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INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE & ORS v. MOBIL PRODUCING NIGERIA UNLIMITED & ORS

(2018) LPELR-44356(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 20th day of April, 2018

SC.378/2010


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

1. INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE
2. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, AKWA IBOM STATE
3. NIGERIA POLICE COUNCIL - Appellant(s)

AND

1. MOBIL PRODUCING NIGERIA UNLIMITED
2. OKON JOHNSON
3. NKEREUWEM AKPE
4. NSITIGHE IKPAM
5. CALISTUS NWAFOR
6. EMMANUEL NWOKEZI
7. ERIC TEENWI
8. AFFIONG ETIM
9. AMANGI ALA
10. JOSEPH BAMISHAYE
11. GODWIN TOMBRA
12. CHARLES OKON
13. DADA ROTIMI
14. RAJI LATEEF
15. TAIWO LAIDI
16. OPUBO SOKUBO
(FOR THEMSELVES AND ON BEHALF OF THE SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICERS WORKING AS SECURITY OFFICERS FOR THE PROTECTION OF PROPERTIES OF MOBIL PRODUCING UNLIMITED) - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

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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 2nd - 16th Respondents are security personnel who were engaged to secure the properties of the 1st respondent. At various times, the 2nd - 16th Respondents responded to the 1st respondent's advertisement for recruitment into the security unit of the 1st respondent as spy Police Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited. They took the qualifying examination conducted by the 1st respondent and were selected for interview. Upon their success at the interview, they were offered employment into the security unit of the 1st respondent, with their salaries and emolument determined by the 1st respondent. They were sent for training to the appellants on basic guards duties. Thereafter the 2nd - 16th Respondents were issued certificates of participation in the course and subsequently resumed duty of securing the 1st respondent's  properties. To the utter surprise of the 2nd - 16th Respondents, the 1st respondent urged the 1st appellant to absorb the 2nd - 16th Respondents into its supernumerary police outfit without the knowledge of the 2nd - 16th Respondents and the appellants.

When the 1st appellant transferred the 2nd - 16th 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 appellants but those of the Appellant and that only the Appellant could effect their transfer being their employer. Furthermore, the 2nd - 16th Respondents protested the attempt by the Appellant to transfer their services to that of the appellants 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 1st appellants posited that the issue of transfer of the 2nd - 16th Respondents was within the prerogative of the Appellant which is the company that employed them. Despite that, the 1st respondent still insisted that the 2nd - 16th Respondents are the employees of the appellants so as to deny them their entitlement as its employees. The 2nd - 16th 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 2nd - 16th Respondents are not employees of the 1st respondent but those of the appellants. Dissatisfied with the judgment of the learned trial Judge, the 2nd - 16th Respondents appealed successfully to the Court of Appeal. Appellants appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The issue for determination in the appeal is:
"Whether the process leading to the employment of the 2nd-16th respondents were in accordance with the provisions of Section 18 of the Police Act to make them the employees of the appellants and subject them to the command of the appellants or that of the 1st respondent."

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


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