His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sanusi Kado sitting in Abuja judicial division of the National Industrial Court has ruled on the preliminary objection filed by Adamawa State Judicial Service Commission, the Governor Adamawa State, the National Judicial Council, and 4 others in a matter brought by the Retired Justice Michael Goji on the competency of the case.
The court held that the originating Summons filed by Retired Justice Goji raised substantial disputes on facts, ordered the conversion of the Originating Summons to a complaint, ordered the parties to file, and exchanged pleadings in line with the rules of the court and set the matter for hearing.
From facts, the claimant- Justice Goji Rtd had approached the Court via originating summons accompanied with other documents seeking for a declaration that Adamawa State Chief Judge and the National Judicial Council, have no right to withhold his salaries and the allowances from May 2018 to the end of March 2020 while on suspension. Likewise an Order on the Adamawa State Judicial Service Commission and the State Governor to supply his remaining three (3) official vehicles which he was entitled to but was not supplied to him during his period of service as Judicial Officer amongst others.
In defence, the defendants filed a notice of preliminary objection on the ground that the originating process filed by the claimant is incomplete for non-compliance with the Rules of the court and has deprived the court of the jurisdiction to entertain same, asked the court to strike the case out for being grossly incompetent.
Furthermore, learned counsel to the NJC, Kemasuade Wodu, Esq also objected that no competent relief against the commission and has deprived the court of the jurisdiction to entertain same, urged the court to strike out the case.
In opposition, Goji's counsel Everistus Paul, Esq contended that the defendants’ preliminary objection is frivolous, ought to be dismissed with substantial cost, that failure of the Adamawa Judicial Service Commission and 6 other defendants to apply to the court to withdraw his appearance on behalf of the NJC was a breach of the rules of professional conduct and abuse of court process, urged the court to dismiss NJC objection.
In his ruling, the Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Sanusi Kado held that the absence of filing of a change of counsel does not amount to an abuse of court process, that it’s an irregularity and cannot vitiate the process.
“In view of the above finding, the objection of the claimant/respondent to the preliminary objection of the Adamawa Judicial Service Commission and 6 others fails because the claimant/respondent has not established any abuse of process, and the said objection is hereby discountenanced.
“In the circumstances and in line with Order 3 rule 17(2) of the rules of this court with my finding that the originating Summons raised substantial disputes on facts, I hereby order the conversion of the Originating Summons to complaint. The parties are hereby ordered to file and exchanged pleadings in line with Order 3 rules 8, 9 and 10 of the rules of this court.”