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THE NIGERIA UNION OF TEACHERS TARABA STATE & ORS v. REV. SARDUANA HABU & ORS

(2018) LPELR-44057(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 23rd day of March, 2018

SC.106/2005


Before Their Lordships

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUDIRAT MOTONMORI OLATOKUNBO KEKERE-EKUN Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

EJEMBI EKO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

1. THE NIGERIA UNION OF TEACHERS TARABA STATE
2. PERMANENT SECRETARY (MINISTRY OF EDUCATION TARABA STATE)
3. TARABA STATE TEACHING SERVICE BOARD
4. ACCOUNTANT-GENERAL, TARABA STATE
5. ATTORNEY-GENERAL, TARABA STATE
6. JONAH KATAPS (CHAIRMAN NUT, TARABA STATE)
7. MAMMAN KEFAS MUNGA
[Executive Sec. Teaching Service Board, Taraba State] - Appellant(s)

AND

1. REV. SARDUANA HABU
2. MR. TANKO DANJUMA
3. MALLAM SULE ABASU
4. MALLAM MOHAMMED MUNGA
(for themselves and on behalf of Academic Staff of Secondary Schools in Taraba State) - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Service of Court Process(es).
FACTS:
The Respondents were the applicants at the Taraba State High Court, suing for themselves and on behalf of the Academic Staff of Secondary Schools in Taraba State. The Respondents initiated this action at the trial High Court against the Appellants for the enforcement of their fundamental rights guaranteed by Sections 34, 35 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (the 1999 Constitution) and Articles 2, 5, 6, 10 & 11 of the African Charter on Human Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap 10 LFN 1990. The substance of their suit, brought under the Fundamental Right (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, is that, having withdrawn their membership of and resigned from the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) (the 1st Appellant); their employers, the Taraba State Teaching Service Board [2nd Appellant], was obligated to respect their decision and stop deducting "check off dues and Teachers Welfare Premium" from their salaries and paying over the same to NUT. They insist that such monies cannot be forcefully deducted from their salaries and paid to a rival union on their behalf. The Respondents maintained that they have migrated from NUT to another Union called the Conference of Secondary School Tutors (COSST). 

The trial High Court (Agya, J.) in its ruling delivered on 4th November, 2003, upon the preliminary objection of the 1st and 6th Respondents in the application, struck out the suit on the ground that it had no jurisdiction to entertain and determine the matter. On appeal by the Respondents herein, the applicants, the Court of Appeal upon allowing the appeal, set aside the decision of the trial Court. It further ordered that the suit be heard de novo. 

This further appeal to the Supreme Court was at the instance of the aggrieved Appellants, who were the respondents at both the trial Court and the Court of Appeal.


ISSUES:
The apex Court determined the appeal on the Appellants' issue two as follows:
Whether the decision of the Court of Appeal that there was proof of service on the 1st and 6th Appellants but they absented themselves in Court following which the Court invoked the provision of Order 6 Rule 9(5) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2002 thereby hearing the appeal before it without the 1st and 6th Appellants, does not constitute a breach of the 1st and 6th Appellants' rights to fair hearing?

DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the appeal succeeded and was allowed. Consequently, the Judgment of the Court of Appeal being null and void, was set aside. The appeal No. CA/J/79/2004 was remitted to the Court of Appeal to be heard de novo.


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