Former Staff Demands N200m from Guinness

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A former staff of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Bright Nwosu, has dragged the company before the National Industrial Court (NIC) of Nigeria sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for alleged wrongful dismissal from work. The NIC was billed to commence hearing on the matter yesterday but the matter was differed to March 31 because of the crowded engagement of the Presiding judge, Justice Nelson Ogbuanya. Nwosu, a former Distributor Manager, had dragged the company, a subsidiary of Diageo, to the National Industrial Court over alleged wrongful dismissal from work. The claimant, who won an award as the company’s Best Distributor Manager in 2018, is also demanding the sum of N200 million as damages for his wrongful dismissal and conspiracy of silence against him.

Joined as defendants in the suit are the company’s Area Manager, Port Harcourt West, Chijioke Ebirinwa; Area Manager, Port Harcourt East, Emeka Onuoha and the Head of Division, East Nigeria, Elvis Okafor.

Addressing journalists yesterday in Port Harcourt, representative of the Legal Aid Council (LAC), Benn Uzozie, said they were in court to challenge the wrongful dismissal of Nwosu.

Uzozie said: “We are in Court because of what we call conspiracy of silence of Diageo Company, London, the parent company of Guinness Nigeria Plc, against our client; against a Nigerian.

“The kind of maltreatment given to our client cannot be done to any British employee. But here in Nigeria, you find most of these multinationals handling issues like this.

“We wrote to them, we appealed to them; please, resolve this issue. He made a complaint to them, resolve this issue. We exhausted all the local remedies within the Diageo frame network.

“But because of what we call this conspiracy of silence, they buried all the complaints and that is why we are in Court. We are before Hon. Justice Ogbuanya and I am sure that the Court will do justice to it.

“I wouldn’t want to go into the merit of the matter, but I am sure that the Court will do justice. We are just here because of the conspiracy of silence and nothing more.

“Our client’s appointment was unlawfully terminated and that is what we want the Court to determine. If the Court finds merit in our case, we will be happy. For us, our client was witch-hunted.

“Our client’s services were not determined by the laid down procedure of Diageo itself. So all that we brought to the Court. We have pieces of evidence before the Court. I am double sure that the Court will do justice in our case.”