IN THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA
IN THE ENUGU JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT ENUGU
BEFORE HIS LORDSHIP: HON. JUSTICE O.O. AROWOSEGBE
DATE: THURSDAY JULY 7, 2022 SUIT NO. NICN/EN/42/2017
1. COM. BARR. KINGSLEY OLEMAFORO
2. COM. FABIAN ENEJE
3. COM. MAUREEN EZEANI
(Suing for themselves and on behalf of the CLAIMANTS
Branch Executive Committee of Medical
And Health Workers Union of Nigeria
(MHWUN), UNTH BRANCH ENUGU.
1. MEDICAL AND HEALTH WORKERS
UNION OF NIGERIA (MHWUN)
2. CHARLES EZEOHA
(Sued for himself and as representing the
other members of the Branch Executive
Committee of Medical and Health Workers DEFENDANTS
Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) UNTH
Branch Enugu purportedly elected as such
In an election conducted on 1/3//2016 by
the National Executive Committee of the
1. N. AROH – FOR THE CLAIMANTS.
2. H. A. NNANNA, WITH THE BRIEF OF A. ADEBAYO – FOR THE DEFENDANTS.
COMPPLAINT commenced this suit September 25, 2017. In the Statement of Facts [SF] [wrongly tagged “Statement of Claim”] that accompanied the Complaint, the following reliefs were set out at paragraph 12 thereof:
a) A Declaration of the court that the claimants and not the 2nd Defendant and his colleagues are the properly elected members of the Executive Committee of MHWUN, UNTH Branch, Enugu having been so elected in consonance with the principles and provisions of the constitution.
b) A further Declaration of the court that, by the constitution of the said union, the proper forum in which members of a Branch Executive Committee of the Union, including the members of the Branch Executive Committee, UNTH Branch, of MHWUN are elected, is at the Biennial general meeting of the branch.
c) A declaration of the court that the purported election of the 2nd defendant and his colleagues in an “Election” purportedly conducted by the National Executive Committee of the MHWUN on 1/3/2016 is illegal and contrary to the constitution of the union.
d) An order of Injunction restraining 2nd defendant and his colleagues from holding themselves out or claiming/enjoying any rights/privileges appurtenant or attaching to a member of the Executive Committee of the MHWUN, UNTH Branch Enugu, and further restraining the 1st and 3rd defendants from treating or regarding them, continuing to treat or regard them as members of the MHWUN, UNTH Enugu branch.
The 1st and 2nd defendants reacted against the above by “Reply to the Statement of Defence and Counter Claim of the 1st and 2nd Defendants Dated 14/11/17 and Filed on 15/11/17” [RSD&CC], while the defendants replied the RSD&CC by “Reply to Claimants’ Defence to Counter-Claim” [RDCC] Thus, issues were completely joined between the claimants and the 1st and 2nd defendants on both the SD and CC. Let me move to summary of proceedings and evidence led at trial.
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS AND EVIDENCE
The case first came up before His Lordship I. J. Essien on 18th October 2017. On 5th December 2017, the Court regularised the defence processes and struck out the 3rd defendant from the suit, while the case was adjourned for hearing. On 14th February 2018, the erudite claimants’ counsel informed the Court about exploration of out of court settlement and, for this reason, the case was adjourned for report of settlement/hearing. It came up next 10th April 2018 and, the 1st claimant testified as CW1. CW1 was cross-examined on 30th April 2018 and, the case of the claimants closed the same date. The defence opened on 7th June 2018. That was the last sitting of His Lordship Essien on the matter due to transfer.
The case thereafter came before me for the first time on 5th November 2018 and the erudite counsel to the parties agreed that, the case should start de novo. It started de novo before me 2nd April 2019, with the 1st claimant testifying as CW1. The matter could not proceed further on this date because, the additional written deposition of the CW1 could not be found. It came up next 24th February 2020 for continuation and CW1 tendered Exhibits CW1-CW5, while the case was adjourned for continuation. However, on 23rd February 2021, the erudite EMEKA OKAFOR, of counsel to the claimants, informed the Court about exploration of out-of-court settlement and the erudite A.I. ADEBAYO, of counsel to the defendants, concurred. The case was thereafter adjourned, with the sister case, for Report of Settlement [RS].
