The respondents sued the appellant at the Federal High Court for, among several reliefs, an order compelling the appellant to effect the directive of the Federal Government of Nigeria contained in a circular, dated the 6th of July, 1999 increasing the pension of the retired employees of the defunct National Electric Power Authority who retired in the year 2000 by 30%. The appellant filed a preliminary objection on the ground that the 401 respondents were former employees of the appellant with several and individual contracts of employment and as such the respondents ought to have filed individual actions as against the representative action employed by the respondents. The appellant also contended that there are contentious issues to be tried in the action and that the respondents should have sued by writ of summons and not originating summons used by the respondent. After hearing the preliminary objection, the trial judge dismissed it.
The appellant was dissatisfied with the decision of the trial court and therefore filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division. One of the issues distilled by the appellant is whether the action of the respondents was properly commenced by an originating summons instead of a writ of summons as there are contentious issues to be tried and resolved.
Held: (Unanimously dismissing the appeal)