IN THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA
IN THE MINNA JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT MINNA
BEFORE HIS LORDSHIP HONOURABLE JUSTICE K.D. DAMULAK
DATED THIS 28TH DAY OF JUNE 2019
SUIT NO. NICN/MN/04/2019
OJEPA JIBRIL ABDUL ………… CLAIMANT/RESPONDENT
1.XL HUMAN RESOURCES OUTSOURCING
LIMITED …………. …DEFENDANT/RESPONDENT
2.HERITAGE BANK LIMITED …………. DEFENDANT /APPLICANT
This ruling is predicated upon a motion on notice filed by the 2nd defendant on 10/6/2019 seeking for an order of court striking out the name of the 2nd defendant in this suit for non disclosure of reasonable cause of action.
2. STATEMENT OF RELEVANT FACTS
The claimant took out a complaint against the defendants in this suit on 1/4/2019. Upon service, the 2nd defendant filed a memorandum of appearance, a statement of defence and this preliminary objection on the ground that the claimant is an employee of the 1st defendant, he has no contractual relationship with the 2nd defendant, that there is no any specific claim or fact of liability against the 2nd defendant and this suit can be settled without the joinder of the 2nd defendant.
3. CASE OF THE APPLICANT
The applicant deposed to a 15 paragraphs affidavit on the facts contained in the grounds of the application. That the claimant was an outsourced staff from the 1st defendant by the 2nd defendant to work for 2nd defendant. The 2nd defendant only had a relationship with the 1st defendant. All payments in respect of all outsourced staff were made directly to the 1st defendant. That the claimant is not an employee of the 2nddefendant. The 2nd defendant is not indebted in any sum, either salary or pension remittance to the claimant or to the 1st defendant in any way. The bank did not have any contractual relationship with the claimant.
Applicant counsel made his submissions in line with all the depositions and submitted that the claimant has not disclosed any reasonable cause of action against the 2nd defendant/applicant. That the claim of the claimant can be properly disposed of without the presence of the 2nd defendant who is not a necessary party.
4. CASE OF THE RESPONDENT
In his counter affidavit, the claimant deposed that the claimant is an employee of the 1st defendant. That he reports and worked directly under the supervision and instruction of the 2nd defendant. That up to now, 1st defendant has not given him letter of posting or transfer from 2nd defendant. That the 2nd defendant is the link between the claimant and the 1st defendant.That the 2nd defendant is a necessary party to explain to the court the source of its information from the 1st defendant to stop the claimant from coming to work.
Learned claimant/respondent counsel made submissions in line with the affidavit and concluded by urging the court to hold that the act of the 2nd defendant without any document from 1st defendant calls for explanation from the 2nd defendant. That the court should hold that the 2nd defendant is a necessary party and this suit cannot be effectively determined without the 2nd defendant.
5. COURT’S DECISION
In determining whether or not there is a reasonable cause of action against the 2nd defendant and if the 2nd defendant is a necessary party in this case, a brief summary of the statement of facts is necessary here.
In his 22 paragraph statement of facts, the 2nd defendant is mentioned in paragraphs 3 as a limited liability company, in paragraph 8 as having merged with enterprise Bank, in paragraph 9 as informing the claimant of the receipt of an email from 1st defendant that his services were no longer needed with the bank, in paragraph 10 that claimant requested his termination from 1st defendant through 2nd defendant.
In paragraph 6, the claimant said that the 1st defendant offered him employment on 30/3/2013, in paragraph 8, the 1st defendant issued him a letter of secondment/transfer in August 2015. Paragraphs 12 and 14, some pension contributions were not remitted by the 1st defendant. Paragraph 17, 1st defendant paid/remitted 9 month’s pension contribution to the claimant upon receipt of claimant’s solicitor’s letter. Paragraph 20, Sunti Sugar Company refused to employ him because he was not given disengagement letter by the 1st defendant. Paragraph 21, claimant did not subscribe for National Housing Fund but 1st defendant illegally deducted N706.23 from his monthly salary for ten years totaling N84,807.60.
The claimant’s prayers in paragraph 22, apart from the opening statement that he claims jointly and severally against the defendants, reliefs A, B, C and D are specifically claimed against the 1st defendant. Reliefs E, F and G are for general damages, post judgment interest and cost of litigation.
The submission of the claimant/respondents counsel that the act of 2nddefendant, that is the information that the 1st defendant said his services were no longer required, without any document from 1st defendant, calls for explanation from the 2nd defendant and that the 2nd defendant is a necessary party and this suit cannot be effectively determined without the 2nd defendant is not supported by the statement of facts before the court.
There is no allegation in the claim to suggest that the information received from the 2nd defendant was false. The claimant had access to his employer after the event, demanded for and was refunded part of his pension deductions. Nothing is disclosed in the statement of facts to suggest that the information from the 2nd defendant was denied by the 1st defendant. The defendant has not filed a statement of defence denying giving the said information to the 2nd defendant. The scenario calling for explanation was only conjured by claimant and his counsel in the counter affidavit and written address, it cannot and does not hold water.
Whether or not there is a reasonable cause of action or whether a defendant is a necessary party in a suit is to be disclosed by claimant’s statement of facts not from his counter affidavit and written address on such a contention by the defendant.
Furthermore, there is no relief claimed against the 2nd defendant for any offence of false information leading to loss of job or for any wrong whatsoever.
I find and hold that by the pleadings of the claimant, no reasonable cause of action has been disclosed against the 2nd defendant and the complaints and claims of the claimant against the 1st defendant in this case can be properly determined and disposed of without the presence of the 2nd defendant and so the 2nd defendant is not a necessary party in this suit. The name of the 2nd defendant is hereby struck out from this suit.
I make no order as to cost.
This is the ruling of the Court and it is entered accordingly.
HONOURABLE JUSTICE K.D.DAMULAK
JUDGE, NICN, MINNA