Two officers of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ogun State Council have petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed, over alleged judicial interference in a suit before the National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Ibadan.
The petitioners, Soji Amosu and Ayokunle Ewuoso, who are Chairman and Secretary of Ogun NUJ respectively, called on the CJN to urgently intervene in the matter and arrest any impunity against their case.
In a copy of the petition dated October 1, 2021, and made available to our correspondent at the weekend, the petitioners alleged that the respondents in suit number NICN/IB/61/2021 had been boasting to vacate the court order without due process on Monday, 4th of October, 2021.
The petition followed the order of Justice Opeloye Ogunbowale of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Ibadan on September 30, 2021 which restrained all actions, proceedings, steps and processes relating to the national delegates conference of the NUJ scheduled to hold from October 3 to 5, 2021 in Umuahia, Abia State.
Ruling on a motion ex-parte filed by Amosu and Ewuoso, the court also restrained members of the Credentials Committee of the Union and other respondents from performing, aiding or executing any act for the purposes of conducting any election into the national offices of the NUJ pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.
The presiding judge adjourned hearing into the matter to October 26, 2021.
The respondents in the suit include Mr Garuba Muhammed (Chairman, Credentials Committee), Mr Victor Ndukwe (Secretary, Credentials Committee), Mr Ladi Bala, Mr Isa Shuni, Mr Leke Adegbite, Mr Kenneth Ofoma, Mr Emmanuel Ogbeuwe, Mr Mohammed Ibrahim and Mr Victor Udi.
Other respondents are the NUJ, Mr Chris Isiguzo (NUJ President), Mr Shuaib Usman Leman (NUJ National Secretary), National Executive Council (NEC) of the Union, Mr Wale Oluokun and Credentials Committee.
But in their petition titled, “RE: NICN/IB/6I/2021 BETWEEN SOJI AMOSU, AYOKUNLE EWUOSO Vs. GARBA MOHAMMED AND OTHERS – A CASE OF JUDICIAL INTERFERENCE,” the applicants contended that there was interference of the judiciary in a process that ought to be transparent and open.
They said, “No sooner had the certified true copy of the order published online, had the Respondents in suit number, NICN/IB/61/2021 vowed to vacate the order of court come the 4th of October, 2021. We have since called the attention of our counsel to the piece of information.
“To our surprise our solicitor told us that he received a call from a Registrar in the person of Mrs Elegbeleye at about 6 :42 pm on the 30th of September, 2021, the same day the order was made in the court in Ibadan, that our counsel should appear in court on the 4th of October, 2021.
“From the Enrolment of order handed over to us, the next hearing date is 26th of October, 2021.
“We believe it will be presposterous for the Court on his own volition call that a matter adjourned in court to call one of the parties to come to court on the same matter without the prompting of the other party.
“It is based on the above information, that we have come to the irresistible conclusion that there is judicial interference in the case suit no NICN/IB/61/2021. We have sought from our counsel if there is any process served on him from the opposing side to warrant such a call, there is no such court process.
“Our adversary have been boasting since the order of court made on the 30th of September, 2021 in suit no NICN/IB/61/2021 got to their attention, that the said order shall be vacated on the 4th of October, 2021.
“It is our humble position that the ground upon which the order of court is to be vacated should be communicated to us to afford us the opportunity to state our own side. It is our humble position that due process of the law should be considered by the Honorable Court before deciding whether to vacate the order made or not. As it is now, all is set that the order made on the 30th of September, 2021 will be vacated on the 4th of October, 2021.
“It is on this note that we write to bring to your esteemed attention, the interference of the judiciary in a process that ought to be transparent and open. We also seek for your intervention by looking into this matter to arrest any impunity that our complaint is made against.”