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Industrial Court dismisses Application for injunction against NOSDRA

Hon. Justice Emmanuel Sublim of the Abuja Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court has dismissed the application for an interlocutory injunction filed by Emmanuel Ndame against the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and 2 others to maintain status quo ante bellum as at when he instituted the case in 2023 pending the determination for lacking merit.

The Court held that granting Emmanuel Ndame’s application is to expose the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency to suffer irreparable damage as opposed to Mr. Emmanuel who can be compensated by a subsequent order(s) of the court if he succeeds at the end of the trial.

From facts, the applicant- Emmanuel Ndame had filed a Motion on Notice prayed to the Court for an order of interlocutory injunction to restrain NOSDRA and 2 others, their privies and agents from punishing, demoting, dismissing, retiring, intimidating, frustrating, stopping or reducing the payment of his salaries and allowances and/or terminating of service pending the determination of the suit.

Mr. Emmanuel averred that the consequent reduction in his earnings by stripping him of the position of Acting Director when the case is on is targeted at frustrating him for the mere reason that he approached the Court for rescue and redress and further that NOSDRA does not have the statutory power or right to make a crime out of the exercise of his constitutional right to seek redress in Court.

In defence, the 1st respondent- National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) contended that the appointment of Mr. Emmanuel as Acting Director was a temporary Appointment usually for one year, pending when a substantive Director is appointed as provided for under the Public Service Rules, and further that the subject of litigation in the case is for Mr. Emmanuel’s promotion to the substantive position of Director and it is not such a claim that can be wasted or damaged or even frittered away.

Learned Counsel to the NOSDRA, S.A Ramalan Esq, with K.D Musa Esq submitted that damages can be an adequate remedy for Mr. Emmanuel’s claims, such that Mr. Emmanuel would be put comfortably back in the same position he is seeking the relief of injunction without much ado, urged the court to dismiss the application for being unmeritorious.

In a well-considered ruling, the Presiding Judge, Justice Emmanuel Sublim held that the Court is prohibited from delving into the substantive matter of a suit at the interlocutory level, and it is not within the province of the court at this stage of the proceedings to pronounce on substantive matters or issues in the course of proceedings.

Justice Emmanuel dismissed Emmanuel’s application and held that there cannot be an order for interlocutory injunction for an act or event that has taken place retrospectively, and there is no proof that any form of damage or injury will be suffered by Mr. Emmanuel if he doesn’t remain in the Acting position.

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