LawPavilion Online


Back

MOBIL PRODUCING NIGERIA UNLIMITED v. OKON JOHNSON & ORS

(2018) LPELR-44359(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 20th day of April, 2018

SC.33/2010


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMIRU SANUSI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

MOBIL PRODUCING NIGERIA UNLIMITED - Appellant(s)

AND

1. OKON JOHNSON
2. NKEREUWEM AKPE
3. NSITIGHE IKPAM
4. CALISTUS NWAFOR
5. EMMANUEL NWOKEZI
6. ERIC TEENWI
7. AFFIONG ETIM
8. AMANGI ALA
9. JOSEPH BAMISHAYE
10. GODWIN TOMBRA
11. CHARLES OKON
12. DADA ROTIMI
13. RAJI LATEEF
14. TAIWO LAIDI
15. OPUBO SUKUBO
(For themselves and on behalf of other Supernumerary Police Officers working as Security Officers for the Protection of Properties of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited)
16. INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE
17. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, AKWA IBOM STATE
18. NIGERIA POLICE COUNCIL - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Appointment of Supernumerary Police Officers.
FACTS:
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division, setting aside the decision of the Federal High Court sitting at Uyo.

The 1st - 15th Respondents are security personnel who were engaged to secure the properties of the Appellant. At various times, the 1st - 15th Respondents responded to the Appellant's advertisement for recruitment into the security unit of the Appellant as spy Police Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited. They took the qualifying examination conducted by the Appellant and were selected for interview by the Appellant. Upon their success at the interview, they were offered employment into the security unit of the Appellant, with their salaries and emolument determined by the Appellant. They were sent for training to the 16th - 18th Respondents on basic guards duties. Thereafter the 1st - 15th Respondents were issued certificates of participation in the course and subsequently resumed duty of securing the Appellant's properties. To the utter surprise of the 1st - 15th Respondents, the Appellant urged the 17th Respondent to absorb the 1st - 15th Respondents into its supernumerary police outfit without the knowledge of the 1st - 15th Respondents and the 16th and 18th Respondents.

When the 17th Respondent transferred the 1st - 15th Respondents from one State to another, they protested and kicked against the said transfer on the ground that they were not the employees of the 16th - 18th Respondents but those of the Appellant and that only the Appellant could effect their transfer being their employer. Furthermore, the 1st - 15th Respondents protested the attempt by the Appellant to transfer their services to that of the 16th - 18th Respondents whose process of employment or recruitment is expressly provided for in the Statute under Section 18 of the Police Act. As a result of the protest, the 16th Respondent posited that the issue of transfer of the 1st - 15th Respondents was within the prerogative of the Appellant which is the company that employed them. Despite that, the Appellant still insisted that the 1st - 15th Respondents are the employees of the 16th - 18th Respondents so as to deny them their entitlement as its employees. The 1st - 15th Respondents thereafter commenced an action by way of Originating Summons and sought a number of reliefs.

The matter proceeded to trial, after parties filed and exchanged pleadings. The trial Court held that the 1st to 15th respondents are not employees of the appellant but those of the 16th to 18th respondents. Dissatisfied with the judgment of the learned trial Judge, the 1st - 15th Respondents appealed successfully to the Court of Appeal. Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The issues for determination in the appeal are:
1. Whether the Court should have considered the Force Administration Instruction/Force Order, which complements the Police Act with regards to the employment of Supernumerary police, before it determined who is a Supernumerary Police Officer when it held that a candidate into the Supernumerary force must have been a police officer in the Nigeria Police Force.
2. Whether the Exhibits that seek to show employment of the Respondents as Supernumerary Police Officer are contracts of service considering that they purported to fulfill an illegal objective, and are inchoate contracts which do not express the intent and understanding of the parties at the time it was entered into.
3. Whether the Lower Court could grant reliefs derived from the Police Act and also order their resistant after it had held that the plaintiff were the employees of the 1st Defendant.

DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the appeal was dismissed.


Read Full Judgment