Over the years, laws have generally evolved ways and grounds of compensating
employees for job-related disabilities and risks, because, in man’s search for food
and other necessaries in life, he is constantly exposed to hazards. What provoked
this research was the need for an appraisal of the employees’ compensation under
Nigerian law. Employees’ Compensation Act 2010 is the present Act governing
compensation for job-related risks in Nigeria. This research adopted a doctrinal
method and empirical method. The empirical method adopted is the interview
method conducted at the headquarters of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust
Management Board. The doctrinal method explored relevant Acts, case laws,
textbooks, journals, literature etc for a good understanding of the provisions of the
Employees’ Compensation Act, 2010.There is an attempt by the Act to simplify the
procedure and requirements for claim of compensation but some inherent problems
exist;. Findings in the research revealed that the Board has not made the Rules
which the Act empowers it to make in respect of some cases of compensation whose
scales are not contained in the Act. Also, the research also revealed some likely
enforcement problems within the informal sector. Findings revealed that job-related
‘mental stress’ has for the first time been introduced as a ground for compensation
of employees in Nigeria but there are still some inadequacies in the provisions; for
example, ‘mental stress’ is not compensable if it results from an injury for which the
affected employee is otherwise entitled to compensation. Findings among others
also reveal that there exist too much discretionary powers bestowed on the Board
(Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund Management Board) the body that the Act
empowers to manage the Fund established in the Act. Health care benefits are
discretionary and are only mandatory in cases of occupational diseases. There
should be compensation for ‘mental stress’, irrespective of whether or not it results
from an injury for which the affected employee is entitled to compensation. Payment
for health care services and disability supports should be made a right in all
established cases. The Board should hasten up to make the required Rules which
shall provide the scales of compensation not captured in the Act or the Act be
amended to capture all the scales of compensation in its provisions. The Board
should partner with all village and district heads in enforcing the scheme at the
informal sector.

Cover Page – – – – – – – – – i
Title Page – – – – – – – – – ii
Declaration – – – – – – – – – iii
Certification – – – – – – – – – iv
Dedication – – – – – – – – – v
Acknowledgement – – – – – – – – vi
Table of Statutes – – – – – – – – viii
Table of Abbreviations – – – – – – – ix
Table of Cases – – – – – – – – x
Abstract – – – – – – – – – xi
Table of Contents – – – – – – – – xii
Chapter One
General Introduction
1.1 Background to the Study – – – – – – 1
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem- – – – – 5
1.3 Research Questions- – – – – – – 6
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Research – – – – 6
1.5 Justification of the Research – – – – – 7
1.6 Scope of the Research – – – – – – 8
1.7 Research Methodology – – – – – – 8
1.8 Literature Review – – – – – – – 9
1.9 Organisational Structure of the Research – – – 18
Chapter Two
Conceptual Clarifications, the History, Nature and Scope of Employees’
Compensation in Nigeria
2.1 Introduction – – – – – – – – 18
2.2 Overview of the Evolution of Employees’ Compensation – 18
2.3 The Meaning of Employees’ Compensation under the Act – 27
2.4 The Scope and Application of the Employees’ Compensation Scheme in
Chapter Three
The Legal Framework of Employees’ Compensation in Nigeria
3.1 Introduction – – – – – – – – 52
3.2 Grounds of Compensation – – – – – – 52
3.2.1 Mental Stress – – – – – – – – 53
3.2.2 Injury – – – – – – – – – 56
3.2.3 Hearing Impairment – – – – – – 64
3.2.4 Occupational Disease – – – – – – 67
3.2.5 Death – – – – – – – – – 69
3.3 Scales for Compensation – – – – – – 71
3.3.1 Scale of Compensation for Temporary Partial Disability – 72
3.3.2 Scale of Compensation for Temporary Total Disability – – 74
3.3.3 Scale of Compensation for Permanent Partial Disability or
Disfigurement – – – – – – – 77
3.3.4 Scale of Compensation for Permanent Total Disability – – 81
3.3.5 Scale of Compensation in Fatal Cases – – – – 84
3.3.6 Scale of Compensation Relating to Enemy Warlike Actions 95
3.4 Vocational Rehabilitation – – – – – – 96
3.5 Procedures for Claim of Compensation – – – – 99
3.5.1 Employee’s Notification of Injury – – – – – 100
3.5.2 Application for Compensation – – – – – 102
3.5.3 Limitation of Action, Subrogation and Indemnity – – 106
3.5.4 Right of Appeal – – – – – – – 108
Chapter Four
Challenges of Employees’ Compensation in Nigeria
5.1 Introduction – – – – – – – – 112
5.2 Data Presentation – – – – – – – 112
5.3 Data Analysis – – – – – – – – 114
5.3.1 Challenges of Awareness — – – – – – 115
5.3.2 Challenges of Implementation – – – – – 116
Chapter five
Conclusion and Recommendations
6.1 Summary – – – – – – – – 122
6.2 Findings – – – – – – – – 127
6.3 Recommendations – – – – – – – 132
6.4 Concluding Remarks – – – – – – 135
Bibliography – – – – – – – – 137
1.1 Background of the Study
This chapter explains the background structure of the research. It lays
out the statement of the research problem, the objectives, the scope,
the research methodology, literature review and the organisational
structure amongst other things.
