A Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday restrained the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers and the President of the Institute, from interfering with the right of four of its members from practicing as licensed Estate Surveyors and Valuers.
The court also restrained the Institute, it’s president, privies, officers, agents or anyone howsoever described from publishing on any social media platform or forwarding to any newspaper for the purposes of publishing 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 applicants.
The court also made an interim order against the Institute, it’s president, agents, servants and or privies from giving effect to the letters all dated January 31, 2023 issued by the Institute, purportedly expelling three members of the Institute, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed against them.
Justice Akintayo Aluko, who sat over the matter, made the above order of interim injunction, after hearing the motion filed and argued by Dr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), counsel to the applicants in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/191/2023.
Four members of the Institute, namely, ESV. Richard Olodu; ESV. Oyedepo Olalekan; ESV. Afolabi Lewis Emmanuel and ESV. Abraham Akinropo initiated the action.
In their affidavit deposed to, by the first applicant, ESV. Olodu, stated that he became an Associate Member of the first defendant in March 23 2012, and that he is currently the Assistant Honorary National Publicity Secretary of the first defendant, while he know for a fact that the second – fourth applicants hold or have held positions as the current Chairman of Kwara Branch, past Publicity Secretary of the Lagos Branch 2005/2007 and Secretary, NIESV Electoral Committee 2011/2012 as well as the past Assistant Secretary, NIESV Electoral Appeal Committee 2016, respectively.
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 without any record of disobedience 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 averred 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.
And that in fulfillment of the requirements, 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 (EGM) of the first defendant could not hold.
He swore 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,” he said.
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’s known norms of nomination at the floor of the Council.
He said 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.
Meanwhile, Justice Aluko after granting the order of interim injunction adjourned the matter till February 23, for hearing of the applicants’ motion on notice.