Staff drags Exxon Mobil to court, unveils plot to sack Nigerians

A top staff of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Paul Arinze, on Monday, asked a National Industrial Court in Lagos, to suspend a “Special Review Audit” that is probing the affairs of the Public and Government Affairs Department (P&GA) of the company.

Arinze, General Manager, (GM) of the P & GA Department of Mobil, also known as Exxon Mobil, averred that the “Special Review” was being used to “flush” out Nigerians from positions in the company, and have them replaced by foreigners.

In his suit marked NICN/LA/659/2018, the claimant challenged the said audit and called for a review by an independent auditor.

The official is also seeking among other declaratory reliefs, that the mode of operation of the existing Audit Team is in breach of the rules of natural Justice and an infringement on his fundamental rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.

Arinze urged the court to give an order to suspend the defendant’s Special Review process, pending conclusion of the routine audit.

The case which was billed for mention on Monday, could not proceed as the judge, Justice A. N. Ubaka did not sit.

The matter was consequently, adjourned until March 4, for mention.

In his statement of material facts, claimant avers that he filed the suit, following the irreparable harm he continues to suffer in the course of his employment, as a result of what he calls “gross violations” of the rules of natural justice by the defendant, in the internal audit of his department.

He said that by a letter dated April 20, 2018, signed by the defendant’s then Area Audit Manager, and which was copied to its Managing Director, (MD), the defendant instituted an internal audit of its Public and Government Affairs Department, headed by him.

He said that his unit duly participated in the audit with the belief that the audit team would operate within defined scope, and comply with international applicable standards of best practices, Labour Laws, as well as the Constitution of Nigeria.

Arinze further averred that when it became apparent that no significant infraction had been uncovered by audit to entrap him, the defendant set up the “Special Review”, which he said was a “grossly irregular and hostile parallel investigation”.

He said that the rationale for this Special Review, was not communicated to his department, and its scope was inherently unlawful, having been made to cover ten years while an ongoing audit covered only three years.

He, therefore, seeks an order, that the existing Audit Team set up to probe the affairs of his department, be recomposed and replaced with impartial and unbiased auditors who have no conflict of interest.

The official also wants an order for the report of the recomposed Audit Team to be reviewed by an external and independent assessor.

Specifically, the claimant is asking for the payment of aggravated damages by the defendant at a quantum to be determined by the court, for the stress and trauma caused him by its discrimination.