IN THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA
IN THE KANO JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT KANO
Before His Lordship:-
HON. JUSTICE E.D. E ISELE - JUDGE
DATE: THURSDAY 27th FEBRUARY, 2020 -
ALHAJI ADEYEMI ILIASU OLALERE - CLAIMANT
1. OLAM NIGERIA LTD
2. CROWN FLOUR MILLS LTD - DEFENDANTS
REPRESENTATION: Claimant present, Defendant absent.
Z. Mayaki, Esq. for the Claimant.
Y. G Mukhtar, Esq. holding the brief of Obi-Okoye Esq.
1. The Claimant commenced this action by the processes filed on the 18th of February, 2019. Chief among the processes is the Originating summons which seeks for the grant of thirteen (13) reliefs, a Motion exparte for the grant of interim orders and a Motion on notice for the grant of interlocutory injunctions all against the first and second Defendants.
2. In the Originating summons, the Claimant prays for the determination of the following questions:
1. Whether by the combined interpretation of the letters of employment and transfer letter all dated 29th July, 1997; 16 January, 1998 and 8th August, 2016 and without any letter of termination of employment or otherwise, the Claimant having been employed by the 1st Defendant on 15th October, 1996 but confirmed by letter dated January 16, 1998 and the 1st Defendant transfer letter dated August 8, 2016 to another division, the 2nd Defendant can later assume, take over and become the Claimant’s employer and or discipline the Claimant vide letter/email dated 24th January, 2019 and 12th February, 2019.
2. Whether the 2nd Defendant can take over, direct, engage, transfer, or discipline the Plaintiff as its employee on the ground that it is ‘in accordance with his (Claimant’s) employment contract and as a result of the demands and exigencies of the business interest of the Olam Group: Olam Nigeria Limited and Crown Flour Mill Limited being member/affiliate companies” among other Defendant’s Solicitors letters?
3. Whether the 1st and 2nd Defendants with RC Nos: 140655 and 8575 respectively are one and the same company and the 1st Defendant can transfer the Claimant from its employment to the 2nd Defendant without obtaining the consent of the Claimant and the endorsement of the transfer by an authorised labour office?
4. Whether the 1st Defendant is right to stop payment of the Claimant salary, allowances or gratuities and denies the Claimant of the status of his employment with the 1st Defendant.
5. Whether as contained in the 2nd Defendant’s letter e-mail dated January 25, 2009 & 12th February, 2019 the 2nd Defendant is right to hold that the Claimant is in “abandonment of employment” terminate, or in any way discipline the Claimant or direct the Claimant “to return all the company properties” being 1st Defendant vehicle allocated to the Claimant for official duties, on account of the Claimant refusal to work with the 2nd Defendant but with the 1st Defendant’s only?
6. Whether the action of the Defendants’ in the circumstances by the 2nd Defendant’s act is justified in law?
And the Claimant claims for the following reliefs:
3. 1. Declaration that the Claimant is still in the employment of the 1st Defendant and is entitled to his salaries allowances and other emolument, his employment having not been terminated by the 1st Defendant to date.
2. Declaration that the 2nd Defendant:
a) Is not the employer of the Claimant.
b) Cannot terminate or hold that the Claimant is in abandonment of his duty or employment or in any way whatsoever discipline the Claimant, and;
c) Cannot direct the Claimant “to return all the company properties” – which properties are 1st Defendant’s properties such as Mitsubishi pick – up and I.D card allocated to the Claimant for official duties on account of the Claimant’s refusal to work with the 2nd Defendant.
3. Declaration that 1st and 2nd Defendants are distinct and separate legal entity and the 1st Defendant cannot transfer the Claimant’s employment to the 2nd Defendant without the written consent of the Claimant and the endorsement of the transfer by an authorised Labour Officer.
4. A Declaration that the 1st Defendant cannot stop payment of the Claimant salary, allowances or gratuities and deny the Claimant of the status of his employment with the 1st Defendant without cessation of the Claimant’s employment with the 1st Defendant.
5. A Declaration that the 2nd Defendant cannot hold that the Claimant is in “abandonment of employment”, terminate the Claimant’s employment, demand the “return of all the company’s properties”, or in any way discipline the Claimant or direct the Claimant on account of the Claimant’s refusal to work with the 2nd Defendant but with the 1st Defendant only?
