RULING The Claimant commenced this action via a complaint dated 9/1/17 and filed on 9/1/18, claiming the following Reliefs: 1) A DECLARATION that the Claimant has a right to exercise a possessory lien over her official vehicle (Blue Toyota Corolla, 2008 model, Reg. No: ABUJA RBC 707 RX) given to her by the 1st Defendant pending payment of all her outstanding salary and other entitlements by the Defendants. 2) A DECLARATION that the Claimant is entitled to N44,347,521.40 (forty Four Million, Three Hundred & Four Seven Thousand, Five Hundred & Twenty One Naira, Forty Kobo) being the computation of the Claimant’s final entitlements as at 4th October, 2017 when the Claimant voluntarily retired from the employment of the Defendants. 3) AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants from forcefully collecting the said vehicle (Blue Toyota Corolla, 2008 model, Reg. No.: ABUJA RBC 707 RX) which is still in the custody of the Claimant pending the payment of all her outstanding salary and other entitlements by the Defendants. 4) AN ORDER of this Honourable Court directing and mandating the Defendants to pay the Claimant the sum N44, 347,521.40 (forty Four Million, Three Hundred & Four Seven Thousand, Five Hundred & Twenty One Naira, Forty Kobo) being the computation of the Claimant’s final entitlements as at 4th October, 2017 when the Claimant retired voluntarily from the employment of the Defendants. 5) AN ORDER of this Honourable Court directing and mandating the Defendant to remit the sum N1, 456,548.96 (One Million, Four Hundred and Fifty Six Thousand, Five Hundred and Forty Eight Naira, Ninety Six Kobo) due as the Claimant’s outstanding/contributory pension between November, 2016 to October, 2017 to ARM Pension. 6) AN ORDER of this Honourable Court mandating the Defendant to pay post judgment interest of 10% on the judgment sum from the date of delivery of the judgment until the judgment sum is liquidated. 7) AN ORDER of this Honourable Court compelling the Defendants to pay the Claimant the sum of N20, 000,000,00 (Twenty Million Naira) as general damages for the hardship and psychological trauma, ill-treatments suffered by the Claimant as a result of the unwarranted actions of the Defendants. Upon being served with the originating processes commencing this suit, the Defendants filed motion on notice dated and filed on 21/2/18. The application was brought pursuant to Order 17 Rules 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 8 and 9 of the of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, (Civil procedure) Rules, 2017 praying for an order of this Honourable Court striking out this suit No. NICN/ABJ/08/2018for want of jurisdiction and for such further or other order (S) as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances. The grounds for this application are as follows: 1. The Writ of Summons dated 9th January, 2017 is a stale document. 2. The Statement of Claim is signed by a Law Firm and not a Legal Practitioner. 3. There is an alteration on Statement on Oath of the Claimant contrary to the Rules. 4. Mr. Eliav Homossary is a misjoinder in the suit. The application is supported by 12 Paragraph Affidavit and …exhibits. In line with rules of this Court a written address was filed along with the motion on notice. The germane facts on which this application was predicated are that the Writ of Summons in respect of this suit is dated 9th January, 2017 and the said date of 9th January, 2017 was altered by writing ‘8’ in place of ‘7’ on the Writ. The said alteration was not endorsed by the Registrar of this Honourable Court. The alteration was effected with a black Pen/Biro. To confirm the date of the Writ/Complaint, the column on page 3 of the Writ for endorsement is conspicuously stated “dated………day of ………………2017’’. The Statement of Claim was signed in the name of a Law Firm (A.T. YUSUF CHAMBERS) and not a Legal Practitioner. The said Statement of Claim did not disclose whether the Lawyer is representing the Claimant or Defendant. The date on the Statement on Oath of Bello, Ifeyinwa Stella deposed to on 9th January, 2017 was altered by writing ‘8’ in place of ‘7’. The date on the Statement on Oath of Amaka Jaja deposed to on 9th January, 2017 was also altered by writting ‘8’ in place ‘7’. The said Writ of Summons/Complaint is now more than 12 months old going by its date of 9th January, 2017. That on the Writ/Complaint, there is a subscription to the effect that the Lifespan