IN THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA
IN THE ABUJA JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT ABUJA
BEFORE HIS LORDSHIP: HON. JUSTICE Z. M. BASHIR
Dated: 13th day of August, 2020 SUIT NO: NICN/ABJ/194/2020
ENGR NORBERT NWORIE-------------------------CLAIMANT/APPLICANT
1. ENGR. DR. M.C. ARIMANWA
RECTOR, FEDERAL POLYTECHNIC NEKEDE, OWERI
2. FEDERAL POLYTECHNIC NEKEDE, OWERI
3. FEDERAL MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
4. DR. KELECHI MUFORO
5. INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE, ABUJA
6. DIRECTORATE OF SECURITY SERVICE --------------------DEFENDANTS.
I.B.B. Madubuko for the Claimant
No representation for the Defendant
Claimants commenced this suit by filing an originating summons on the 7th of August, 2020 foran order of judicial review and pursuant to which six reliefs were sought by the Claimant.
The Claimants filed along with the said Originating summons, a Motion Ex-parte brought pursuant to Order 48 Rule 1 and 6 of the National Industrial Court Civil Procedure Rules 2017 and under the Inherent Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court.
The said Motion Ex-parte is seeking for the reliefs as contained on the motion papers and same is also accompanied by a 29 paragraphed affidavit deposed to by Engr. NobertNworie with 8 exhibits and a written address.
The Claimant also filed an 11 paragraphed affidavit of urgency deposed to by the same Engr. NobertNworie.
The highlight of the facts upon which the prayer as contained in the motion ex-parte was sought, as can be gathered from the affidavits filed in support of the motion ex-parte are that the Claimant/Applicant posited that as an employee of the 2nd Defendant, he was appointed as Ag. Director, Interventions and Linkages. Claimant added that he performed the mandate of his office and the 1st Defendant also gave him many other oral directives and that he particularly raised funds for the 1st Defendant in 2019 when he was making effort to obtain waiver for employment at the Federal Ministry of Education. He posited the said 1st Defendant has now turned around to silence him so that the truth will not be told, labeled him an employment racketeer and set up a panel of enquiry to try him and indict him on three different occasions and the 1st Respondent is trying to suspend him from office and withhold his salaries even though the panel has not concluded their investigation. Claimant added that the 1st Defendant has also instructed officers of the 5th Defendant and members of the Nigerian Police to arrest and detain him.
It is consequent upon the foregoing facts that the Claimant holds the notion that it is of urgent importance to grant this application and the interim order of injunction restraining the Panel of Enquiry set up by the 1st Defendant from continuing in their investigation on the job racketeering allegation pending the hearing of a motion on notice.
In view of the forgoing facts and the relief sought by the Claimant/Applicant, I have taken due consideration of the arguments of counsel to the Claimant/Applicant as canvassed in the written address in support of this application and the sole issue for the determination of this application is to wit:
Whether or not this application is meritorious and same can be granted
In resolving the sole issue, it is imperative to state that the courts have long settled the rationale for the grant of an exparte injunction in the case ofKotoye v. C.B.N. (1989) 1 NWLR (Pt.98) 419 where the court held that:
"The rationale for an ex parte application is the prevention of imminent irretrievable injury or damage to the right of one of the parties to the suit. Urgency is the necessary fulcrum on which the application rests. However, the basis of granting the application is also the existence of special circumstances and the urgency to protect the destruction of the rights involved in the suit. Thus in the absence of a real urgency, the rationale for an ex parte application cannot be justified." Per KARIBI WHYTE, J.S.C. (P. 99, paras.D-F.
Bearing the foregoing rationale in mind, the question that naturally arises is whether there is an imminent irretrievable injury arising from the facts deposed by the Claimant/Applicant and whether the said irretrievable injury is a matter of real urgency.
In answering the foregoing questions, I reckon that the relief in the instant application indicates that a panel has already been set up and there is an ongoing investigation which may or may not result in the suspension of the Claimant/Applicant. In this regard, it must be borne in mind that the investigation is not in itself an injury to the Claimant/Applicant as it is only a means to an end rather than an end in itself.
That is coupled with the fact thatanex-parte application is for prevention of an act and not to abruptly stop an act that is already in place.
It is also pertinent to note that assuming the investigation is itself an imminent injury, arising from the exhibit “GG” and “HH” annexed to the motion ex-parte, which are the query and the Claimant/Applicant’s response, it is apparent that the there is no real urgency warranting the relief sought in this application to be granted ex-parte.
In the final analysis, there is noexceptional circumstances indicating that the Defendants cannot be put on notice for fair and just determination of the relief sought against them.
Consequently, the relief sought by the Claimant/Applicant is not grantable in the circumstance and same is accordingly refused.
Ruling is accordingly entered.
HON. JUSTICE Z. M. BASHIR