By Favour Goodness
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Ibrahim Tanko and President of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice B.B Kanyip, over abuse of court processes regarding the forthcoming Triennial Delegates Conference of the Union.
It would be recalled that the delegates conference, earlier scheduled by the National Executive Committee (NEC) to hold between 3rd and 5th October, 2021.
However, Soji Amosun and Ayokunle Ewuoso approached the Lagos Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria and on August 27th 2021, procured an interim order in Suit No: NICN/LA/310/2021 against the conduct of the conference.
It would be further recalled that Amosun and Ewuoso filed notice of discontinuance, which impliedly lapsed the interim order on Sept. 12, 2021. The interim order lasted for 14 days though.
However, Amosun and Ewuoso filed the same matter with the same set of facts at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Ibadan and secured another interim order on the same matter on the 30th day of September 2021.”
The National President of the NUJ, Chris Isiguzo, in a statement on Sunday, described the development as forum shopping and abuse of court processes.
Read the statement below:
I have been inundated with calls just as my attention has been drawn to an allegation of interference in the judicial process on the purported suit number NICN/IB/61/2021 filed by one Soji Amosun and Ayokunle Ewuoso.
As a major stakeholder in the forthcoming Triennial Delegates Conference, it is apt to state categorically that the judiciary is an ARBIRTER and the TEMPLE OF JUSTICE that is accessible and open to all litigants.
Since I am a respondent in the matter, I hold the strong view that facts are sacred and opinions are free, hence the opinion of Soji Amosun and Ayokunle Ewuoso which is clearly the figment of their own imagination on their devious intention to scuttle the 7th Triennial Delegates Conference through abuse of court process.
As a responsible Nigerian, I owe unsuspecting members of the public, particularly the members of the union, the duty to put before them the facts of this matter.
It is on record that the applicants (Soji Amosun and Ayokunle Ewuoso) had earlier procured an interim order in Suit No: NICN/LA/310/2021 against the same defendants and with the same set of facts at the Lagos Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria on the 27th August 2021.
It is equally important to point out that the same applicants withdrew the matter on the 12th September 2021, and the interim order, which in any case only lasted 14 days, was spent upon that discontinuance.
However, the applicants and their counsel, by their own showing, surprisingly filed the same matter with the same set of facts at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Ibadan, and on the 30th day of September 2021 and dubiously secured another interim order on the same matter.
With this development, it is apparent that the applicants misrepresented and/or concealed and suppressed facts before the court just to secure the subsequent interim injunction, as no Court would grant same in the circumstance.
With this forum shopping embarked on by the applicants, it is obvious that their aim is to stop and scuttle the NUJ’s 7th Triennial Delegates Conference holding in Umuahia, Abia state, through the abuse of court process.
While the Union has instructed its lawyers to verify the status of the interim order, which is yet to be served on respondents, it beholds on respondents to defend the action.
It is on this note that I firmly trust that appropriate actions shall be taken to ensure that all issues are resolved in due course.
The pursuit of getting the matter vacated in court owing to misrepresentation of facts could not immediately be achieved as a result of the public holiday declared on Friday and the non-working days that followed.
Since equity aids the vigilant, the NUJ has equally protested the ongoing abuse of court process by the applicants thus petitioned (i) the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, who doubles as the Chairman of the National Judicial Council, and the (ii) the President of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice B.B Kanyip, PhD.
In view of the recent pronouncement of the NJC on forum shopping to stealthily obtain exparte orders of injunction, the NUJ believes strongly that the timely intervention of the Council will arrest the obvious dubious abuse of the court process by the applicants.
The NUJ has its firm belief in the judiciary, hence its protest to the NJC on the overt attitude of the applicants to overreach themselves in the ongoing abuse of court process.