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SAN reacts as court rules Exxon Mobil can be sued in Nigeria

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A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Emeka Ozoani, has lauded a court ruling which upheld the joining of Exxon Mobil Corporation in a suit challenging alleged unlawful retirement of Paul Arinze, an executive of Mobil Producing Nigeria.

Ozoani, Arinze’s counsel, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday that the development confirms that Exxon Mobil could be sued in Nigeria.

The SAN said the decision would ensure that employees do not suffer injustice on technical grounds.

It was delivered on September 29 by Justice O. A. Obaseki-Osaghae of the National Industrial Court in Lagos.

The judge, in an 11-page ruling on an application by Exxon Mobil counsel, Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), held that the corporation was a necessary party to the suit and had been properly joined by the claimant, Arinze.

Obaseki-Osaghae dismissed an application by the corporation’s counsel seeking to strike out its name from the suit.

“It is clear from the claims and the pleadings that the case against the second defendant falls within the jurisdiction of this court, and there is no condition precedent preventing the claimant access to the court in respect of his alleged forceful termination of employment.



”I hold that the second defendant is a necessary party and has been properly joined; this court is not deprived of jurisdiction to hear and determine the complaint against the second defendant,” the judge ruled.

Obaseki-Osaghae ordered that the case should proceed to substantive hearing, and awarded a cost of N30,000 in favour of Arinze.

Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and Exxon Mobil Corporation as the first and second defendants, respectively.

Ozoani argued that Exxon Mobil was not a stranger to the employment of his client and that the claimant could sue it for any liability arising from any default or wrong done to him in the course of his employment.

The SAN said it is misleading for Exxon Mobil to state that Arinze’s reliefs were against MPN only.

He added that the second defendant’s presence was required for the just determination of the issues as presented in the suit.

Hearing in the case was adjourned until November 9, 2020.

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