IN THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA
IN THE ABUJA JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT ABUJA
BEFORE HIS LORDSHIP: HON. JUSTICE Z. M. BASHIR
Dated: 10th day of August, 2020 SUIT NO: NICN/ABJ/193/2020
DSP WAGOZIE IGOCHUKWU GODWIN-------------CLAIMANT/APPLICANT
1. POILCE SERVICE COMMISSION
2. INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE
3. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, FCT
4. NIGERIAN POLICE FORCE------------------------------DEFENDANTS
A.B. Samson for the Claimant
No representation for the Defendant
Claimant commenced this suit by way of a General Form of Complaint filed on the 4th of August, 2020, accompanied by a statement of claim, list of witnesses, witness statements on oath, list of documents and copies of the listed documents to be relied upon at trial.
The Claimant filed along with the said Complaint, a Motion Ex-parte brought pursuant to Order 17 Rule 1, Order 21 Rule(1) and (2) and Order 22 (1) and (2) of the National Industrial Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2017 and section 36(5) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and under the Inherent Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court.
The said Motion Ex-parte is seeking for the reliefs as contained on the motion paper and same is also accompanied by a 38 paragraphed affidavit deposed to by the Claimant/Applicant with 9 exhibits and a written address.
Claimant/Applicant also filed a 5 paragraphed affidavit of urgency.
The highlight of the facts upon which the prayers contained in the motion ex-parte were sought, as can be gathered from the affidavits filed in support of the motion ex-parte is that the Claimant is a Deputy Superintendent Police Officer under the direct employment of the 4th Defendant and attached to the Gwarimpa Police Station. The Claimant narrated a robbery incident which occurred while he was on duty sometime on the 13/10/2018, from which the driver of a car died and same led to him being prosecuted before the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Abuja, sitting in Zuba where he is currently defending a charge of culpable homicide not punishable with death. He added that the matter has been adjourned to 28th September, 2020 for address of counsel and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants were notified of the pendency of the case while also requesting that disciplinary action be stayed against him pending the determination of the criminal charge. He added that despite the notification, 2nd Defendant constituted a disciplinary committee and the questions put to him were same as that in the charge before the High Court to determine his culpability or otherwise. Claimant deposed that although the Committee has not communicated the outcome of the inquiry to him till date, there is rumour trailing the office of the Defendant that the Claimant is likely to be dismissed from the service of the 4th Defendant on the allegation of the crime that is pending before the FCT High Court.
It is consequent upon the foregoing facts that the Claimant/Applicant posited that he is afraid of losing his job from the service of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Defendant as a result of the said rumour and he wants the court to restrain the defendants from dismissing or suspending him in connection to the allegation of the crime pending before the FCT High Court.
Having said that, I have taken due consideration of the reliefs sought by the Claimant and the argument of the counsel to the Claimant/Applicant as canvassed via the written address in support of the motion ex-parte. I also reckon that the Claimant had filed a motion on notice wherein interlocutory reliefs are being sought for while the prayers sought for in the motion ex-parte are intended to be in the interim, when the motion on notice can be heard.
With regards to the interim injunctions sought via the motion ex parte, I must posit that such reliefs are not granted as a matter of course. Rather, they are granted upon the satisfaction of certain conditions, particularly the condition thattheir grant must be predicated on the existence of a real urgency. In this regard, the Court of Appeal in the case of Itama v. Osaro-Lai (2000) 1 NWLR (Pt.661)515 held that:
“The principles for the grant of interim injunction have been well stated in our law reports. In the case of Kotoye v. CBN (1989) 1 NWLR (Pt. 419) which are stated thus:
(a) It can be made when there is real urgency but not a self-induced or self-imposed urgency.
(b) It can be made in an interlocutory or interim injunction application until a certain day usually the next motion date by which time the other side should have been put on notice.
(c) It cannot be granted pending the determination of the substantive suit or action.
(d) It can be granted where the court considers on a prima facie view that an otherwise irreparable damage may be done to the plaintiff before an application for an interlocutory or interim injunction can be heard after notice has been given to the opposing party.
(e) It can be granted where it is necessary to preserve the res which is in danger or imminent danger of being destroyed.
(f) A person who seeks an interim order ex-parte while also applying for an interlocutory injunction, files two motions simultaneously, one ex-parte asking for the interim order and the other on notice applying for an interlocutory injunction; the court before whom the applications come takes the ex-parte motion and if satisfied that it had merit ex facie grants it making the order to the date when the motion on notice shall be heard.
(g) Although it is made without notice to the other party, there must be a real impossibility of bringing the application for such injunction on notice and serving the other party.
(h) The applicant must not be guilty of delay.
(i) It must not be granted unless the applicant gives a satisfactory undertaking as to damages.
(j) Where a court of first instance fails to extract all undertaking as to damages, an appellate court ought normally to discharge the order for injunction on appeal." Per OGEBE, J.C.A.(Pp. 9-10, paras. B-F)
Bearing the foregoing authority in mind, I must posit that having evaluated the facts upon which the Claimant/Applicant sought the instant interim injunction, I find that the Claimant/Applicant posited that there is rumour trailing the office of the 4th Defendant in relation to his dismissal and it is based on therumour that he wants this Court to restrain the Defendants from dismissing or suspending him pending the hearing of a motion on notice filed before this court. With regards to the said rumour, it must be said that the courts are not to act on rumour or suspicion and this has been reiterated in the case of State v Ogbubunjo (2001) 2 NWLR (Pt.698) 576 where the Court held that:
“All courts of law are duty bound to give critical examination to evidence adduced before them and ensure that the innocent are not punished and the guilty set free. They should act on evidence and not on hunches, rumours or suspicion so as to ensure that justice in its purest form is administered in courts to all and sundry”
The court added that:
Suspicion, however strong cannot take the place of legal proof as it does not amount to proof. Thus, a court must not act on suspicion and rumour” see also Emine v State (1991) 7 NWLR (Pt.204) 408.
In view of the foregoing authority, it is the finding of this court that the rumour upon which the Claimant/Applicant predicated the instant ex-parte application brings about a speculative urgency rather than a real urgency.
Permit me to reiterate if only by way of emphasis, that interim injunction is useful where the Applicant will suffer an irreparable loss which cannot be assuaged by damages. In this regard, upon the consideration of the facts deposed in the affidavit in support of the motion ex-parte, should the Claimant/Applicant be wrongfully or unlawfully dismissed from service based on the allegation of crime pending before the FCT High Court, the wrong occasioned by such dismissal can be repaired and made right by this court if same is found to be wrongful or unlawful as this Court is empowered to make an order of reinstatement in deserving circumstances while also having the power to award damages where same is deserved.
Consequently, it is the considered view of this court that there are no legally valid grounds upon which to grant the reliefs sought by the Claimant/Applicant via the motion ex-parte filed before this court, same lacks merit and they are accordingly refused in the interest of justice and fair hearing.
Ruling is accordingly entered.
HON. JUSTICE Z. M. BASHIR