RULING. This deals with motion on notice dated 17/4/18 and filed on the same day. The application was brought pursuant to Order 17 Rule 1 & 4 of the National industrial Court of Nigeria (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017 and the inherent jurisdiction of this Honourable Court. The application is praying for striking out this suit in limine for want of jurisdiction. The ground for this application are as stated below:- 1. The claimant/applicant instituted this action because he was aggrieved by the alleged wrongful termination of his employment by the 1st defendant/applicant. This decision was allegedly based on the report of the 1st defendant/applicant’s appointments, promotions and disciplinary committee (the committee). 2. By clause 16.01 of the 1st defendant/applicant’s staff manual, an employee who is unsatisfied by certain decisions against him is required to appeal to the 1st defendant/applicant’s management committee or the 2nd defendant/applicant. 3. The claimant/respondent commenced this action before this Honourable court without first appealing to either the 1st defendant/applicant’s management committee or the 2nd defendant/applicant. 4. As a result, the claimant/respondent failed to fulfil a necessary condition precedent to commencing this action before a court of competent jurisdiction. In support of this application, the defendants/applicants filed a 6 paragraphs affidavit and some annexures marked as exhibits BPE1 – BPE4. A written address was also filed along with the motion on notice. The crux of the averments as contained in the affidavit in support of this application are to the effect that this suit was as a result of alleged wrongful termination of the claimant/respondent’s appointment. It was also stated that vide clause 16.01 of the 1st defendant/applicant’s staff manual an employee who is not satisfied with certain decisions against him can appeal to the 1st defendant/applicant’s management committee or to the 2nd defendant/applicant before he can approach court and challenge the decision. The defendant/applicant also filed a written address along with the motion on notice, wherein a lone issue was formulated for resolution, to wit; ‘‘Whether the failure of the claimant to fulfil the condition precedent robs this court of jurisdiction to entertain this suit’’. Davidson Oturu, Esq; counsel for the defendants/applicants in his oral submission informed the court that he is relying on all the depositions contained in the affidavit in support of the motion on notice and the exhibits attached therein. Counsel also informed the court that he is adopting the written address filed before the court in support of this application as his argument. In arguing the issue for determination counsel submitted that this court lacks jurisdiction to entertain this matter as it is presently constituted as the claimant/respondent failed to fulfil a condition precedent prior to commencing this action. It is argued that the absence of fulfilment of the condition precedent this court lacks jurisdiction to entertain this suit. To support this submission counsel cited the cases of MADUKOLU V NKENDLIM (1962) 1 ALL NLR 341, ERHUMMUNSE V EHIRARE (1998) 10 NWLR (Pt.568) 53, NIGERCARE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LTD V ADAMAWA TATE WATER BOARD & ORS. (2008) LPELR-1997, OBONG V EDET & ANOR (2008) LPELR-8454. Counsel submitted that where condition precedent is not fulfilled as in this case proceeding before the court must be regarded as a nullity. Counsel contended that the claimant/respondent failed to fulfil necessary condition precedent before commencing this suit, thereby violating clause 16.01 of staff manual which is an integral part of the claimant/respondent’s condition of employment. It is argued that clause 16.01 is binding and mandate claimant/respondent to appeal against decision of the defendants before taking legal action. Counsel urged the court to give effect to clause 16.01. On this contention reliance was placed on MOMOH V CBN (2007) 14 NWLR (PT.1055) 504. It is the contention of counsel that vide exhibit BPE4, the claimant wrote a letter dated 9/12/17, to the chairman of NCP requesting for his personal intervention. This according to counsel was wrong as the claimant/respondent is to make his appeal to the NCP and not to the Chairman of the NCP, this means the claimant/respondent did not fulfil condition precedent. It is also argued that exhibit BPE4 preceded exhibit BPE5 (letter of termination), therefore there was no complaint as required. It is the submission of counsel that the failure of the claimant/respondent to comply with the provision of clause 16.01 of staff manual has rendered this suit premature as this court’s jurisdiction to entertain this suit has not arisen. It is contended that the proper procedure was for the claimant/respondent is to first appeal against the defendants/applicants decision to terminate his appointment. An appeal is a necessary condition precedent which will vest jurisdiction on this court to entertain the claimant’s claim. Counsel submitted that when it is established that court lacks jurisdiction the appropriate order is to strike out the case, on this submission counsel cited and relied on the case of DANGANA V USMAN (2013) 6 NWLR (PT.1349) 50, UMANA V ATTAH (2006) 17 NWLR (PT.1009) 503. In concluding his submission counsel urged the court to uphold the objection and strike out this suit for want of jurisdiction. In reaction to this application the claimant/respondent filed a 22 paragraphs counter-affidavit in opposition to this application. A written address was also filed along with the counter-affidavit. In the counter-affidavit it was stated that this action was not only based on wrongful termination of employment but also on failure of the Appointments, promotions and disciplinary committee’s failure to observe the rule of natural justice. It was also stated that clause 16.01 of staff manual does not contain any mandatory provision requiring an employee whose right have been breached by the employer to appeal to the management committee or the national council on privatisation before he can approach court to challenge the decision. It