of the Complaint is six months unless it was renewed afterwards. That Mr. Eliav Homossany is joined as a party (2nd Defendant) in this suit. The grouse of the Claimant against Mr. Eliav Homossany is as a result of his report to the Maitama Police Station on the threat to his life by the Claimant. The said report is currently being investigated by the Police. The said report is an allegation of crime different from the issue of employment of the Claimant by the 1st Defendant, Which is a civil matter. Sam Agbo Counsel for the Defendants/Applicants in his oral submission before the Court, contended that there is no counter-affidavit before the Court as the purported counter-affidavit was filed out of time and no leave was sought counsel relied on Order 17 Rule of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017. Counsel then informed the Court he is relying on the averments contained in the affidavit in support of the motion on notice. Counsel also adopted the written address filed along with the motion as his argument. In the written address Counsel submitted three issues for determination, they are: 1. Whether the Writ (Complaint) is competent having regards to the fact that it was not served within six (6) months and having regards to the alterations thereon? 2. Whether the Statement of Claim is valid having regards to the fact that it was signed in the name of a Law firm and not a Legal Practitioner? 3. Whether Mr. Eliav Homossany who is sued as 2nd Defendant in this action is a case of misjoinder? ARGUMENT: ISSUE 1: Whether the Writ (Complaint) is competent having regards to the fact that it was not served within six (6) months and having regards to the alterations thereon? In arguing issue one, Counsel submitted that the law is well settled beyond reproach that in determining the jurisdiction of the Court, upon an objection to the competence of an action or any ground which challenges the jurisdiction of the court, which is a threshold issue, the Court must peruse the Writ of Summons (in this case the Complaint) with the Claimant’s Statement of Claim or the Originating Summons with the Plaintiff’s Affidavit in support of the Originating Summons. Counsel contended that in the instant case upon a careful perusal of the Court Processes, it will be noticed that: a. That the Writ of Summons in respect of this suit is dated 9th January, 2017; b. That the said date of 9th January, 2017 was altered by written “8” in place of “7” on the writ. c. That the said alteration in (b) above was not endorsed by the Registrar of this Honourable Court. According to Counsel the question that arises for the consideration of this Honourable Court is whether a writ of Summons, in this case the Complaint, can be amended or altered? My Lord, we submit that a writ of summons cannot be amended let alone an alteration. For this proposition of the law, we commend the case of ODEJAYI V. HENLEY INDUSTRIES LTD (2013) 27 WRN 120 @ 128 R. 7 to this Honourable Court. The pronouncement of the Court on this is as follows: “An incompetent process cannot be amended. A defective writ of summons is void ab initio. It is a nullity and cannot be amended. Indeed, all proceedings based on it are a nullity.” Counsel contended the situation with the present Complaint is worse than an amendment. The date of the Complaint was altered without the authority of the Honourable Court. The Registrar of this Honourable Court signed the Complaint. Thereafter the date of the Complaint was altered from 2017 to 2018 by the Claimant. The affected page is herewith attached for your perusal. Since this alteration is unauthorized, the date of the Complaint is 9th January, 2017 which means that the process is more than one year old as at the time of its service on 15th of January, 2018. At any rate, by the pronouncement in ODEJAYI V. HENLEY INDUSTRIES LTD (SUPRA), a writ of summons cannot be amended or altered. Counsel referred to page 1 of the Complaint where the following Memorandum is subscribed, to wit: “This Complaint is to be served within six calendar months from the date thereof or if renewed, within three calendar months from the date of the last renewal, including the day of such, and not afterwards,” Counsel submitted from the above the “date thereof” is the date of the Complaint and not the date that it was filed. It is trite that processes are dated before filing. Given that the life span of a Writ (Complaint) is 6 months, the Writ (Complaint) itself