6. An Order nullifying, setting aside and dismissing the action of transfer of the Claimant’s employment from the 1st Defendant to the 2nd Defendant.
7. An Order directing the 1st Defendant to pay all other outstanding salaries, entitlements and allowances of the Claimant without ceasing and restoring the Claimant’s employment status, rights and privileges including:
a) ₦432,000.00 (Four Hundred and Thirty Two Thousand naira only) (per annum) being the sum accrued as outstanding leave allowances for the year 2018.
b) ₦432,000.00 (Four Hundred and Thirty Two Thousand naira only) per annum as leave allowance for any subsequent years after 2018 and till date of judgment and or cessation of the contract of employment between the Claimant and the 1st Defendant.
c) ₦351,873.33 (Three Hundred and Fifty One Thousand, Eight Hundred And Seventy Three Naira, Thirty Three Kobo only) per month as outstanding salary from January 2019 to the date of judgment and subsequent dates of cessation of employment.
IN THE ALTERNATIVE TO CLAIM 7;
i. Outstanding gross gratuity of the Claimant including the sum of ₦26,314,960 (Twenty Six Million, Three Hundred and Fourteen Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty naira only) as at 14th August, 2016 and further appropriately assessed outstanding gratuity sum from the said 14th August, 2016 to the date of judgment and or appropriate cessation date of the Claimant’s employment with the 1st Defendant.
ii. ₦351,873.33 (Three Hundred and Fifty One Thousand, Eight Hundred and Seventy Three naira, Thirty Three kobo only) per month as outstanding salary from January 2019 to the date of judgment and subsequent dates of cessation of employment with the 1st Defendant.
8. ₦5,000,000.00 (Five Million naira only) Claimant’s legal cost and or Solicitors’ fees for prosecuting this action.
9. ₦20,000,000.00 (Twenty Million naira only) exemplary damages against the Defendants for the wrongful, unlawful, illegal, flagarant breach and null and wilful disobedience to the rule of law and the Labour Act CAP LFN 2004.
10. ₦50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million naira only) General damages for the unlawful transfer of Plaintiff’s employment and psychological trauma, harassment and disparaging of the Claimant by the Defendants.
11. 10% Court interest on the Judgment sum till date of liquidation.
i. Restraining the Defendants from interchanging the Claimant between themselves without due process.
ii. Restraining the Defendants from compelling the Claimant to work for the 2nd Defendant without due process, and;
iii. Restraining the Defendants from claiming, demanding from or compelling the Claimant to deliver 1st Defendant’s property with the Claimant to the 2nd Defendant without the termination of the Claimant’s employment with the 1st Defendant.
13. Cost of the action.
5. On the 12th of March, 2019, this Court made an Order directing the parties to maintain the status quo till the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice. This was after Counsel for the Claimant had been heard on the Motion Exparte filed on the 18th day of February, 2019.
6. On the 22nd of May, 2019, the Court heard both Counsel on the Motion on Notice filed on the same 13th March, 2019 seeking the following reliefs:
1. Interlocutory injunction restraining the Defendant either by it, its agents, privies, servants or any other persons or authority whosoever from claiming, seizing from, demanding from, compelling and or directing the Claimant to deliver 1st Defendant’s company’s properties with the Claimant to be delivered to the 2nd Defendant during the subsistence (of) the Claimant’s employment with the 1st Defendant or any other lawful authority and pending the hearing and final determination of the substantive suit.
2. Maintenance of the status quo by all parties in this suit from taking any further step(s) pending the final determination of the substantive suit in this matter.
The grounds for bringing the application are:
a) The 1st and 2nd Defendant are separate legal entities.
b) The Claimant is an employee of the 1st Defendant by a letter dated July 29, 1997 and his employment was confirmed by another letter dated 16th January, 1998.
c) The Claimant is being compelled by the 1st Defendant to work in the 2nd Defendant’s company without following due process.
d) The Claimant promptly complained and drew the attention of the Branch Manager of the 1st Defendant but to no avail.
e) The 2nd Defendant is consistently demanding from the Claimant the release of the properties in his possession which are owned by the 1st Defendant.
f) Unless the Defendants are restrained. The Claimant will be in a state of helplessness.
7. The Motion was supported by an affidavit of 19 paragraphs and several Exhibits and a written address. The Defendants in response filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection on the 12th of March, 2019 seeking the following orders:
1. An Order of the Honourable Court striking out the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
An Order directing the transfer of this suit to the Lagos Division of the National Industrial Court.