It came up eventually for RS on 16th June 2022. On this date, the 1st claimant was present while Comrade Jude Ugwuoke (State Chairman) represented the 1st defendant. N. AROH, of counsel to the claimants, informed the Court that, parties had settled and filed their Terms of Settlement [TS] 16/06/2022 and H. A. NNANNA, of counsel to the defendants, confirmed this position and, both individually proceeded to adopt the TS and urged the Court to make it her judgment on the case. Thereafter, judgment was adjourned to 7th July 2022. Having reached this juncture, my next duty is verbatim reproduction of the TS.
“TERMS OF SETTLEMENT
THE PARTIES HEREBY AGREE TO SETTLE THIS MATTER AMICABLY AS FOLLOWS THAT:
1. There shall be inaugurated a caretaker Committee for the MHWUN UNTH Branch to pilot the affairs of the Union in the branch for a period of 6 months in line with Rule 12(g) of the extant MHWUN Constitution; and the parties doth hereby agree that the members of the said caretaker committee shall be the following members that is to say: Com. Uche Enyi (Chairman), Com. Onwudiwe Ugwu (Vice Chairman), Com. Mrs. Amaka Okonkwo (Secretary), Com. Mrs. Mauren Ezeani (Treasurer), Com. Emeka Odo (Public Relations Officer) and Com. Ikechukwu Nwankwo (Auditor).
That the parties have agreed that the Caretaker Committee now constituted will function for a period of (6) months or for an extended period or more.
2. The said caretaker committee shall organize the branch election of the UNTH under the supervision of the State Council and in line with Rule 12(g) and Rule 14(a) of the extant Union’s Constitution; [sic]
3. The parties agree to work together with the caretaker committee and assist it to bring a lasting peace to the UNTH branch of the Union in the overall interest of Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria.
4. This terms [sic] of settlement brings to an end all disputes on the question of election of the MHWUN UNTH Branch, Enugu State, held in 2016.
5. That parties have agreed that these terms of settlement be made the CONSENT JUDGMENT this Court.
DATED THIS 16th DAY OF JUNE 2022
Comr. Barr. Kingsley Olemeforo Comr. Fabian Eneje
1st Claimants [sic] The 2nd Claimant
Comr. Mauren Ezeani N.O. Aroh Esq.
3rd Claimants [sic] Claimants’ Counsel
FOR THE DEFENDANTS
Com. Tony Oghagbon Comr. Charless Ezeoha
Deputy Secretary General of MHWUN The 2nd Defendant
FOR MEDICAL AND HEALTH WORKERS UNION OF NIGERIA
A.I. Adebayo Esq.
The above is verbatim reproduction of the TS. Having fully reproduced verbatim abovein the TS dated and filed 16th June 2022 and, which is p. 450-451 of the Process File, with the original receipt of filing at p. 453 of the Process File, my next duty is to give the Court’s final decision on the case, by entering the TS as the decision of this Court. There I go.
COURT’S DECISION AND THE RATIONES DECIDENDI
In consideration of the above TS, duly executed by the parties and their erudite counsel, as recounted above and, adopted before this Hon. Court by their learned counsel: – N. AROH, of counsel to the claimants and, H.A. NNANNA, with A.I. MUHAMMAD, with the brief of A. ADEBAYO, and of counsel to the defendants, and in the very presence of the 1st claimant and Comrade Jude Ugwuoke [State Chairman] for the defendants, 16th June 2022, in compliance with Order 42, Rules 1-7 & 9, and Order 47, Rule 9 of the NICN Rules; this Court, hereby enters judgment in this suit, in accordance with the TS, as reproduced hereinabove. The TS thus, becomes the Court’s judgment and, it is binding on the parties as judgment of this Court on this case. I so find and hold. In the spirit of amicable settlement, I award no cost.
Judgment is accordingly entered today Thursday the 7th day of July 2022 under the hand of the presiding judge.
HON. JUSTICE Oluwakayode Ojo AROWOSEGBE
NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA