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Friday, April 23, 2021

JUDGMENT: Industrial Court declares Bayelsa Govt as party to Suit, dismisses objection

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The National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Bashar Alkali has dismissed the preliminary objection filed by Government of Bayelsa State, Attorney General and Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Local Government Administration in a matter brought by former Councillors of Ekeremor Local Government Area seeking for entitlement claims and damages.

The Presiding Judge, Yenagoa Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Bashar Alkali held that Bayelsa State Government and two others are proper parties to be joined in the suit, that there are so many issues which cannot be settled without their involvement.

Responding to the suit, the Government of Bayelsa State and two others had filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection sought for an order, to expunge or to strike out their names having no liability to pay the Claimants salaries and allowances arising from their supposed service/occupation as Councillors in Ekeremor Local Government, that the Constitution clearly demarcates the State and the Local Government with separate liabilities and none can be jester posed on the other.

In opposition, learned counsel to the former Councillors Mr. Ndeze Anthony Esq submitted that the appointment of Principal Officers such as Auditors to monitor the LGA funds are all appointed by the 1st Defendant, that it will be wrong if the 1st to the 3rd Defendants are expunged from the suit urged the Court to refuse the application.

In his ruling, the presiding Judge, Justice Alkali held that a necessary or proper party to a case is a person whose presence is necessary for the effectual and complete adjudication of the questions involved in the cause or matter.

“I have carefully analyzed the claims of the Claimants (comprising the Complaint and Statement of Facts), and by looking at paragraphs 13, 16, 18 of the Statement of Facts of the Claimants/Respondents the Claimants averred that the 1st Defendant truncated their mandate so as to be sworn in as elected Councilors in the 4th Defendant. Therefore, it’s my ardent belief that the Defendants/Applicants are both necessary and desirable parties in this suit. And I so hold.”

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