In man’s search for food and other necessaries in life, he is constantly
exposed to hazards.1 A person who is constantly searching for means of
livelihood, may lose life, limb, eye, ear, teeth etc and others may
become totally disabled. Teachers, medical doctors, lawyers, pilots,
menial workers etc face job-related risks daily.2 A worker’s ability to
work is his security, but when confronted with injuries or death, it
affects his ability to earn a living and to provide for his dependants. The
employer would always want to be exonerated from liability for jobrelated
risks and the laws over the years have evolved ways of
compensating injured employees or their dependants in situations
1 Yusuf, I.A. “The Perils of Nigerian Workers” – http// March 21, 2012 –
2 See Trim Joint District School Board of Management v. Kelly (1914) AC 667 where a school teacher was
attacked to death by some of his school boys, UAC v. Orekyan (1961) L.L.R 144 where an employee of a
shop lost an eye as a result of an attack by a customer, Metal Containers (W.A) Ltd v. Momodu Iyomifokhia
(1959) L.L.R 130, where an employee lost his teeth as a result of accident in his place of work, Thompson v.
Sinclair (1917) A.C. 127 where a woman was injured by the collapse of a wall out of and in the course of her
employment etc.
involving death, injuries and disabilities.3 There is need to hold someone
accountable to provide compensation to employees out of or in the
course of employment and that is why the present Compensation Act4 is
Man should not fold his arms and stay indoors for fear of street risks or
outdoor hazards. It is riskier not to take the risk of going out in search
of the basic needs of life. This is because, failing to take the risk of
going out in search of necessaries, he opts for the risks of poverty,
hunger, starvation, sleeping in the open field, in the rain and in the sun.
The Employees’ Compensation Act5 is aimed at inducing and compelling
employers to think more in terms of human value so as to provide
compensation on humanitarian ground.6
The 2010 Act establishes contributory Pension Fund called “the Fund”
into which shall be credited all monies, funds or contributions by
employers for adequate compensation to employees or their dependants
for any death, injury, disability or disease arising out of or in the course
of employment. The Fund established is managed by the Nigeria Social
Insurance Trust Fund Management Board called ‘the Board’. The Fund
3 Guyton, G.P., “A Brief History of Workers’ Compensation,” The IOWA Orthopaedic Journal (1999) Vol.
19, P. 106
4 No. 13, 2010
5 Ibid
6 Guyton G.P, op cit
here consists of take-off grant from the Federal Government,
contributions by employers pursuant to the Act, fees and assessments
charged on employers, the proceeds of investments of the funds, gifts or
grants from any national or international organisations, and other
monies that may accrue to the Fund from any other source.7 Employees
are prohibited from contributing to the Fund as the Act imposes sanction
against employers who attempt to deduct assessments that are payable
to the Fund from the remuneration of employees.8
The Act prohibits waiver of the benefits or rights of employees or
dependants to compensation through any agreement made between the
employer and employee. Agreements that are made with the aim to
waive the employees’ right to compensation are rendered void and
The Employees’ Compensation scheme now recognises new categories
of workplace injuries such as mental stress resulting from exceptional
circumstances in the course of employment.9 This is only if the mental
stress is an acute reaction to a sudden and unexpected traumatic event
arising out of or in the course of the employees’ employment or
diagnosed by an accredited medical practitioner as a mental or physical
7 Sections 31 & 33 ibid
8 Section 14 ibid
9 Section 8 ibid
condition amounting to mental stress arising out of the nature of work
or the occurrence of any event in the course of the employees’
employment.10 Where the mental stress is caused as a result of the
decision of the employer to change the work, the working condition of
work organisation in such a way as to unfairly exceed the work ability
and capacity of the employee thereby leading to mental stress, such
situation shall be liable to compensation to the degree as may be
determined under any regulation made by the Board. 11
Payment of compensation under the Act does not affect the employees’
retirement benefits payable under the Pension Reform Act.12 The
scheme has the effect of easing the burden on employers who will not
be required to contribute further to the welfare of an injured employee
in the event of an accident or injury, no matter the amount of liability
As a general rule, an employee or his dependant is entitled to apply to
the Board for compensation within one year after the date of the death
or injury or disease or disability arising from any accident or
occupational disease. Where special circumstances exist, an application
for compensation may be made within three years of the occurrence of
10 Ibid
11 Ibid
12 No. 2, 2005
the accident or injury, or injury, or disease for which a claim is being
made.13 Anybody that is dissatisfied with the decision of the Board on
compensation may appeal to the Board for a review of such decision and
it is only upon further dissatisfaction with the review that one can
approach the National Industrial Court.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
The realization of the policy objectives of Employees’ Compensation Act
in Nigeria will be difficult if not impossible without a comprehensive
literature on the provisions of the Act, hence the need to find out the
new innovations introduced by the present Act. Available scattered
literature on employees’ compensation in Nigeria, have not in a holistic
and comprehensive way discussed the provisions of the Act. Employers,
employees and the insurer (the Board) who are all stakeholders in the
scheme will grapple with the provisions of the Act relating to their rights,
duties and obligations, if no comprehensive research on the Act exists.
