A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday has restrained the Incorporated Trustees Of Nigerian Institution Of Estate Surveyors And Valuers and the President of the institute, from interfering with the right to practice as licensed Estate Surveyors and Valuers of four members of the Institution.
The court also restrained the institute and it’s president, their privies, officers, agents or anyone howsoever described from publishing on any social media platform or forwarding to any newspaper agency for the purposes of publishing in any of the national/widely read dailies/newspapers, the findings/conclusions contained in the investigative report of the Institute dated January 27, 2023 and the letters dated January 31, 2023, pending the hearing and final determination of the motion for interlocutory injunction brought against them by the three members of the institute.
The court also made an interim order injunction against the Institute, it’s president, their agents, servants and or privies from giving effect to the letters all dated January 31, 2023 issued by the Institute, purportedly expelling the three members of the Institute, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed against them.
Justice Akintayo Aluko, who presided over the court, made the above order of interim injunction, while granting the motion filed and argued by Dr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), counsel to three members of the Institute in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/191/2023.
Four members of the Institute, ESV. Richard Olodu; ESV. Oyedepo Olalekan; ESV. Afolabi Lewis Emmanuel and ESV. Abraham Akinropo, asked the court for the above order in their motion Exparte brought before the court Pursuant to Orders 26 and 28 of the Federal HIGH Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019 and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction.
He stated that he knows for a fact and through his interactions with the defendants that since their admission into the first Defendant as members, they have at all times demonstrated the highest uprightness expected of honourable members of the first defendant without any record of disobedience to or infringement on the dictates of the Constitution, Rules and Bye-laws or of any conduct likely to breach the common purpose of the association.
He Stated that following the need to discuss certain issues relating to the upcoming elections of the first defendant, Financial members of the first defendant forwarded a Petition to the 1st Defendant with a view to summoning an Extra- Ordinary General Meeting of the first Defendant. And that in fulfilment of the requirements, the members of the first Defendant who so desired to summon the Extra- Ordinary collated signatures of the Financial Professional members of the first Defendant, however, for a plethora of reasons, the Extra- Ordinary Meeting of the first Defendant could not hold.
He averred that surprisingly, after the attempts to hold the EGM, the second defendant who had by then formed the view that the EGM was an attempt to ensure free and fair election which was not going to be in the interest of his sponsored candidates, thereby engaged in calling and threatening some members who signed the convocation of the EGM. Upon becoming the President of the first Defendant, the second defendant instigated the Council of the first defendant to investigate the allegation of signature forgery in the cause of convocation of the EGM of the first defendant.
Based on the above, the deponent stated that on July 30, 2022, the Council of the first Defendant purportedly approved the constitution and appointment of members of an investigation panel all of whom were personally nominated by the second defendant in his Inaugural Speech against the Council known norms of nomination at the floor of the Council. And that sequel to the constitution of the purported investigation panel, invitation letters were sent to the Plaintiffs to appear before the purported investigation panel. Adding that following the purported deliberations by the investigation panel, on January 27, 2023, the panel purportedly reached conclusions/findings expelling them as members of the first Defendant.
He also stated that unless restrained, pending the hearing and determination of motion for interlocutory injunction, the defendants will proceed to publish the purported investigation report over several social and print media as discreet investigation by the Plaintiffs reveal that the defendants have perfected plans to do so.
“Unless restrained, pending the hearing and determination of motion for interlocutory injunction, the Defendants will likely interfere with the Plaintiffs license to practice as Estate Surveyors and Valuers thereby rendering any eventual judgment this Honourable Court more deliver in favor of the Plaintiffs as nugatory. And if not urgently restrained pending the hearing and determination of motion for interlocutory injunction, defendants actions will cause untold economic hardships on them and their families.
Meanwhile, Justice Aluko after granting the order of interim injunction, adjourned the matter till February 23, for hearing of the applicants motion on notice