Lokoja – His Lordship, Hon. Justice Z. M. Bashar of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, sitting in Lokoja, on Monday 10th December 2018 in a judgment dismissed the suit filed by Dr. Chief J.A.N. ELUKPO (claimant) against DR. OLATUNDE OLADEJIALABI (MEDICAL DIRECTOR, FMC. LOKOJA) and 7 others for lack of locus standi
This suit was originally commenced by an originating summons filed on the 8th of May, 2018 against the first seven Defendants. Upon the addition of one more defendant, an amended copy was filed on the 1st of June 2018. The originating summons seeks for the determination of two questions to wit:
Upon the determination of these questions, the Claimant sought among others for An order of mandatory injunction compelling the removal of the 88 people employed by the 1st Defendant without advertisement and interview for which the other Respondents were silent over same.
The 4th Defendant filed Preliminary Objections, seeking for an Order of this Honourable Court striking out the suit for want of jurisdiction, on the grounds that The 4th Defendant/Applicant sued is not a juristic person and suit does not disclose any reasonable cause of action against the Defendants, and that the Claimant has no locus standi to maintain this action.
The 6th Defendant notice of preliminary objection filed seeks among others;. That this Court lack the jurisdiction to hear and determine this suit on the ground that the 6th respondent has no locus standi to appear in the suit.
By way of reaction, the Claimant Counsel also contended that the Claimant has shown in the suit the cause of action against the 4th Defendant and others.
On whether Claimant has locus standi, counsel contended that the Claimant is a Social Engineer, whose oath of office as a Lawyer promotes and fosters Justice in the interest of society. He added that Lawyers must be vanguards of justice and challenge corruption and that the Freedom of Information Act 2011, Whistle Blowing Law and Executive Order 6 of 2018 permits the Claimant to challenge actions of this nature. He concluded that based on the foregoing, the Claimant has locus Standi in the suit.
After careful analysis of all the processes filed, and the submissions of the learned Counsel from both sides. The Court presided by Hon. Justice Z. M. Bashar expressed thus;
“The provision of Public Service Rules does not extinguish the legal capacity of the 6th Defendant nor erase its creation by the Constitution particularly in view of the fact that the Constitution is Supreme and its provisions are binding on all authorities and persons.
“Having clothed the 4th Defendant with juristic personality for the purpose of this suit and having found that the 6th Defendant does not in any way lose its constitutional legal status, I must state that I find the joinder of the 4th and 6th Defendants in this suit to be proper.
On whether or not the Claimant has the locus standi to institute this suit, His Lordship stated that “there is no gainsaying that what impelled the Claimant to institute this suit is the employment of 88 people into the service of the 2nd Defendant which the Claimant considers was not in accordance with due procedure as there was no advertisement and interview. That in my considered view is the cause of action.
“I find that there was not one paragraph indicating that the Claimant suffered any wrong or damage that was personal to the Claimant arising from the employment of the 88 people.
“The reliefs sought are also not for the direct benefit of the Claimant as he urges the court to set aside the employment of the 88 people employed.
“The affidavit does not disclose any special interest whatsoever which the courts have considered necessary for the Claimant to earn a locus standi.
“Based on the foregoing, I find that the Claimant lacks the locus standi to institute this suit.
“Consequent upon the above holdings, there is no gainsaying that this court lacks the requisite jurisdiction to pry into the substantive suit. Such attempt would be an exercise in futility and a monumental waste of precious judicial time.” Justice Zaynab M. Bashir Declared