Awareness is key to the success or otherwise of any new policy. Where
there is laxity in getting people to know so much about any new policy,
it is time to worry. This research finds out the level of awareness of the
present employees’ compensation scheme in Nigeria as it relates to the
mode of awareness campaign and the strategies adopted by the Board.
13 Section 6 of Employees’ Compensation Act op cit
The available scattered few commentaries on employees compensation
Act in Nigeria merely extol new policy on employees’ compensation but
this research seeks to find out to what extent the law has been
implemented in relation to the benefits it confers.
1.3. Research Questions
In order to achieve the aim and objectives of this research, the following
research questions are framed.
1. What are the new innovations introduced by the present
employees’ compensation under Nigerian law?
2. To what extend are people aware of the present employees’
compensation under Nigerian law?
3. Are there lacunae or inadequacies in the present Employees’
Compensation Act in Nigeria?
4. What are the challenges of implementation inherent in the
present employees’ compensation under Nigerian law?
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Research
1.4.1 Aim of the Research
The aim of this research is to carry out a comprehensive and holistic
appraisal of employees’ compensation under Nigerian law.
1.4.2 Objectives of the Research.
7 Carry Out a Comprehensive and a Holistic Appraisal of the
Employees’ Compensation Act14
One of the fundamental objectives of this research was to carry out a
careful, comprehensive and holistic appraisal of this Act 15which repeals
the Workmen’s Compensation Act16 with the view to unveiling the
innovations introduced by the new scheme. Discover and Discuss Certain Lacunae or Inadequacies in
the New Act (Employees’ Compensation Act) With a View to
Proffer Solutions.
The research seeks to discover and discuss certain lacunae or
inadequacies and challenges which may be inherent in the provisions of
the new Act and its implementation with the view to proffering solutions
to the problems. Ascertain the Level of Awareness Strategies Adopted by the
It is one of the objectives of this research to ascertain the level of
awareness strategies adopted by the Board to get employers and
employees know about the existence of the compensation scheme so as
to proffer solutions if any problems exist.
14 ibid
15 Ibid
16 Op cit
1.5 Justification of the Research
The research is very important because it addresses certain important
issues. It envisages better undev{tanding of the law on compensation
for injuries and death under the Employees’ Compensation Act 2010. It
also discusses certain inadequacies in the law which writers have not
addressed, with the view to proffering solutions to the problems.
Therefore, law teachers, law students, Nigerian employees, judges,
scholars and the general public will benefit immensely from the fruits of
this research.
1.6 Scope of the Research
The scope of the research is only the Employees’ Compensation Act17 in
Nigeria. References are however made to some jurisdictions outside
Nigeria in order trace the history of compensation for job-related risks
and disabilities.
1.7 Research Methodology
The research methodology used is doctrinal and empirical. Doctrinal
method of research means the type of research that theorizes with the
aid of books, statutes and cases and thereafter makes findings and
17 Ibid
recommendations.18 This is based on relevant statutes, case laws,
textbooks, newspapers, internet sources etc for good understanding of
the scheme being appraised. Empirical method of this research on the
other hand, involves the collection of facts and data through
interviews19. The research uses interview for the purpose of extracting
certain information about the present employees’ compensation scheme
in Nigeria from the Board
1.8 Literature Review
In understanding the research on this topic, review of books, articles
and other materials are resorted to, with the aim of enriching the work.
There are many textbooks written on Workmen’s Compensation Act20
but not on the Nigerian Employees’ Compensation Act21 to the best of
the researcher’s knowledge. This is because the latter Act was passed in
November, 2010. However, the contributions made by such literature
are relevant to this area of research. To the best of the researcher’s
knowledge, only Agomo in her book “Nigerian Employment and Labour
Relations Law and Practice”22 has made an attempt to discuss some
18 Aboki, Y. Introduction to Legal Research Methodology, 2nd Edition,Tamaza Publishing Co. Ltd,
19 Ibid
20 Ibid
21 Op. cit
22 Agomo CK Nigerian Employment and Labour Relations law and Practice ,Concept publications Limited,
Lagos (2012)
aspects of the present employees’ compensation under Nigerian law.
