IN THE NATIONAL INDUSTRAL COURT OF NIGERIA
IN THE ABUJA JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT ABUJA
BEFORE HIS LORDSHIP HONOURABLE JUSTICE E. N. AGBAKOBA
DATED: 4TH MARCH, 2020
SUIT NO. NICN/ABJ/389/2019
MR. OMOZUSI IYOBOSA ……………………………… CLAIMANT
1. OGBEBOR CONCRETE INDUSTRY LTD
2. PAULOSANIG.LTD ………………………………. DEFENDANTS
JOHN BEDE OFOHA for the Claimant
No appearance for the Defendants
1. The Claimant filed this Complaint on 10th December, 2019 with the accompanying frontloaded documents, claiming against the defendants as follows:
A. A DECLARATION that the termination of the Claimant’s employment or dismissal of the Claimant by the Defendants without notice and/or without justifiable reason is wrongful.
B. A DECLARATION that the Claimant is entitled to pension contributions from the Defendants in accordance with the Pension Reform Act.
C. AN ORDER directing the Defendants to immediately pay to the Claimant the sum of only being outstanding arrears of salaries and allowances spanning 64 (Sixty-Four) months amounting to a grand total of N4, 478, 120 (Four Million, Four Hundred and Seventy-Eight Thousand Naira)
D. AN ORDER directing the Defendants to immediately pay to the Claimant the sum of N100, 000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) only being payment in lieu of notice of termination of the Claimant’s employment.
E. AN ORDER directing the Defendants to immediately pay to the Claimant the sum of N300, 000 (Three Hundred Thousand Naira) only being out of pocket expenses he incurred renovating the Defendants house (the AGM Quarter, Paulosa Camp, Life Camp, Abuja).
F. AN ORDER directing the Defendant to immediately calculate the Claimant’s severance benefits and pay to the Claimant.
G. AN ORDER directing the Defendants to immediately compute and remit to the Claimant or to any Pension Fund Administrator of the Claimant’s choice 9 (Nine) years and 2 (Two) months pension contributions due to the Claimant.
H. AN ORDER directing the Defendants to immediately pay to the Claimant the sum of N410, 000, 000 ( Four hundred and ten Million Naira) only being general damages for breach of contract of employment, psychological trauma, emotional distress suffered by the Claimant and/or for wrongful conduct of the Defendants.
I. The cost of this action to be assessed at the point of Judgment.
2. The Claimant also filed a MOTION ON NOTICE on 10th December, 2019 supported by a 24 paragraph affidavit deposed to by Mr. Omozusi Iyobosa praying this Honourable Court for: AN INTERLOCUTORY ORDER OF INJUNCTION restraining the Defendants either by themselves, servants, privies and/or agents howsoever described from forcefully ejecting the Claimant from the house he is occupying with his family situated at Paulosa Camp No. 11 JT Useni Street, Life Camp, Abuja pending the hearing and determination of this suit except upon a valid Order from a Court of competent jurisdiction. And such other orders or further orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.
WRITTEN ADDRESS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION ON NOTICE
Whether, in the light of the affidavit in support of this application and the circumstance of this suit, the Applicant has made out a case justifying the grant of interlocutory injunction pending the determination of the substantive suit.
3. Claimant Counsel relying on Order 17 Rule 14 (5) of the Rules of this Honourable Court, submitted that this Honourable Court is imbued with jurisdictional power to exercise discretion to grant this application. It is counsel’s submission that the main purpose of this application is to protect the Claimant against injury which may be caused to him if the defendants are allowed to violate his rights. UTB LTD V. DOLMETSH PHARM (NIG) LTD (2007) 16 NWLR 520 AT 545; OYEYEMI V. IREWOLE LG, IKIRE (1993) 1 NWLR (PT. 270) 462; UNTED SPINNERS V. CHARTERED BANK (2001) 7 NSCQR 123 AT 139.
4. He submitted that the questions which the Court may ask in this type of application are:
(a) Is there a serious issue to be tried?
(b) If so, will damages be adequate compensation for the temporary inconvenience? and
(c) If damages will be inadequate compensation, in whose favour is the balance of convenience?
5. Following the order of this court made on the 17th December 2019 on a Motion Exparte the Claimant was ordered to put the Respondents on notice and the matter adjourned to 5th February 2020 for hearing of the Motion on Notice.
6. On the 5th February 2020 the Claimant Counsel was in Court but there was no appearance from the Respondents, being satisfied that the Respondent had been duly served with the Motion on Notice being considered and notification of today’s hearing the Claimant Counsel adopted and adumbrated his processes and this matter was adjourned for this ruling.
7. Having carefully summarized the position of the Claimant, his arguments and having carefully reviewed all the authorities cited, read through all the relevant processes and digested the Claimant’s contention his written submissions are herewith incorporated in this ruling and specific mention would be made to them where the need arises. The issue for determination in this suit to my mind is the issue as formulated by the Claimant: Whether, in the light of the affidavit in support of this application and the circumstance of this suit, the Applicant has made out a case justifying the grant of interlocutory injunction pending the determination of the substantive suit.
