Court Commences Hearing on PENGASSAN Election Dispute

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By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The National Industrial Court (NIC) sitting in Abuja on Wednesday commenced hearing on the substantive suit seeking the removal from office the current executive of the Abuja branch of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN). 
The suit filed by Mr. Declan Agrinya and Sheyi Gambo as complainants faulted the manner in which the present executive emerged.
The complainants in the suit are also challenging their suspension from the association and want the court to set aside their purported suspension on the grounds that it was wrongful, illegal and unconstitutional.
Hearing on the matter which has been in court since the January 22, 2016 however commenced Wednesday following an earlier ruling which dismissed the preliminary objection raised by the defendants.
At the resumed hearing Wednesday, counsel to the first and eleventh defendants, Mr. Okechukwu Nwoko, informed the court of an application for stay of proceedings on the substantive suit, pending the determination of the appeal he had earlier filed at the appellate court, challenging the ruling on the preliminary objection raised by the defendants.
He posited that the court would be guilty of foisting a situation of fait accompli on the defendants if it goes ahead to hear the substantive matter when an appeal on the matter is still pending at the appellate court.
Reacting, the counsel to the complainants, Baba Isa, urged the court to proceed with the trial, adding that the defendants were in contempt of court already, having disobeyed an earlier court order which stopped them from suspending the complainants and depriving them of their entitlements.
The trial judge, Justice Sanusi Kado, after listening to the submissions of the counsel representing the parties in the matter, however, adjourned to the 17th of October, 2018, to hear all pending applications.