and the service on the Defendant is a nullity having been served after a period of one year. In the words of Uwa JCA in AWOJOLU V. ODEYEMI (2013) 14 WRN 28 @ 38, the effect of an incompetent writ is that it is as bad as there being no writ at all. The learned justice of the Court of Appeal stated as follows: “It is the law that where the original writ has been declared incompetent, it is as bad as there being no writ at all. It is trite that you cannot put something on nothing. See the old case of Mcfoy v. U.A.C (2000) 15 WRN 185; (1961) 3 ALL ER 1169; (1962) 15 WRN 185; (1961) 3 ALL ER 1169; (1962) A.C 152”. It is further submitted that in order to establish the date of the writ (Complaint), the acknowledgment page of the Writ/Complaint is relevant. A cursory look at the acknowledgement page reveals that the Writ/Complaint was to be served in the year 2017 with the following endorsement. “Endorsement to be made on the copy of Complaint forthwith after service. This complaint was served by me at ……………on the Defendants (here insert mode of service) on the ……………………day of ……………………2017 Endorsed the ……………..day of ……………………………….2017.” It is the contention of Counsel that a Complaint that was supposed to be endorsed in 2017 could not have possibly been issued in 2018. This confirms that the date of the Complaint is 9th January, 2017. All these point to one fact, that is, that the writ (Complaint) is a stale document having not been served on the Defendants within 6 months as provided by Order 6 Rule 4 (1) of the Rules of this Honourable Court. Even though Order 6 Rule 5 provides for the renewal of a stale Writ/Complaint, there is no evidence on the fact of the document that an application for such renewal was undertaken with a view to granting leave to renew it. In the absence of such renewal, the Writ/Complaint as it is today is tantamount to a cheque drawn for than 6 months which will not be honoured by the bankers. In the circumstance, Counsel urged the Court to resolve issue 1 in favour of the Defendants/Applicants by holding that the Complaint (Writ) is a stale document and its service on the Defendant on 15th January, 2018 is a nullity. Again, Counsel further urged the Court to hold that the Writ/Complaint being an originating Process of Court becomes invalid when unlawfully altered as in the instant suit. ISSUE 2 Whether the Statement of Claim is valid having regards to the fact that it was signed In the name of a Law Firm and not a Legal Practitioner? Counsel submitted that in the course of going through the Originating Processes he observed that the Statement of Claim was signed in the name of a Law Firm, not a Legal practitioner. Also observed is that in the Statement of Claim and other originating processes, the Counsel failed to state the party he is representing contrary to the Law. These are against the provisions of the law on this subject. It is submitted that by the provisions of section 2(1) and Section 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act, the person entitled to sign a Legal Process is a Legal Practitioner whose name is on the roll and a Law firm. A cursory look at the Statement of Claim shows that the signature on it is on top of A.T. Yusuf Chambers which said A.T Yusuf Chambers is not a Legal Practitioner whose name is on the roll. Although, the name Ahmed Tijani Yusuf Esq, is printed on the left side of the document, there is no signature on that side indicating that the said Legal Practitioner signed the document in his name. to support this submission Counsel relies on the Supreme Court case in MINISTRY OF WORKS AND TRANSPORT (ADAMAWA STATE) V. YAKUBU (2013) 24 WRN 1@ 8 directed on how Counsel should sign Court Processes in the following words: “All process filed in court are to be signed as follows: First, the signature of Counsel, which may be any contraption. Secondly, the name of Counsel clearly written. Thirdly, who Counsel represents. Fourthly, name and address of legal firm Counsel contended that all that is on the Statement of Claim filed in satisfaction of the four requirements above is the name and address of the Law firm. The first three requirements of signature, name of Counsel Represents are not provided. Although there is a signature on the Statement of Claim, it is signed on top of A.T. Yusuf Chambers. The said A.T Yusuf Chambers is not a person and cannot have a signature. In GUARANTY TRUST BANK PLC V. INNOSON NIG. LTD (2017) 48 W.R.N 1 @ 10 