The National Industrial Court in Abuja Wednesday okayed a suit filed by a retired judge of Adamawa State High Court, Michael Goji, demanding the payment of his salaries for 23 months and release of three vehicles withheld from him.
The trial judge, Sanusi Kado, in a ruling dismissed the preliminary objection filed against Mr Goji’s suit by the defendants including the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, the Chief Judge and the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The Adamawa State Judicial Service Commission was also among the defendants.
Ruling on the defendants’ preliminary objection, Mr Kado held that the retired judge’s suit was competent.
He, however, noted the suit raised “substantial disputes on facts” which could not be resolved by mere “affidavit evidence” in the originating summons filed by the plaintiff.
The court, therefore, ordered the conversion of the originating summons to a “complaint” which would require parties to call witnesses to testify orally.
Mr Kado ordered the parties to file pleadings in line with the rules of the court.
He ruled, “In view of the above finding, the objection of the claimant/respondent to the preliminary objection of the Adamawa Judicial Service Commission and six others fails because the claimant/respondent has not established any abuse of process, and the said objection is hereby discountenanced.
“In the circumstances and in line with Order 3 rule 17(2) of the rules of this court with my finding that the originating Summons raised substantial disputes on facts, I hereby order the conversion of the Originating Summons to complaint.
“The parties are hereby ordered to file and exchanged pleadings in line with Order 3 rules 8, 9 and 10 of the rules of this court.”
Mr Goji had filed his suit asking the court to declare that the Adamawa State Chief Judge and the NJC lacked the power to withhold his salaries and the allowances from May 2018 to the end of March 2020 while on suspension.
He also asked the court to order the Adamawa State Judicial Service Commission and the State Governor to supply his remaining three official vehicles “which he was entitled to but was not supplied to him during his period of service as a judicial officer”.
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