The grounds upon which the application was brought are:
1. The position of the law is that actions of this nature should be instituted at the judicial division where the Defendant resides or carries on business.
2. The Defendant has its Head Office and principal place of business at Plot 5/6 Abebe Village, opposite First Bank Regional Office Iganmu, Lagos State.
3. The 2nd Defendant has its Head Office and principal place of business behind Berth No. 1 Tin can Island Apapa, Lagos State.
4. All operations, activities and decision making as well as legal and administrative authorisations of the 1st and 2nd Defendants are controlled from Lagos. Furthermore, all control, decisions and directions relating to the Claimant’s employment emanated from the Lagos office of the Defendants.
5. This Honourable Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain this suit and ought to strike out this suit or direct the transfer of same to the Lagos Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court.
The Preliminary Objection was supported by the Affidavit of Moshood Quadri the General Manager and Head Human Resources and Industrial Relations of the 2nd Defendant and was attached with Exhibits and accompanied with a written address.
8. Also separately filed is a 44 paragraph Counter affidavit in opposition to the Claimant’s Motion for Interlocutory injunction together with a written address.
8.1. On the same 22nd May, 2019, the Court also heard the Defendants/Applicants move the Motion for extension of time filed on the 9th of April, 2019 pursuant to Order 57 Rule 14 (1) and Order 52 Rule 2 of the National Industrial Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2017. The Motion was supported with an affidavit and a written address. The Claimant as Respondent filed a Reply on points of law on the 16th of April, 2019. Both parties adopted their addresses and the Court reserved its Ruling after receiving arguments in all other pending applications whether of a substantive or interlocutory nature.
8.2. The Court also heard on the same date the substantive suit which is the Originating summons through which the action was commenced in which the Claimant seeks 13 reliefs to which the Defendant filed a Counter affidavit of 62 paragraphs and a written address.
9. I shall now proceed to consider and determine the various applications and processes as they were moved before me.
9.1. THE PRELIMINARY OBJECTION
Having earlier set out in the main, reliefs sought by the Defendants in the Preliminary Objection. The Claimant in response filed a Counter affidavit of 19th March, 2019 together with a written address. Having gone through the affidavit in support it is clear that the grounds for which the Notice of Preliminary Objection was filed are the same as in the affidavits in support of the Notice of Preliminary Objection. The Claimant in his Counter affidavit averred in response that the averments in the Defendants’ affidavit in support of the Preliminary Objection were misleading. That he knows for a fact that the 1st Defendant had its Head Office at Plot 5/6 Abebe Village, opposite First Bank Regional office Iganmu, Lagos State and has several branches scattered across the Country which includes but not limited to Taraba, Kano, Borno, Nasarawa, Oyo state. That the 2nd Defendant/Applicant can be reached at 16 (a) Club road, Kano. The Claimant also averred that the 2nd Defendant had its Head Office at Tin can Island port, Gate No. 2 behind Berth No. 1, Apapa Lagos State with several branches across the Country including Kano, with its address at No. 98 Tafawa Balewa road Kano which office is in active operation.
That the 1st Defendant/Applicant was served with the Originating process for this suit at its Head Office in Lagos, while the 2nd Defendant/Applicant was served at its Kano address. He averred that he was in the employment of the 1st Defendant/Applicant in its Kano Office when he received the letter of transfer, the basis, dated 8th August, 2016 which was addressed to him in Kano which he annexed as NJC 1. He also identified the letter annexed as NJC 2 written by the 1st Defendant to him on the 16th of August, 2016 on his redeployment to AFP Division of Crown Flour Mills.
9.2. In the written address in support of the preliminary Objection the Objectors formulated a sole issue for determination as follows
“Whether having regards to the facts and circumstances surrounding the instant suit, this suit ought to be struck out for lack of jurisdiction or transferred to the Lagos Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria”
It was argued on the jurisdiction of the Court for the Objectors that the importance of jurisdiction to adjudicate on any matter by a Court cannot be overemphasised. Jurisdiction being a serious matter when raised in any Court because it is tantamount to competence and competence encompasses the composition of the Court, the territorial jurisdiction of the Court and substantial jurisdiction of the Court. It being the basis on which any Court tries a case because it is the authority that a Court has to decide a matter before it. That a Court Order or decision reached without jurisdiction amounts to a nullity citing ECOBANK (NIG) LTD V. ANCHORAGE LEISURE LTD & ORS (2016) LPELR – 40220 (CA).