was averred that clause 16.01 of staff manual provides for procedure for handling grievance of non-contentious nature in the departments, units or appeals arising therefrom. It was also stated that the decision and resolutions which can form the basis of an appeal to the management or the council are the ones which emanate from the decision or resolutions reached by a head of department or unit. It was stated that clause 16.01 of staff manual does not relate to serious statutory or constitutional breaches against employees which give rise to a right of action in court as happened in the instant case. It was further stated that clause 16.01 of the staff manual relates to certain decisions made against an employee who had raised a grievance to his immediate superior and the said grievance is neither settled nor resolved to his own satisfaction by the head of department or unit. In the written address of the claimant/respondent, filed in opposition to this application a single issue was formulated for determination, thus; ‘‘Whether clause 16.01 of the Bureau of Public Enterprises Staff Manual constitutes a condition precedent which must be fulfilled before the commencement of this action. Prince A. Igajha, Esq; counsel for the claimant/respondent in arguing the issue for determination submitted that the staff manual did not impose any condition precedent which must be fulfilled before instituting this action. Counsel argued that clause 16.01 will be better appreciated if it is read in conjunction with clause 16.00, as the two clauses falls under same subject matter i.e ‘procedure for handling grievance’’ counsel contended that it is wrong to interpret clause 16.01 as laying down condition precedent to be fulfilled before commencing an action. It is the contention of counsel that a careful perusal of the clause will clearly reveal that it is meant for grievances between employees that could be settled by head of department or unit. Counsel went on to state that the prescribed procedure for settling such grievances is for an employee to discuss such a matter in the first instance with his immediate superior. Where no solution was reached. Then the complaint could be made to the head of department/unit. Where no satisfactory solution is found, the employee may then put his grievance in writing through the head of department or unit to the management committee. However, the employee is also at liberty to appeal against any unsatisfactory decision of the head of department or unit on his own behalf (not through the head of department/unit) to the management committee or the council. Counsel also contended that it is interesting to note that any decision reached by the management committee or council on any grievance is final. To that extent the provision of the clause cannot be construed to oust the jurisdiction of the court, neither could they be construed to place a condition precedent to initiating of judicial proceedings to challenge breach of statutory or constitutional rights by the bureau or the council. The cause of action in this matter goes beyond minor grievances of the nature referred to and covered by clauses 16.00 and 16.01 of the manual under consideration. Counsel submitted that in this suit the claimant’s claim is founded on a fundamental violation of claimant’s right to fair hearing. The entire procedure leading up to and including his termination of employment is wrongful and unconstitutional. Counsel contended that it is wrong to argue that the claimant/respondent has not fulfilled a condition precedent, when in actual fact there is no condition precedent stipulated in the staff manual. It is the submission of counsel that this suit was commenced by due process of law, there is no condition precedent to be fulfilled and the subject matter is within the jurisdiction of the court. COURT’S DECISION I have carefully perused the motion on notice, affidavit in support, counter-affidavit filed in opposition as well as the addresses of counsel for both parties. I have equally listened attentively to the oral submissions of counsel in adumbration of their respective position before the court. For me the issue calling for resolution is: ‘‘Whether the provision of clause 16.01 of staff manual of the defendants laid down condition precedent to be fulfilled before an action is instituted in a court of law’’. The Counsel for the Defendant submitted that clause 16.01 of the staff manual will operate as a condition precedent which must be fulfilled by any member of staff aggrieved with the decision of the defendants before approaching a Court of law for redress or ventilation of his grievance. Counsel contended that the clause must be complied with. The claimants on the other hand insisted that the provisions of clause 16.01 violated the rule of natural justice as the Defendants will be judges in their own cause. It is pertinent to point out here that a law which prescribes condition that have to be fulfilled or complied with before a person can commence or institute legal proceedings against anybody or person does not constitute a denial to access to the court by anyone wishing to do so and is not unconstitutional or inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution see Madukolu V Nkendillim (1962) 1 All NLR 587, this case decided that any condition precedent to the exercise of jurisdiction of a Court must be fulfilled. In other words, where a statute provide for a condition precedent to the commencement of an action, failure or neglect to fulfil or complied with the condition will deny the Court jurisdiction to hear the matter. In the case of Saude V Abdallah (1989) 4 NWLR (pt.116) 387, the Supreme Court held that proceeding before a Court of law will be regarded as a nullity where the case before the court was not initiated by due process of law, or that there is a condition precedent to the exercise of jurisdiction. The Court also held that there is non-compliance with due process of law when the procedural requirements have not been complied with, or the preconditions for the exercise of jurisdiction have not been complied with. In such a circumstance, the defect is fatal to the competence of the trial Court to