nigeria by means of subsidiaries, but also operates and directly in Nigeria as it holds operating interest in several Oil Mining (OML) therefore urge the court to dismiss the objection of the defendants.

In his ruling, the presiding Judge R. H. Gwandu while adjourning for hearing said, “I hold that this court has the jurisdiction to adjudicate on issues contained in the claimant’s suits both by subject matter and territory, the claimant having shown sufficient cause of action against the defendant.