The Objectors noted that this is an inter – state jurisdictional issue which is non – negotiable, that the Claimant ought not to have commenced this action in Kano State, that this act cannot confer jurisdiction on the Court referring to Order 2 Rule 1 (1) of the National Industrial Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017 which provides that :
“Subject to the provisions of the Act on transfer of suits, the Originating process in respect of a matter in which the Court has jurisdiction shall be filed in any Registry of the Court nearest to where the Defendant or Respondent resides or has presence or in which the Defendant or Respondent carries on business”
9.3. In the written address in opposition to the Notice of Preliminary Objection the Claimant/Respondent formulated this sole issue:
“Whether this Honourable Court is seized with the territorial jurisdiction to determine this suit”
In the arguments, the Respondent placed reliance on the same Order 2 Rule 1 (1) of the National Industrial Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017 as did the Objectors, only this time with an opposite interpretation of the provision of the said Rules. The Respondent argued that what is clear that determines territorial jurisdiction are “where the Defendant or Respondent resides or has presence or in which the Defendants or Respondent carries on business. That the use of the word “OR” shows that the determinants are disjunctive citing Section 18 (1) of the Interpretation Act CAP 123 LFN 2004 and the case of FRN V. IBORI (20140 13 NWLR (PT. 1423) 168 at 209. That this means that the Claimant can choose to sue the Defendant where he resides, has presence, or carries on business.
9.4. In determining this Notice of Preliminary Objection whether it succeeds or not it is necessary to state categorically that it is not in doubt that by the Exhibit annexed by the 1st Defendant/Objector that the Claimant/Respondent’s appointment was confirmed in Exhibit MQ1 issued from the 1st Defendant’s Headquarters in Lagos. In other words, it is not in doubt that the 1st Defendant has its Head Office in Lagos. In the same virtue is an undeniable fact that the 1st Defendant has offices in Kano and elsewhere. I hold that the fact that the action is instituted in Kano and not Lagos by Order 2 Rule 1 (1) of the National Industrial Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017 relied on by both parties does not take away the Court’s territorial jurisdiction because it is factually clear that both parties maintain a presence in Kano. By the provision of Section 21 (1) of the National Industrial Court Act, 2006, it is provided that the Court shall have and exercise jurisdiction throughout the Federation, so as a matter of fact, and by the provision of the law, I hold that this Court sitting here in Kano has jurisdiction to hear the matter here in Kano. The only reason the case can be transferred is the President of the Court directing it to be heard elsewhere which is not the case here.
More so, in matters of this nature, the law of forum convenience comes into play. That is the party commencing the action has not found Kano to be an inconvenient forum to bring this action against the Defendants/Objectors who have a presence in Kano. See EMELUWA V. ONUIGWE & ORS (2011) LPELR 4029 (CA) PAGE 35 paras A – D. I hold further, that if the Court were to follow the reasoning of the Applicants/Objectors companies such as Banks/Government Agencies and others would only be sued in Lagos or in Abuja where they have their Headquarters located. Certainly this is not the way the law on the place on institution of legal action was intended to work.
On these bases, the first prayer/reliefs sought in the Notice of Preliminary Objection to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction is refused as I hold that the Court’s territorial or other jurisdiction is not ousted by the suit having been filed in Kano.
As regards the alternate prayer that this Court transfers the matter to Lagos, I would state straight away that having held in accordance with the reasons given above, that the Court has jurisdiction it would not be appropriate to then transfer the matter to Lagos as there is not directive on this point from the Head of this Court. So the alternate prayer I hold fails and consequently, the Notice of Preliminary Objection is hereby struck out.
10. THE APPLICATION FOR EXTENTION OF TIME FILED ON 9TH APRIL, 2019
In the application brought pursuant to Order 57 Rule 4 (1) and 4 of the National Industrial Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2017, the Defendants/Applicants seek the following reliefs:
1. An Order extending time within which the 1st and 2nd Defendants may file their further affidavit and reply on points of law dated 09/04/19 in response to the Claimant’s further and better affidavit and written address on points of law dated 19/03/19, out of time in this suit.
2. An Order deeming the Defendants/Applicants’ further affidavit and Reply on points of law dated 09/04/19 already filed and served as having been properly filed and served.
And for such further orders as the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.