8. The position of the law as regards an application for an Injunction is as was stated in the Court of Appeal in the case of MARINE & GENERAL ASSURANCE CO. LTD v. HON. MINISTER OF FINANCE & ORS. (2018) LPELR-43517(CA) Where it was held as follows’ - "Simply put, I think the learned counsel for the Appellant was wrong to have imagined that the balance of convenience ought to be held in the Appellant's favour on the basis of its depositions on the cancellation of the Appellant's registration license. This is because; the required balance of convenience is and must necessarily be in relation to the Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction and not in relation to the substantive suit before the trial Court. Secondly, it is trite that in an application for an injunction pending the determination of the substantive claim, the Judge has a duty to ensure that he does not in the determination of the application, determine the same issue or issues that would arise for determination in the substantive suit. See: GROUP DANONE & ANOR VS. VOLTIC (NIGERIA) LTD (2008) 34 SC 32 it is only necessary for the Applicant to establish a legal right and an issue to be tried in the substantive case. The purpose of the injunction is to keep the parties in status quo pending the determination of the substantive suit. OBIDIEGU ONYESOH VS. CHRISTOPHER NNEBEDUN & 3 ORS (1992) B SCNJ 129 and NNPC VS. FAMFA OIL LTD & ANOR (2009) 5-6 SC (PT. 1) 191. Relatedly, the Court when considering an application for interlocutory injunction should not try to resolve conflicts of evidence on affidavits as to facts on which the claims of either party may ultimately depend or decide difficult questions of law which call for detailed argument and consideration. See. SUNDAY A. ODUNTAN VS. GENERAL OIL LTD (1995) 4 SCNJ 145."Per MOJEED ADEKUNLE OWOADE, J.C.A (Pp. 19-20, paras. B-C)
9. The purpose of granting an order of interlocutory injunction is to protect the violation of a Plaintiff's right. Generally, the decision whether or not to grant the interlocutory injunction is the discretionary power of the Court, and which discretion must be exercised based on sufficient facts which warrant that it be granted.
In considering whether or not to grant such an application, the law is that “each case must be viewed from the peculiar or special circumstances of that case, and no case will be relied on as precedent so as to fetter the exercise of discretion in another case. See ALCATEL KABELMETAL (NIG.) LTD V. OJUEGBELE (2003) 2 NWLR (PT. 805) P. 429 and AYO-AYODELE PHARM. CHEM. (NIG) LTD. V. N.I.D.B. LTD (2000) 1 NWLR (PT. 653) P. 420. Generally, an order of interlocutory injunction is granted in the course of the proceedings, and at any stage of the proceedings for the purpose of keeping the parties in status quo till the determination of the action. See OBEYA MEMORIAL SPECIALIST HOSPITAL V. AG FOR THE FEDERATION (1987) 3 NWLR (PT. 60) P. 325 and KOTOYE V. C.B.N. (1989) 1 NWLR (PT.98) P. 419. In the determination of whether or not to grant an interlocutory injunction pending the trial of the substantive matter, the Court will consider several factors, such as: (a) Whether the applicant has shown that there is a serious question to be tried; (b) Whether the applicant has shown that the balance of convenience is on his side; (c) Whether the applicant has shown that damages cannot be an adequate compensation for any damages or injury he may suffer, if at the end he succeeds. (d) The applicant must also show that he is not guilty of any reprehensive conduct; (e) whether the applicant has given a satisfactory undertaking as to damages. The over-riding consideration for the grant of the order of interlocutory injunction is the preservation of the res, since the law holds that the res should not be destroyed or annihilated before the Court enters judgment in the case, one way or the other. See GLOBE FISHING IND. LTD. V. COKER (1990) 7 NWLR (PT.162) P.265; 7-UP BOTTLING CO. LTD. V. ABIOLA & SONS (NIG) LTD. (1995) 3 NWLR (PT. 383) P. 257 AND AKINPELU V. ADEGBORE (2008) 10 NWLR (PT., 1096) P. 531. SEE ALSO OBA JAMES ADELEKE & ORS V. NAFIU ADEWALE LAWAL & ORS (2013) LPELR-20090 (SC)." ADEBAYO v. OLAJOGUN (2016) LPELR-41390(CA) Per Haruna Simon Tsammani, J.C.A (Pp. 27-30, Paras. F-A).
10. Bearing in mind that the primary object of an interlocutory injunction is to keep matters in status quo ante bellum until the question at issue between the parties can be finally determined by the court, thus facilitating the administration of justice at the trial. CHIEF SAMUEL ADEBISI FALOMO VS OBA OMONIYI BANIGBE & ORS. (1998 Legalpedia SC BZ93) (Suit number: SC. 127/1995).
11. And considering the fact that fair hearing means opportunity and as the Respondent have been served to the satisfaction of this Court there is no reason to reuse or to grant this application based on the position of the law. by the Law it is not necessary that for the plaintiff to succeed, the court in an application for interlocutory injunction should find a case which would entitle him to relief at all events. That is not the law. It is quite sufficient if the court finds a case which shows, as in the present case, that there is a substantial question to be investigated and that matters ought to be preserved in status quo ante bellum until that question can be finally dispose. CHIEF SAMUEL ADEBISI FALOMO VS OBA OMONIYI BANIGBE & ORS (Supra) Per Iguh J.S.C.
12. The Claimant has, I find, made a case for the grant of this Court’s discretion in an order to restrain the Respondent either by themselves, servants, privies and/or agents howsoever described from forcefully ejecting the Claimant from the house he is occupying with his family situated at Paulosa Camp No. 11 JT Useni Street, Life Camp, Abuja pending the hearing and determination of this suit except upon a valid Order from a Court of competent jurisdiction.
13. It is so ordered accordingly.
14. This is the Court’s ruling and it is hereby entered.
HON. JUSTICE E. N. AGBAKOBA