By Giwa SHILE
The defendants in the suit filed by some aggrieved staff of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN), Abuja Branch, have asked the National Industrial Court, Abuja, to stay proceedings on the suit.
The defendants, represented by their counsel, Mr Okechukwu Nwato, made the demand in a new motion filed before Justice Sanusi Kado, on Wednesday.
The defendants include; PENGASSAN Abuja Branch, Mr Aminu Ahmed, Idemudia Oseahon, Agora Jubril, Ogbonnaya Okegeri, Abubakar Haruna, Hasiya Ibrahim.
The others are Alice Isah, Ivy Ogbonselebo, Sanusi Abdurrahim and Wale Ajayi, all members of executive of PENGASSAN, Abuja branch.
They are being sued by Mr Seyi Gambo and Comrade Declan Agrinya, members of the association for breach of their rights and denial of their entitlements.
The claimants had filed the suit in 2016 to challenge the executive members of the Abuja branch of PENGASSAN that there were irregularities in the election that produced the executive in 2015, of which the claimants were aspirants.
The claimants had also prayed the court to declare the 2015 election as null and void and to order for a fresh election for the union, and for the claimants’ entitlements to be paid from 2016 till date.
The claimants further prayed the court to direct the defendants to pay N10 million as general damages for the breach of their rights to fair hearing on the election, and N5 million for exemplary damages for injustice.
It would be recalled that the defendants at the beginning of this suit filed a motion before the court, saying that it has no jurisdiction to hear the matter but the court dismissed it on May 11.
The defendants in another motion before the court said that the claimants in the suit failed to use the internal dispute resolution mechanism provided by PENGASSAN’s constitution before rushing to the court.
The Judge equally dismissed the motion on May 11 for lack of merit and added that the association’s constitution tries to oust the rights of Nigerians from seeking adjudication in the law court.
TBI Africa also reports that Kado had on June 6, granted an order for service of contempt proceedings on the defendants for constatnt breach of court order to the claimants.
The court had ordered the two parties to maintain status quo at the beginning of the suit.
At the resumed hearing, counsel to the defendants informed the court that his clients had filed an appeal at the appellate court following the ruling of the court on May 11 and June 6.
Nwato said the stay of proceedings was necessary in order to wait for the final determination of the appeal.
According to Nwato, if the court proceeds in hearing of the case, it will amount to abuse of court rights and prayed the court to stay proceedings on the matter.
On his part, counsel for the claimants, Mr. First Baba, urged the court to hear the motion for service of contempt filed against the defendants.
Meanwhile, Kado, adjourned until Oct. 17, to hear all the pending applications on the suit.