10.1 The Motion is supported by an 11 paragraph affidavit of Ehiwe Osamudiamen and a written address. The Claimant/Respondent to the Motion filed a Reply on point of law in response. In the affidavit in support of the Motion the deponent averred at paragraph 3 that the Defendants/Applicants were served with the Claimant’s further and better affidavit and written address on points of law dated 19/03/19 and filed on 20th March, 2019. And following the receipt of the aforesaid processes, the Defendants commenced investigations into the facts alleged by the Claimant. That the Defendants were unable to immediately file their further affidavit and reply on points of law dated 09/04/19 in response to the Claimant’s further and better affidavit and written address on points of law dated 19/03/19 within time limited for it to do so under the Rules of Court. That it was due to the time expended by the Defendants whose principal places of business are in Lagos, and on carrying out proper investigation to gather sufficient information and documentation, especially from Kano where the surrounding facts of the instant suit occurred. And that by the time the processes were ready for filing, the Defendant’s discovered that they were out of time within which to file their processes which they had now filed and served on the Claimant and the fees for late filing having been paid.
10.2 In the written address in support of the motion, this sole issue was formulated for determination:
“Having regard to the facts and circumstances of this case, whether the Court should exercise its discretion in favour of the grant of this application”.
10.3 In the arguments, it was submitted that the Court is empowered under Order 57 Rule 4 (1) of the National Industrial Court (Civil procedure) Rules (2017) to grant the instant application that the discretion of the Court to grant the execution is unfettered citing the case of N.A WILLIAMS & ORS V. HOPE RISING VOLUNTARY FUNDS SOCIETY (1982) 1-2 SC 145 at 152 amongst others.
10.4 The Claimant/Respondent through Counsel in his reply on point of law formulated an issue for determination:
“Whether the further and better Counter affidavit is allowed by the Court rules and time can be extended to file same?”
10.5 In the argument in support of the sole issue for determination it was argued for the Respondent/Claimant, relying on the provisions of Order 16 Rules 5& 6 of the National Industrial Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017, that even the Claimant cannot file a further and better affidavit in the instant case.
Order 15 Rules 5 & 6 provides
“Rule 5. Where a party served with an originating summons with any other accompanying document and or any recording by an electric device as stipulated in Order 3 Rule 6 of these Rules intends to contest the originating summons, such party shall not later than fourteen (14) days thereafter or any other time prescribed, file a counter affidavit thereto, which shall be accompanied by:
a. Other relevant document (s), if any.
b. A written address in opposition to the argument advanced by the applicant, or
c. Any records of data relevant to a party’s defence in an electronic storage device.
Rule 6. The Applicant may file a written reply on point(s) of law within (7) days of service of the Respondent’s affidavit (if any) and a written address”
10.6 That, in other words, even the Claimant cannot file further and better affidavit in the instant case. That the Defendants.
a. Included matters arising after the filling of the suit,
b. Included what the Defendant called a “Counter claim”.
That there is need to defend the ‘Counter claim’. That the Claimant had sought and obtained leave of Court to reply and use its further and better affidavit in this case, which leave was granted on 10/4/2019.
The Claimant as Respondent contended that the Defendants did not seek leave of Court to file further processes. The Defendants assumed they have the right to file further and better counter affidavit and same has been filed out of time which the Defendants by this application seeking extension of time to file same. The Claimant submitted that the Defendants/Applicants have no right to file further and better counter affidavit under the Rules of Court the Claimant referred to Order 57.R4 (1) to (4) on the Court’s power to extend time relying on the words: “before or after the expiration of time appointed by these Rules or by any judgment or order of the Court extend or adjourn the time for doing any act or taking any proceeding”. That in the instant case, there is no time appointed by these Rules or any judgment or order of the Court to enable the time to be extended. That there is no foundation upon which to seek the indulgence of the Court.
10.7 The Claimant also contended that Rule 4 (2) of the same Order 57 prescribed that the order is granted “on good cause shown”. That the reason given by the Defendant upon receipt of the Claimant’s further affidavit, the Defendants/Applicant “commenced investigation into the facts alleged by the Claimant which caused delays in filling within time limited under the Rules. That the provision allowing the filing of a further and better counter affidavit or limiting time for filing same is not pointed out. That giving Lagos as the main place of doing business as reason for their inability to file a further affidavit and reply on point of law. That this did not amount to sufficient cause shown. That it is a main reason to refuse the application as the application was not genuinely made, as no good reason was advanced for filing without leave and or filing a process not recognized by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (Civil Procedure) Rules. That there must be an end to filing process, that the application is groundless and baseless that Rules of Court must be obeyed; citing OKOROCHA V. ASCON OIL COMPANY LTD (2016) LPELR-44 107 (CA) urging that the application ought to be dismissed and urged the Court to dismiss same.
