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R.T.T.O.U. v. N.U.M.W

     REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF TIPPING TRAILER OWNERS UNION

V

NIGERIA UNION OF MINE WORKERS

CHRIS WHITE NWAHIE

CHINEDU UKWU

COURT OF APPEAL

( CALABAR DIVISION )

KUMAI B. AKAAHS JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

MASSOUD ABDULRAHMAN OREDOLA JCA

ISAIAH OLUFEMI AKEJU JCA

CA/C/25/2008

THURSDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2010

COURT - Relief not claimed - Where court grants - Impropriety of

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Extortion and illegal collection of taxes - Allegations of - Standard of proof required to establish

EVIDENCE - Document - Specific reference to in affidavit - Whether can be properly tendered thereby

Issues:

  1. Whether having regard to exhibit B and the Trade Union  Act, Cap. T14, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the trial court was right in holding that the appellant is a member of the 1 st respondent.
  2. Whether the trial court was right in relying on a document not before the court in arriving at its judgment that the appellant’s members and drivers are members of 1st respondent and not exempted  from payment of levies imposed by the respondents.
  3. Whether the trial court had the jurisdiction to grant relief not claimed and against persons who were not parties to the suit.
  4. Whether the trial court was right in holding that the appellant failed to prove allegation of extortion or collection of illegal levies and dues by the respondents.

Facts:

The plaintiff filed an action in the High Court of Cross River by originating  summons seeking determination of the following question;whether the 1st - 3rd defendants are entitled or empowered by any law to impose or collect taxes, levies, dues, or any money by whatever name called, from the plaintiff and its members under the Trade Union Act and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and whether they are entitled by any law to force the plaintiff and its members to belong to the 1st defendant or to prevent the plaintiff from existing or conducting its affairs under the Trade Union Act, 1999 Constitution and CAMA. It sought declaratory and injunctive reliefs that the 1st - 3rd defendants are not authorized or empowered by any law to impose or collect union dues, taxes, levies or any monies from the plaintiff and its members or from the proceeds of the haulage trucks belonging to the plaintiff and its members not being members of 1st defendant; that the dues so imposed on plaintiff and its members are arbitrary, null and void, the plaintiff has a legal right to exist and does exist as an incorporated body from 1992 for purpose of its objectives as incorporated under CAMA and have the constitutional right to  freedom of association to freely belong to any association of their choice without molestation by anybody including the defendants. Order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from enforcing union dues or levy on plaintiff and its members or further harassing them and threatening to prevent them from  conducting their legitimate business and from arbitrary imposition of dues on them and tampering with their right of freedom of association. The defendants counterclaimed for declarations that the asking or collection of union dues from the plaintiff does not amount to the plaintiff and its members paying union dues or levies, tax or any sum to the defendants and the plaintiff and its members should stop forthwith from interfering or hindering the 1st defendant and its officers from  collecting union levies and dues from the said drivers. They also sought determination of the following questions; whether the 1st defendant is not entitled to ask and collect its agreed levies and dues  from the members without recourse to or restriction from the plaintiff though the said members of the 1st defendant are  employees of the members of the  plaintiff and whether the latter has any legal right to stop the defendants from collecting union levies from 1st defendant’s members. The trial court dismissed plaintiff’s claims and allowed the counterclaim. Aggrieved, the plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeal