Owerri –His Lordship, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Galadima of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, sitting in Owerri has dismissed the application for stay of proceeding filed by International Corrosion Control Ltd in a suit brought by EMENIKE SYLVESTER IBE for lacking merit, ordered immediate commencement of cross-examination.
The court held that granting the application negates the practice of the court to do justice diligently and timorously, and shall not be in the interest of justice to grant same.
This Defendant/Applicant caused an application to be filed on its behalf by way of a motion on notice on the 21/5/2019 seeking for An order of Court for stay of proceedings pending the determination of the interlocutory appeal filed against the ruling delivered on 31/01/2019 on the grounds that the defendant had on 31/01/2019 tendered a document which Court rejected despite purportedly laying foundation regarding the way the said document was obtained or produced that the Defendant’s case depended on the said rejected document.
The application raised a sole issue for determination whether the applicant is entitled to an order for stay of proceedings by this Court pending the outcome of the interlocutory appeal filed against its ruling of 31/1/2019?
Learned Defendant’s Counsel argued that the Court has the discretion to grant a stay of proceedings in consonance with the provisions of the court rules.
The Claimant’s/Respondent’s counsel made an oral response in opposition to the application that the application was misconceived because it does not comply with the provisions of the rules of the court, that none of the material ingredients exist in order to enable the grant of a stay, and in particular, no leave of court was sought by him urged the court to dismiss this application with a cost of N2,000,000.00
The Court presided by Hon. Justice Ibrahim Galadima held that stay of proceedings should be granted only when absolutely necessary.
“The Defendant/Applicant has a grievance it seeks to ventilate at the appellate court against this court’s rejection of an exhibit which its witness, had sought to tender. There is no contending with its right of interlocutory appeal.
“The salient point to note therefore is that a stay of proceedings should not be granted where the interlocutory appeal following the application for stay of proceedings would not finally dispose of the case. It is advisable in such a situation that the aggrieved party waits till the final judgment to lodge an all-embracing appeal.
“I’m reasonably satisfied and convinced therefore, that granting this application is potentially injurious as it portends to unduly further delay this cause. It shall not be in the interest of justice to grant same. It is thus my esteem believe that granting this application, negates the practice of this court to do justice diligently and timorously.
“I also concede wholly with the learned respondent counsel’s submission that it shall be inequitable to grant this application in view of the fact also that the parties have the overall right to appeal against the final decision of this Court if dissatisfied in the end.”
The court dismissed the application for being unmeritorious, awarded the sum N50,000.00 to the Claimant/Respondent, and ordered counsel to the claimant to commence with the cross-examination forthwith.