10-11, Ejembi Eko, JSC had this to say on who should sign court processes. “…….. literal construction of the law is that, legal practitioners who are animate personalities should sign Court processes and not a firm of Legal Practitioners which is inanimate and cannot be found in the roll of this Court …..” Counsel contended that the underlining issue here is that A.T. Yusuf Chambers is inanimate and therefore cannot validly sign the Processes. Even though Ahmed Tijani Yusuf Esq is written on the left hand side of the Statement of Claim, there is no signature at that corner to indicate that he indeed signed the Statement of Claim. The inevitable conclusion herein is that the signature on top of A.T. Yusuf Chambers indicates that the law firm signed the Statement of Claim which is not allowed under the Rules. The second issue is the name of Counsel written clearly on the process. What we have on the process at signature column are as follows: 1. Signature 2. A.T Yusuf Chambers 3. Notary Public of Nigeria 4. Address and Telephone number The name of Counsel is omitted as A.T. Yusuf Chambers is not a Counsel whose name is on the roll. The next requirement going by this authority is to state who Counsel represents in the proceeding, thus the process should state whether the Counsel is representing the Claimant or the Defendant. In the instant case, Counsel is more interested in stating that he is a Notary public of Nigeria and that is what is reflected in the processes contrary to the Rules. The Statement of facts does not state who the Counsel represents. This we humbly submit is fatal to the Statement of facts. Counsel asked what is the consequences of the foregoing to the entire processes filed by Counsel? The answer given by Counsel is that it robs this Honourable Court of its jurisdiction to hear and determine this matter. In HAMZAT V. SANNI (2016) 21 W.R.N 77 @ 82, Galadima, JSC had this to say on the effect of a defective Court Process: “Any defect in competence of a court process is fatal and the proceedings arising there from will be rendered a nullity, no matter how well conducted it is…..” In further support of the above submission Counsel cited FBN PLC v. MAIWADA (2013) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1348)@ 44 and BRAITWAITE V. SKYE BANK PLC (2013) 5 NWLR (Pt.1346) @ 1 It is submitted that added to the foregoing is the additional problem of the date on the two Statements on Oath of the witnesses. While 2017 was printed on the statements, this was altered to 2018 by the Deponent without any endorsement. Counsel refer the Court to section 118 of the Evidence Act 2011 which provides as follows: “The person before whom an affidavit is taken shall not allow it, when sworn, to be altered in any manner without being re-sworn; and may refuse to allow an altered affidavit to be re-sworn and require instead a fresh affidavit.” It is further submitted that in the case of UDESEGBE V. S.P.D.C.N (2008) 41 WRN 183 @ 187 per Shoremi, JCA, has this to say: “Under Section 90 of the Evidence Act any erasure or alteration shall be attested to by the person before whom it is taken, who shall affix his signature or initial in the margin immediately opposite to the alteration or erasure, there is no indication of any attestation by the person before whom the affidavit in support is taken, it therefore become doubtful. See Ikennah v. Bosah (1997) 3 NWLR (pt.495) 503”. Section 90 of the Evidence Act is in pari material with section 117(2) of the Evidence Act, 2011. It the contention of Counsel that a Statement on Oath is in the class of Affidavits having been sworn before the Commissioner for Oaths and these rules apply to them. The alterations on them requires that the Statements on Oath be re-sworn. Since this was not done, we humbly submit that the said Statements are incompetent, leaving bare the claims without evidence. If Statements of claims are not supported with evidence given the invalidity of the Statement on Oath, there is no basis upon which the court can consider the claims. Counsel pray this Court to resolve this issue in favour of the Defendants/Applicants by holding that the Statement of Claim and the accompanying Statements on Oaths are invalid having not been endorsed/signed according to the provisions of the Law and therefore cannot be relied upon by this Honourable Court. ISSUE 3: Whether Mr. Eliav Homossany who is sued as 2nd Defendant in this action is a case of misjoinder? A Claimant