The author amonw(􀀀ther things discussed the objectives of the present
Employees’ Compensation Act in Nigeria, the Scope and Application of
the Act, Right of Appeal and the National industrial Court. However, the
work did not address the issues of challenges faced by the present
employees’ compensation scheme in Nigeria. Also, some lacunae in the
present Employees’ Compensation Act in Nigeria were not discussed in
her work. These aspects lacking in her work are part of what this
research addresses. They serve to throw light on the concept of
employees’ compensation and the shortcomings of the repealed Act.
A notable Nigerian author, Akintunde, in his book Nigerian Labour Law,
said: “Compensation within the context of Labour Law is a monetary
payment for a worker’s injury as agreed between employer and worker
and/or as approved by the court.23” Under the present law, this
definition of compensation will no longer be tenable, because,
compensation is now not only monetary but may involve rehabilitation
and counselling which this work addresses in chapters two and three.
Also, compensation under the present Act is not “as agreed between
employer and worker” but it is statutorily spelt out and administered by
the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund Management Board which is
23 Akintunde, E. Nigerian Labour Law, Ibadan University Press, Ibadan (1979) p.108
also studied in this Thesis. One only goes to court by way of further
Another author, Ogunniyi also defined compensation as: “Monetary
payment made to on injured workman in respect of injury which he has
sustained in the course of the employment. Such compensation may be
as agreed by the employer and the workman or as may be approved by
the court.25” The definition given by this learned author is similar to the
one proffered by Emiola and agrees only partly with the present law.
Therefore, an understanding of the concept of employees’ compensation
under the present legal regime is imperative.
A Nigerian scholar, Uvieghara, in his book Labour Law in Nigeria26
explains the concept of compensation payable to employees under the
Workmen’s Compensation Act and not as it is under Employees’
Compensation Act, because the latter had not yet repealed the former at
the time. The concept of compensation in the author’s work reflects
principally, the position of the former law.
24 See sections 73, 32(d), and 55 of Employees’ Compensation Act op cit
25 Ogunniyi, O. Nigerian Labour Law and Employment Law in Perspective, op cit
26 Uvieghara, E.E. Labour Law in Nigeria, op cit
Samuel in his book Industrial Law27 discussed injuries at work and
especially, claims at common law. The author did not also include in his
work, mental stress introduced by the current law in Nigeria. This
research explores this area of the law.
Some attributes of the nature of Workers’ Compensation in Australia
were given by Sykes in his book The Employer, Employee and the Law28
and some of these attributes are shared by our present Nigerian
scheme. The author said:
… here the object is to insure the workman against
injuries, showing a certain connection with his
employment. The action is not one for unliquidated
damage in tort but consists of a claim for a certain
amount of weekly wage or for a fixed sum
determined by the statute. No negligence on the part
of the employer or any other person has to be
proved, nor the contributory negligence of the
workman operates as a bar or affects the matter in
any way, unless he has been guilty of wilful
misconduct. In most states, the “injury” or “personal
injury by accident (which may include results
attributable to disease or in some cases the
contracting of disease itself) in order to be
compensable may arise either “in the course of the
employment” or “out of the employment … It is also
usual to provide for the coverage of injury or
accident occurring on the journey to and from work
…. the employer is under an obligation to ensure
against the liability …
27 Samuel, H. Industrial Law 7th Edition, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons Ltd, London (1967) pp. 117 – 142
28 Sykes, E.I. The Employer, the Employee and the Law 3rd Edition, the Law Book Company Ltd, Sydney,
(1973) p.108
The above position though similar to the position in Nigeria,
was on Australian jurisdiction hence the need to carry out a
comprehensive appraisal of the Act governing the position
in Nigeria.
Murray while discussing workers’ compensation in the U.S also said
some things which may be similar to the Nigerian scheme as thus:
Workers’ compensation is insurance paid by
companies to provide benefits to m}ployees who
become ill or injured on the job. By this programme,
workers are provided with benefits and medical care
and employers have the assurance that they will not
be sued by the employee. The cost of workers’
compensation benefits is based on the gross payroll
and the number and severity of illness and injuries
that type of employee experiences … 29
Under the Nigerian law the body in charge of payment is Nigerian Social
Insurance Trust Fund Management Board under section 32 of the Act.30
Murray’s discourse was on the US jurisdiction while this research is on
the Act applicable in Nigeria.
Selwyn31 discussed health and safety at work, in his book. The author’s
work as regard injury to employees only covers health and safety at
work. This present research has a wider scope as it covers even injuries
outside the place of work provided it is job-related. For example injuries




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