Federal High Court Lagos

Court rules on fundamental rights case against Ikoyi Club

A Lagos State High Court in Igbosere has reserved judgment in a fundamental rights enforcement suit instituted by an ex-Entertainment Chairman of Ikoyi Club 1938, Mr. Gbenga Gbadesire, against the Registered Trustees of the club.

Gbadesire had taken the trustees of the club to court, claiming N100m in damages, over alleged unwarranted or unprocedural expulsion from the club.

Though the court had fixed last week Monday for judgment, the judgment could however not be delivered as it was learnt that the trial judge, Justice K.O. Dawodu, was on “national assignment.”

The court registrars informed the parties that the judgment day would be duly communicated to them.

Gbadesire, who served as the Entertainment Chairman of Ikoyi Club 1938 between February 2006 and February 2008, is contending that his expulsion from the club, via a letter dated October 2, 2008, was not procedural and constitued a breach of Rule 9 of the Ikoyi Club 1938 Rules 2007.

In a 15-paragraph affidavit deposed to by himself, the claimant said he was made to face the disciplinary sub-committee of the club on August 14, 2008, on account of some allegations levelled against him by one Kole Jagun, alleging that he (Gbadesire) acted contrary to Rule 38 (c) and (d) of the club’s rules.

This allegation and his later summon by the sub-committee, eventually led to his suspension from the club for one year via a letter dated August 27, 2008.

He was, however, later informed through a letter dated October 2, 2008, that following a meeting of the registered trustees of the club on September 23, 2008, it was resolved that his membership should be terminated.

The claimant is contending that such decision to expel him from the club was a violation of his fundamental human right to fair hearing and principle of natural justice as enshrined in Section 36 and of the 1999 Constitution.

He also urged the court to declare that his expulsion was a malicious and flagrant abuse of his right to the freedom of association as protected by Section 40 of the Constitution.

The defendants, have however, asked the court to decline jurisdiction over the matter and dismiss Gbadesire’s claims, for failing to explore or exhaust the club’s internal dispute resolution mechanism as provided in section 18 (1) (c) of the club’s rules before heading for court.

The defendants also argued that inasmuch as the constitution recognised a citizen’s freedom of association, the same constitution did not force anyone or group to associate with anyone they are disinclined to associate with.

The defendants urged the court to award cost against the claimant for instituting the action.

Copyright PUNCH.

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