IN THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA
IN THE ABUJA JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT ABUJA
BEFORE HIS LORDSHIP, HON. JUSTICE R.B.HAASTRUP
DATE: OCTOBER 04, 2017 SUIT NO. NICN/ABJ/280M/2017
Obinna Edwin Nnama Applicant/Judgment Creditor
1. Federal Civil Service Commission
2. Honourable Minister, Federal
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
3. Honourable Minister, Federal Judgment Debtors/Respondents
Ministry of Finance
S.C.Peters for Applicant/Judgement Creditor
The Applicant/Judgment Creditor is by this motion Exparte dated and file 22nd September, 2017, and brought pursuant to Order 49 Rule 6 of the National Industrial Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2017, praying this Court for the following:
a.) An Order of this Honourable Court granting leave to issue writ of execution against the 2nd judgment Debtor to writ, Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the enforcement of the judgment of this Honourable Court delivered on the 19th February, 2014 in suit No. NICN/ABJ/279/2013 by Honourable Justice Lifu between the parties herein named to the extent that the writ of execution be issued to satisfy the unpaid part of the judgment sum, which is the sum of USD 358,998 (Three Hundred and Fifty Eight thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety Eight) which is the sum of
N109, 491, 830 (One Hundred and Nine Million, Four Hundred and Ninety one thousand, Eighty Hundred and Thirty Naira) only in naira equipment.
b.) And for further order(s) as this Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.
Accompanying the application, is a 10 paragraph affidavit in support and deposed to by one Benard Adindu Legal Secretary in the law firm engaged by the Claimant, i.e. God’s People Legal Consult of suite BS 301/302 Banex Plaza, Wuse II, Abuja; with the annexure to the affidavit in support of application marked as Exhibits ‘A’ (Judgment in suit No. NICN/ABJ/279/2013, delivered on 19th February, 2014) and ‘B’ (Letter dated 7th September, 2017 from S.C. Peters & Co. Solicitors to the applicant/Judgment Creditor).
In his written address, Counsel for the judgment creditor submitted a sole issue for determination thus:
“Whether in the circumstances of this application, it will serve the overriding interest of justice for this Honourable Court to grant same”?
To Counsel the applicant in this case deserve to enjoy the outcome of the fruit of labour of a successful litigant. That judgment was entered in favour of the judgment Creditor/ Applicant by this Court on 19th February, 2014 for the sum of $418,006 (Four Hundred and Eighteen Thousand and Six Cents United States Dollars), and the Judgment Debtor/Respondent has refused to pay up the remaining unpaid balance of the Judgment from which is USD 358,998 (Three Hundred and Fifty Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ninety Eight) which is the sum of
N109,491,830 (One Hundred and Nine Million, Four Hundred and Ninety one thousand, Eighty Hundred and Thirty Naira) only in naira equivalent as the Official rate is N305 per dollar.
That the Judgment Debtors only intend to frustrate the judgment of this Court by refusing to pay the said sum; hence this application for the enforcement of judgment of this Court, citing Section 287 (3) constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) (as amended) which Counsel reproduced as follows:
“The decisions of the Federal High Court (FHC), a High Court and of all other Courts established by this Constitution shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by other Courts of law with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Federal High Court, a High Court and those other Courts, respectively”.
It is in light of the above provision, that Counsel now urges the Court to enforce its Judgment by ordering the execution of same. He relied equally on Order 49 Rule (6) (1) and (2) of the National Industrial Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017 which Counsel reproduced thus:
“An application for leave to issue a writ of execution or writ of possession of the judgment of the Court shall be carried out between the hours of 6.00am and 6.00pm of a working day.”
To Counsel, the Judgment of this Court delivered by Justice Lifu was in itself made via a consent judgment upon a voluntary ascertainable clear and unambiguous agreement reached by parties to the substantive suit, whereby each party consented to the judgment after assessment of each liability under the suit as regards to the claims of the Judgment Creditor.
To Counsel, consent judgments are enforceable judgments, just as in the case at hand and should be enforced by this Court, urging the Court to so hold. More so, the Claimant has fulfilled all necessary conditions for granting leave to issue writ of execution for the enforcement of the judgment of this Court delivered on the 19th February, 2014 in suit No. NICN/ABJ/279/2013.
Counsel further submitted that Judgment of this Court was on merit, and Judgment Debtors have equally accepted liability and have started paying until they decided to neglect their responsibility under the judgment sum; and the Court in the circumstance could exercise its discretion to issue a writ of execution to enforce the judgment of the Court by issuing its warrant and allow the Judgment Creditor /Applicant to take the property of the Judgment Debtor, citing NITEL Plc. vs. I.C.I.C (2009) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1167) pg. 356 @ 387 para F.
To Counsel, the Judgment Creditor as a successful litigant should not be denied the fruit of his judgment, relying on Lijadu vs. Lijadu (1991) 1 NWLR (Pt. 169) 627 @ 644. He then urged the Court to grant the application in the interest of justice.
I listened to learned Counsel for the Applicant/ Judgment Creditor regarding this Exparte application. I have equally considered the reliefs sought on face of application and affidavits and written address in support of same. It is not in doubt from facts disclosed in affidavit to application that there is a Judgment of this Court in suit NO.NICN/ABJ/279/2013 delivered on 19/02/14 in favour of the judgment Creditor/Applicant in this application and which is yet to be fully complied with by the Judgment Debtors.
The averments of applicant in paragraphs 4, 6, &7 of affidavit in support is to the effect that from the total judgment debt of USD 418,006, the judgment Debtor had made a total part payment of N18, 000,000.00 in instalments leaving sum of N109, 491,830 only as outstanding; and which the judgment Debtors according to applicant ignored several correspondences to them for payment of balance of N109, 491,830, relying on Exhibits A & B to this application. The applicant is asking for outstanding balance of USD 358,998 which he gave equivalent in Naira as 109,491,830 at the official rate of N305 per dollar.
I have however, painstakingly perused order 49 Rule 6 (1) and (2) relied upon by Counsel in this application. While this Court is not unmindful of the outstanding balance yet to be paid by the Judgment Debtor, the Court has equally taken cognizance of the fact that there was a part payment of N18, 000,000.00 paid by the Judgment Debtor from the total Judgment sum. See paragraph 6 of affidavit in support. This being the position, I am of the humble view that the Judgment Creditor /Applicant brings his application by summons as provided for under Order 49 Rule 6 (1) of NICR and not as presently made by Exparte application.
Consequently, the Exparte application is refused and accordingly struck out.
Ruling is entered accordingly.
Hon. Justice R.B.Haastrup