entertain the suit. This is because the Court will in such a situation not be seized with jurisdiction in respect of the action see Abakaliki Local Government Council V Abakaliki Mils Owners Enterprises of Nigeria (1990) 6 NWLR (Pt 155) 182 @ 190. The University of Ife V Fawehinmi Construction Co Ltd (1991) 7 NWLR (Pt 201) 26 @ 37 and 38, Nigerian Cement Company V Nigeria Railway Corporation &Anr. (1992) 1 NWLR (Pt. 220) 747 @761, Anambra State Government V Nwankwo & Ors. (1995) 9 NWLR (Pt. 418) 245 @ 256 and 257. It is patently clear from the foregoing authorities that for a Court of law to be competent to exercise jurisdiction over a matter all conditions precedents to exercise of jurisdiction must be fulfilled. This has not been disputed by the parties in this case. The only area of dispute is that to the defendants/applicants the provision of clause 16.01 of staff manual has imposed condition precedent to be fulfilled before an action can be commenced by the claimant. While the claimant/respondent on his part is contending that the so called condition precedent is not a condition precedent, it is a provision in violation of the Rule of natural justice which prohibit a party to be a judge in his own case. Consequently, it is null and void and of no effect whatsoever. For proper appreciation of the position of law, it is pertinent at this juncture to consider the proper meaning of the word condition and the words condition precedent. In Orakul Resources Ltd V N. C. C. (2007) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1060) 270 @ 307, the Court of Appeal define ‘’condition’’ to mean ‘’ a provision which makes the existence of a right dependent on the happening of an event; the right is then conditional as opposed to an absolute right. A true condition is where the event on which the existence of the right depend is in the future and uncertain’’. In the same case condition precedent was defined as ‘’one on which delays the vesting of a right until the happening of an event’’. Having defined condition precedent it is appropriate to examine the provisions of clause 16.01 in order to appreciate and discern if the provision really laid down condition precedent, I reproduce the relevant provision of clause 16.01 of the staff manual that provides as follows: “An employee who is not satisfied with certain decision against him can appeal on his own behalf to the management committee or the council as the case may be. The decision of the management committee and council shall be final”. The resolution of the issue for determination depends on proper construction of the above quoted provision of clause 16.01 of staff manual. It is to be noted that the objective of any interpretation is to discover the intention of the makers of the document to be interpreted. The duty of the court is to interpret and give adequate and as close as possible accurate and ordinary meaning to the words used in the document, unless this would lead to absurdity or be in conflict with other provisions of the document. This means the clauses of the document should be construed as a whole and should be given an interpretation consistent with the object and general context of the entire document. Ardo V Nyako (2014) 10 NWLR (Pt. 1416) 591 @b 628, PWTH AG V. CEDDI CORP LTD (2012) 2 NWLR (pt 1285) 465 @ 489. Ekeagu V Aliri (1991) 3 NWLR (Pt. 179) 258 @ 377. Ministry of Education Anambra state (2014) 14 NWLR (Pt 1427) 351 @ 377. In interpretation, Court is enjoined to read every word or clause in the document and construe them not in isolation but with reference to the context and other clauses in the document so as to get the real intention of the parties. AMAECHI V INEC (2007) 9 NWLR (Pt1040) 504 @ 536. It is equally important to point out here that the obscurity or doubt of any particular word or words in a document may be removed by reference to associated words, and the meaning of a term may be enlarged or restricted by referring to the object of the whole clause in which it is used, see Ekpo V Calabar Local Government (19993)3 NWLR (Pt. 281) 324 @341. In the case at hand reading the entire provisions of clause 16.01, will revealed that the intention of the makers of the staff manual is not to lay down procedure to be followed by any aggrieved member of staff of the defendants before instituting any action before a Court of Law including this court. The use of the words ‘The decision of the management committee and council shall be final’ in clause 16.01 of staff manual of the 1st defendant clearly shows that what the clause was meant to achieve is to deny members of staff of the defendants aggrieved by the decision of the defendants access to court of law to seek redress for any alleged violation of right or entitlement. With the finality of the decision of the management committee or council then there is no condition precedent to fulfil by any aggrieved member of staff wishing to institute an action. In the circumstance clause 16.01 is null and void to the extent of its inconsistency in denying aggrieved members of staff of the defendants access to Court which the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has granted to any aggrieved person wishing to ventilate in Court. In view of the foregoing, I am of the view that clause 16.01 of the staff manual did not lay condition precedent to be fulfilled by any litigant. The claimants in this case have locus to institute this action. This means that the right of the claimant to approach Court for redress has not been delayed by operation of law. The submission of counsel for the claimant for this Court to hold that clause 16.01 of staff manual, is against the rules of natural justice enshrined in the maxim ‘’Nemo Judex in causa sua’’ is meritorious, it succeeds. The clause is in contravention of the principle of natural justice. The clause cannot in anyway affect the jurisdiction of this court to entertain this suit. In view of reasons adduced above I hold that the claimant’s action before the Court is competent. This court has the requisite jurisdiction to entertain this suit. The preliminary objection is hereby dismissed for not being meritorious. Ruling is entered accordingly. Sanusi Kado, Judge.