may in one action claim reliefs against one or more Defendants in respect of two or more causes of action. This however, is subject to the following qualifications: a. That the Defendants are alleged to be liable in the same capacities in respect of all the causes of action. b. That the Defendants are held to be liable in the capacity of Executor/administrator of an Estate and in their personal capacities. None of the above qualifications exist in the instant case. We shall proceed to narrate the two causes of action filed by the Claimant in this action: 1. The first cause of action herein is that of employment between the Claimant and the 1st Defendant whereby the Claimant is alleging to have retired without being paid what she termed her final entitlements. 2. The second cause of action has to do with a report of threat to life of the 2nd Defendant against the Claimant to the Maitama Police Division which is currently being investigated. The question is, can these causes of actions be tried together by this Honourable Court? Our response is in the negative and our stand is taken given consideration to the following reason.: 1. By the provisions of section 254C(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the jurisdiction of this court is in civil causes and matters. 2. Mr. Eliav Homossany sued as the 2nd Defendant herein is a different person from the person of the 1st Defendant. Liability in the same capacity in the different causes of action does not therefore exist. 3. The personal capacity of Mr. Eliav Homossany in which the criminal report is made to the Police is different from the official capacity as the C.E.O of the 1st Defendant. It is the submission of Counsel that given the above reasons, the matter of employment of the Claimant is between the Claimant and the 1st Defendant and the report of threat to life to the Police which is a criminal matter is completely different from the first cause of action. The next issue to be considered in this matter is whether Mr. Eliav Homossany sued as 2nd Defendant is a necessary party or a desirable party? In considering who a necessary party is, the following questions arise: a. Is the cause or matter liable to be defeated by non-joinder of the 2nd Defendant (Mr. Eliav Homossany)? b. Is it possible to adjudicate on the cause or matter unless Mr. Eliav Homossany is added as a Defendant? c. Is Mr. Eliav Homossany a person whose presence before the court as a Defendant will be necessary in order to enable the Court to effectually and completely adjudicate or settle all the questions involved in the cause or matter? Counsel answer the questions he posed above in the negative i.e, Mr. Eliav Homossany (the 2nd Defendant) is not a necessary party considering the questions posed above. On this point, we refer my Lord to the case of BAIDO V. INEC (2012) 31 WRN 27 @ 36 on the definition of a necessary party where Yakubu JCA had this to say: “The Law is very well settled that a necessary party is the person, without whom an action in court cannot be effectively and completely determined and disposed of. The authorities on this principle of law are a basket full….”. To further buttress his position Counsel placed reliance on the dictum of Onnoghen, JSC, (as he then was) (now CJN), where he stated, thus: on the distinction between desirable party and necessary party in F.B.N PLC V. OZOKWERE (2014) 9 WRN 1 @ 7: “There is a distinction between the desire of making someone a party to a suit and the necessity of making him a party. For a person to be party to an action, he must be necessary party so to as be bound by the decision in the proceedings. See peenok v. Hotel Presidential (1983) 4 NCLR 122; (1982) 12 SC. 127; (1982) 13 NSCC 477. If the court can decide the claim of the Plaintiff with the parties before it, it will proceed to do just that irrespective of the fact that the relief sought in the action might affect a person not joined…” In further buttressing this submission Counsel refers to the case of BUHARI V. INEC (2008) 18 WRN 36 @ 59 R. 22 where Fabiyi JSC as he then was stated as follows: “It is extant in the petition, that the commission is a party to same. Non joinder of its official will not operate to void the petition. The 5th Respondent should not have been joined, in the first instance, in his personal capacity. And besides, the 5th Respondent has also been joined in the instant Petition as 6th Respondent in his official status as the