Stop UBA from tampering with our accounts, Ex-staff begs court

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Former United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc staff, who were allegedly wrongly disengaged, have again dragged the bank before National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), Lagos, seeking an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the bank, from debiting their accounts in any other banks in the country, over alleged outstanding consumer/staff loans.

It would be recalled that early this year, 116 UBA employees whose appointments were unlawfully terminated, dragged the bank before the court seeking several orders which include, an order declaring their disengagement as illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and breach of contract and consequently demanded for the sum of N2.015 billion as damages.

They also asked the court to declare that UBA Plc constructive and wrongfully terminated their employment.

The former bankers have asked the court to declare that the personal loans given to them by UBA Plc between August and December, 2019 was unconscionable, oppressive and against all known tenets of corporate decency.

They claimed that an order cancelling the loans or alternatively, ordering UBA Plc to apply insurance proceeds to the payment of the outstanding loans and updating their terminal benefits accordingly.

They further urged the court to compel the bank to pay their salaries from the date of ‘constructive’ dismissal to the date of judgment. The former bankers asked the court to award the sum of N2 billion against UBA, for breach of contract and wrongful termination of employment. And an order mandating the UBA to remit the 2.5% NHF deductions from their salaries to the fund.

Alternatively, an order mandating UBA Plc to credit the their accounts with the deductions made from their salaries as NHF contribution with interest at the rate of 25%. Also, an order mandating UBA plc, to provide satisfactory references when requested without reference alleged non- performance and outstanding loans. And asked the court to award to them N10 million damages each against UBA Plc, for alleged defamation of character and N50 million been cost of action.

They also asked the court to award the sum of N10 million each and N50 million in their favour against UBA Plc as damages for defamation of character and cost of instituting the suit.

The former bankers who are applicants in the suit marked NICN/L/CS/112/2020, against UBA Plc, are: Adams Halimat Atta; Adedamola Olayemi Daramola; Adedeji Olubukola Adesola; Adedeji Oladipupo Soliu; Adeleke Anota Adeola; Adenike Bankole; Adenola Sunday Dare; Adeoti Adewale Wasiu; Adewole Kehinde Oluwadere; Adewale Opeyemi; Adiabokpa Godfrey and Adisa Ademola Khabir.

Others include; Ajayi Samuel Jaiyeola; AfolayanOluwakemi M; Agbana Oluwakemi Deborah; Agbo Chinyere Maureen; Agbede Oluwakemi Toyin Fawehinmi; Adewole Ajibike Olusola; Adeniran Adeyinka Ajoke Nee Daniel; Akingbade Olufemi John; Akinyemi Lawal; Alabi Olajide Abiodun; Alake Dorcas Jumoke; Alice bako; Anieze Ifeoma Pauline; Anyaogu Patience Akunna; Arundu Hope; Atafo Oziegbe Godwin; Azeez Ayokunle Temitayo and Azubuike Opone Ufuoma.

They also include; Azuh Ngozi Jovita; Badmus Idris Bambo; Balogun Sunday Emmanuel; Bamgbose Sumbo; Bayode Ajayi Austine; Bose Imarughe; Bosunde Olufemi Olusegun; Cecilia Wilson Ochenje; Charity Ijeoma Onyekwere, Chinyere Ezekwu and 76 others.

While awaiting the determination of their suit against UBA Plc, the applicants have again approached the court for an order restraining their former employees from debiting their accounts in any other banks in the country, over alleged outstanding consumer/staff loans.

They are also urging the court for accelerating hearing of their matter with the bank.

The former bankers in an affidavit in support of their motion on notice deposed to by Adekoge Adeoye, a litigation officer in Law Future Partners and filed before the court by their lawyer, Elvis E. Asia, averred that the applicants initiated this action on March 13, 2020, via a complaint pending before the Court and that the major basis of the complaint is that UBA PLC wrongly seized their terminal benefits for consumer/staff loans that ought to have been settled by insurance.

The deponent stated that the applicants also complained that after the said deduction, their accounts were debited with the balance of the alleged outstanding making the applicants debtors to UBA Plc. adding that on July 13, 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a circular to all banks and other financial institutions on Operational Guidelines on Global Standing Instructions (GSI), by the circular, UBA Plc and other banks in Nigeria have been empowered to debit the accounts of loan defaulters in other banks to settle defaults.

He stated that the said GSI directives by the CBN applies to loans granted from August 28, 2019, which covers the period the applicants were given loans that ought to be settled by insurance.

The deponent averred that the applicants fear that unless the respondent (UBA Plc) is restrained from debuting their accounts in other banks pending the determination of their complaint by this Honourable Court, the subject matter of the claim will be destroyed and they will be subject to further hardship that cannot be compensated in damages.

He also stated that the interest of justice will be better served if the Court restrained the bank from debiting their accounts in the manner set out in the GSI pending the determination of this matter and accelerate the hearing of the matter.

UBA Plc is yet to file response to the suit which is pending before Justice Ndidi Anthonia Ubaka, no date has been fixed for its hearing.