11. COURT’S DECISION
Having gone through the processes filed by both parties in respect of this application to extend time to file the 1st and 2nd Defendants’ further affidavit in response to the Claimant’s further and better affidavit dated 19/03/2019. Now, having the said affidavit in mind, that is the Claimant’s further and better affidavit in response to the Defendants’ counter affidavit. At paragraphs 3 and 4 the Claimant as deponent averred that “3”. Exhibit MQ2 is strange. It bears neither date nor signature. Exhibit 5, reviewed in July 2015 (a year after my elevation to Managers rank) attached to my affidavit is the true handbook. Furthermore, Exhibit MQ2 at page 2 has no provision for my status, MM-1. A copy of my promotion letter is herewith attached and marked as Exhibit 3d.”
“4 the Defendant introduced new fact that emerged after the filling of this suit as covered by Exhibit MQ20 dated February 19, 2019 and Exhibit MQ 21 to MQ23 which are basically titled “Abandonment of duty issued by the 1st Defendant”. Now, in response the further affidavit of Moshood Quadri dated on the 9th of April 2019 at paragraphs 4 and 5 the following averments were made in response.
“4. In any event, the purported Exhibit 5 attached to the Claimant’s affidavit dated 18/02/2019 and which the Claimant is asking the Court to rely on is merely an incomplete document (front page and 3rd page), and for all intents and purposes is not the applicable Handbook to be relied on for the purpose of determining the full rights and obligations of the parties.”
“5. Contrary to the depositions in paragraphs 4,5,7,8 and 9 of the Claimant’s further and better affidavit, the 1st Defendants letter dated February 13, 2019 was delivered and dispatched to the Claimant prior to the commencement of this suit. Exhibit MQ 21 was issued on February 13, 2019 and dated the same day. As shown on Exhibit MQ 21, the 1st Defendant’s letter was forwarded to the Claimant via email on February, even before the Defendants were served with the originating processes or became aware of the instant suit.
The rest of the further affidavit went on and on arguing over courier dispatch dates and numbers in respect of MQ22 and MQ23 amongst others.
In the case of E. ISAAC V. BILL ESSIET GEORGE & ORS (2013) LPELR-1994 (CA) OTISI JCA at paragraph 12 paragraph B-D) had this to say:
“I would simply state that until arguments in a matter, which is to be determined by affidavit evidence, are taken and concluded, a party is at liberty to depose to further affidavits or counter that would bring all issues in controversy to the attention of the Court, in order to ensure a just determination of the matter.”
11.1 I hold that even though as submitted by Counsel for the Claimant that the Defendants’ further affidavit is not recognized by the National Industrial Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, the application itself cannot be done away with as I have highlighted above from a set of issues arising from the Claimant’s further and better affidavit and the Defendant’s further affidavit. I hold further that in order to ensure a just determination of the matter the application of the Defendant’s should succeed and is hereby granted as prayed on the face of the motion paper filed on the 9th of April 2019.
12. ON THE ORIGINATING SUMMONS AND MOTION FOR INTERLOCUTORY INJUNCTION
Having just highlighted some of the issues in controversy arising from the averments in the further and better affidavit of the further affidavit of the Defendants.
It is clear to me, having studied the affidavits and the myriad of Exhibits attached to them by both parties, following the provision of Order 3 Rule 17 (2) and the proviso to the said Rule of the National Industrial Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2017, the depositions and counter depositions therein raises substantial issues and disputes of fact, it is therefore ordered that the originating summons be converted to complaint and the parties are hereby directed to file pleadings so that a trial is conducted expeditiously in accordance with the Rules of the Court Governing trial. And for this purpose, the trial shall be an accelerated one.
Regarding the Motion for interlocutory injunction filed along with the originating process, it is ordered that the prayers sought therein be ordered as prayed as this Court had earlier on granted an order that parties maintain the status quo till final determination of the suit.
The matter is to proceed to an accelerated hearing.
Ruling is entered accordingly.
HON. JUSTICE E. D. E. ISELE