Chief Electoral Commission. …This is a clear instance of misjoinder. Since the 5th Respondent is not properly joined in law, his name is hereby struck out.” Counsel submitted the matter before this court will not be defeated by the non-joinder of Mr. Eliav Homossany (2nd Defendant) in this suit. It is possible to adjudicate on this matter without Mr. Eliav Homossany. Mr. Eliav Homossany should not have been joined in the first instance in his personal capacity. If he should have been joined in the suit at all, that should have been in his official capacity as the Chief Executive Officer of the 1st Defendant and not in his personal capacity. It is also submitted that the joinder of the 2nd Defendant is alien to the Rules of this Honourable Court. On this Counsel refers to Order 13 Rule 4 of the Rules of this Honourable Court which emphatically provides that a person can be joined as a Defendant only if there is any relief claimed against him/her. Order 13 Rule 14(2) clearly provides that the court may strike out parties that are improperly brought before this Honourable Court. It is submitted that this Court is clothed with the requisite jurisdiction to strike out the name of the 2nd Defendant for misjoinder because without his presence in the court, there will be effective and complete adjudication in resolving all questions and issues in this case. See UKU V. OKUMAGBA (2001) 41 WRN 133; (1974) 3 S.C. 35; (1974) 1 ALL NLR (1) 475. In concluding his submission Counsel opined that this suit as presently constituted is incompetent and should be struck out. Counsel urged Court to decline jurisdiction and strike out the suit in view of these massive noncompliance of the originating documents with the Law. OPPOSITION TO THE APPLICATION In reaction to this application the Claimant filed a 19 paragraphs counter-affidavit and a written address. T. A. T. Yusuf, Esq; Counsel for the Claimant in his oral adumbration relied on all the paragraphs of the Counter-affidavit. Counsel also adopted the written address as his argument in opposition to the application. In the written address three issues wre submitted for consideration. They are: 1. ‘‘WHETHER THE WRIT (COMPLAINT) BEFORE THIS COURT IS COMPLETENT’’. 2. ‘‘WHETHER THE STATEMENT OF CLAIM AS PRESENTLY CONSTITUTED WAS SIGNED BY A LEGAL PRACTITIONER AND WHETHER THE STATEMENTS ON OATH ARE VALID’’. 3. ‘‘WHETHER THE 2ND DEFENDANT IS A NECESSARY PARTY TO THIS SUIT’’. ARGUMENT ISSUE 1 WHETHER THE WRIT (COMPLAINT) BEFORE THIS COURT IS COMPETENT Counsel begun his submission by answering the issue for determination in the affirmative and that the Writ (sic) before the Court is very competent. Counsel submitted that a careful look at the processes before the Court will show that the Writ (sic) of Summons is dated by the Registrar 9th January, 2018; whilst the Statement of Claim (complaint) (sic), List of Witnesses and List of Documents are dated 20th December, 2017 by Counsel to the Claimant, Ahmed Tijani Yusuf, Esq. However, the process itself was filed on the 9th January, 2018. We refer my Noble Lord to paragraphs 5 to 18 of the Counter-affidavit of Summaiya Mohammed. Counsel submitted this objection by the Defendants is uncalled for; it is only a calculated attempt to delay this case. From the Registrar’s Stamp on the face of the Writ of Summons, it is crystal clear that the writ of summons was filed on the 9th January, 2018 and NOT 9th January, 2017 as averred by the Deponent. Counsel submitted that with regards to the date the Claimant’s Counsel, Ahmed Tijani Yusuf, Esq dated and signed the Statement of Claim at page 15, List of Witnesses at page 33 and List of Documents at page 34 which is 20th December, 2017. No one is at a lost as to the day the process is dated and filed. It is the contention of Counsel that this Suit would not have been dated and filed on the 9th January, 2017 because as at this day, the Claimant is still a staff of the Defendants. The Claimant voluntarily retired from the employment of the Defendants on the 4th October, 2017. As at this day, the Claimant did not know if she was going to institute this action. The Claimant has not even briefed her Counsel, Ahmed Tijani Yusuf, Esq, Counsel refer the Court to the Writ of Summons (sic) and all the process before it especially the resignation letter of the Claimant and the letter from A.T. Yusuf Chambers to the Defendants dated 7th December, 2017. It is our submission that the writ of Summons (sic) is