Justice Babatunde Adejumo of the National Industrial Court in Abuja on Friday adjourned till June 13 the hearing of application for stay of proceedings filed in the suit instituted by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
The case was transferred to the National Industrial Court by an order of Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court in Abuja, who had said that he lacked jurisdiction to determine the suit.
Justice Kolawole had held in his judgment delivered on May 20, 2014 at the Federal High Court that the suit was employment and labour-related and therefore ought to have been originally filed at the industrial court.
Sanusi, through his counsel, Mr. Kola Awodein, had joined President Goodluck Jonathan; the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke; and the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, as the first to the third defendants respectively.
At the proceedings for the mention of the matter at the industrial court on Friday, AGF’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, urged Justice Adejumo to stay proceedings since all the parties, including the plaintiff, had appealed against the judgment of the Federal High Court.
But the judge refused to stay proceedings on the grounds that parties had appealed against the judgment of the Federal High Court, insisting that he must first hear the applications requesting for it.
The judge said, “There are constraints. Section 47 of the National Industrial Court Act says that appeal should not serve as a stay of proceedings or stay of execution of judgments.
“The best I can do is to allow you to come back and argue your applications for stay of proceedings and I will determine whether it will be stayed or not.”
He added that all the parties had also filed separate applications of stay of proceedings. But the judge rejected the request to adjourn till July, saying June would be preferred since the time when Sanusi’s tenure would expire was in issue.
Though Sanusi’s tenure expires on June 4, 2014, the court adjourned the matter till June 13.
The judge said it was important the matter was heard as early as possible so as to avoid giving the impression that it did not want to hear the matter before the expiration of the plaintiff’s tenure.
“I would not want a situation where people would say, I don’t want to hear the matter,” the judge said.
Sanusi was represented on Friday by Chima Okereke. The President was represented by Matthew Echo and E.E Gerald represented the IGP.
Awodein raised 20 grounds of appeal in his notice of appeal dated May 28, 2014.
He argued that contrary to the Federal High Court’s ruling, Sanusi’s case was not labour and employment-related and therefore the court ought to have affirmed jurisdiction over the matter.