24 June 2014, Lagos – The National Industrial Court in Lagos on Tuesday restrained the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria from holding its June 25 national delegates conference in Abuja.
Justice Kenneth Amadi, ruling on the ex-parte motion, granted an order of interim injunction, restraining the defendants from holding any delegates conference until the substantive suit is determined.
He then adjourned hearing of the motion on notice till June 30.
The order followed a suit filed by two plaintiffs, Messrs John Nwanosike and Jonathan Omare, against PENGASSAN over alleged breach of their rights.
The plaintiffs, who are members of the Chevron branch of the association, had sought an order restraining the defendants from holding any delegates conference pending determination of the suit.
Joined as defendants in the suit were PENGASSAN, its Chevron branch, Mr Esanubi Frank and Mr Ayanate Kio.
The plaintiffs had earlier filed a suit before a Federal High Court in Lagos, but had to file a notice of discontinuance following an objection raised by the defendants.
The defendants had challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to hear the suit which they claimed was labour related matter.
Consequently, the plaintiffs instituted a fresh suit before the NIC by way of ex-parte application, seeking similar relief.
The plaintiffs averred in their affidavit that they were duly elected as delegates to the PENGASSAN conference, adding that their tenure was valid for a term of three years.
They averred that the defendants cancelled their names as delegates before the expiration of their tenure, thereby denying them the rights to vote and be voted for at the conference.
The plaintiffs also claimed that in a bid to prevent them from exercising their franchise, the second and third defendants set up a disciplinary committee to try them after they expressed the fear that their rights were being trampled.
They said that the panel declared them guilty, even when there was no evidence against them as to the commission of any offence.
The plaintiffs, therefore, seek a declaration that the removal of their names as delegates to the zonal and national conferences was unconstitutional.
They also sought an order mandating the defendants to include their names as delegates and an order of perpetual injunction restraining them from holding the conference, until the illegality occasioned by their removal was redressed.