The Presiding Judge, Lagos Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Maureen Esowe FCIArb has granted an interlocutory injunction restraining Mr. Chukwuji Sylvia and 177 Others, agents, or privies or anyone acting on their behalf from congregating or assembling within or at the entrance of Fidelity Bank premises located anywhere in Nigeria or disrupt the Bank operations pending the determination of the suit filed by the Bank.
Justice Esowe further ordered the Fidelity Bank to undertake in writing to pay damages to Mr. Chukwuji Sylvia and 177 others if at the end of the day it is discovered that the injunction is not supposed to be granted.
From facts, the Claimant’s- Fidelity Bank is contending that Mr. Chukwuji Sylvia and 177 Others were at various times employed by a Service Provider firm and seconded to the Bank to work as support staff, in various categories and did not at any time enter into any employment contract with them, and upon the completion of the tasks/assignments, they were returned to their employer.
The Bank through motion on Notice sought an order of Interlocutory Injunction restraining Mr. Chukwuji Sylvia and 177 others, their agents, privies or anyone acting on Defendant’s behalf, from congregating or assembling within or at the entrance of the bank premises located anywhere in Nigeria or disrupt or interfere with Claimant’s banking operations in relation to the subject matter of the present suit, pending the determination of the suit, on the grounds that the Bank is entitled to peaceful enjoyment of its banking premises, and free from unlawful interference and Damages will not adequately be compensated for loss or damage to its reputation and goodwill.
In opposition, the defendant- Mr. Chukwuji Sylvia and 177 Others posited that Fidelity Bank is in flagrant breach of their contract and has refused to pay their salaries and promote any of them since the dispute and if this application is granted, the balance of convenience will weigh heavily against them as they may never have the opportunity to enjoy their promotions which are overdue.
In reply, the learned counsel to the Fidelity Bank, Chinedu Nneke, Esq with him Franklin Ihedoro, Esq maintained that whether the Defendants are entitled to promotion or not is also an issue that will arise for determination in the substantive suit which cannot be determined at this stage, urged the Court to grant the application in the interest of justice.
In a well-considered ruling, the presiding Judge, Justice Maureen Esowe held that granting the Fidelity Bank application will not be prejudicial to Mr. Chukwuji Sylvia and 177 Others, as their demands which include the real issues before the Court will be adequately addressed without having recourse to their act of congregating or assembling within the Bank premises.
“It is of the very essence of the proper exercise of a judicial discretion which is to be exercised judicially and judiciously that I find that the Application of the Applicant has merit and succeeds.”