valid; it has not expired; it is barely three (3) months old, same dated 9th January, 2018 and filed on the same 9th January, 2018 as evident from the stamp of the registrar of this Court. The Statement of Claim, List of Writ of Documents are dated 20th December, 2017 but the process itself was file on the 9th January, 2018. Counsel urged the Court to take judicial notice of the endorsement of the Registrar and to hold that the Writ is valid, competent and still within time. ISSUES 2 WHETHER THE STATEMENT OF CLAIM AS PRESENTLY CONSTITUTED WAS SIGNED BY A LEGAL PRACTITIONER AND WHETHER THE STATEMENTS ON OATH ARE VALID It is contended by Counsel that it is not in doubt that the Claimant’s Counsel, Ahmed Tijani Yusuf, Esq; signed the Statement of Claim. Counsel refer the Court to the date the Claimant’s Counsel, Ahmed Tijani Yusuf, Esq; dated and signed the Statement of Claim at page 15 List of Witnesses at page 33 and List of Documents at page 34 which is 20th December, 2017. No one is at a lost as to the day the process is dated and filed. Counsel submitted that there is no basis for quarrelling on issue of the name Ahmed Tijani Yusuf, Esq is “printed on the left hand side of the document and that no signature on that side is indicating that the said Legal Practitioner signed the document in his name, the explanation as to why such happened was that the name appeared on the left hand side of the Statement of Claim (sic) (page 15) has been explained in paragraph 10 of the counter-affidavit of Summaiya Mohammed. It is also submitted that the two (2) Statement of Oath of the Claimant (Amaka Jaja) and Bello Ifeyinwa Stella are valid and competent. The two Oaths were not altered in any way. Their statements are intact. Counsel place heavy reliance on section 118 of the Evidence Act, 2011 and the case of UDESEGBE V. S.P.D.CN (2008) 41 WRN 183 @ 187, to submit that a Statement on Oath in a Writ is different from the affidavit envisaged under the Evidence Act. Assuming without conceding that they are the same, we humbly submit that there is no alteration whatsoever in averments of any of the witnesses to warrant their Statements on Oath to be re-sworn before a Commissioner for Oath. The averments of a witness is as contained in the opening paragraph of the Statement on Oath/affidavit which reads, “I…., do hereby make oath and state as follows” to the closing paragraph of the Statement on Oath which reads, “That I make this Oath in good faith…” The alteration of “7” to replace with “8” to read, 2018 was an honest and bona fide alteration which has nothing to do with the averments of the witnesses. It is only when the averments in an affidavit are altered that one can begin to say that such affidavit need to be re-sworn before a Commissioner for Oath and that is not the case here. Counsel urged the Court to so hold. ISSUE 3 WHETHER THE 2ND DEFENDANT IS A NECESSARY PARTY TO THIS SUIT Counsel answer this question in the affirmative and submitted that the 2nd Defendant is a necessary party for the determination of this suit. Counsel submitted that the 2nd Defendant is a Director and the Chief Executive Officer of the 1st Defendant. From the Counter-Affidavit of Summaiya Mohammed and from the Statement of Claim of the Claimant, it is crystal clear the roles played by the 2nd Defendant. It is the submission of Counsel that in determining whether a suit discloses reasonable cause of action against a party is the content of the Statement of Claim and not the extent to which one relief co-exist with another. See DANTATA V MOHAMMED (2000)7 NWLR (PT. 664) PG. 176, WHERE THE Court held thus:- “In order to determine whether the Statement of Claim has disclosed a reasonable cause of action, what the Court should consider are the contents of the Statement of Claim and not the extent to which one relief co-exist with another. Having considered the contents of the Statement of Claim deemed to have been admitted, the question is whether the cause of action has some chance of success notwithstanding that it may be weak or not likely to succeed. Thus, it is relevant to consider the weakness of the Plaintiff’s claim. What is important is to examine the averments in the Statement of Claim and see if they disclose some cause of action or raise some questions fit to be decided by the Court….” Counsel submitted in the present case, the Defendants are deemed to have admitted the contents of the Claimant’s Statement of Claim having not file a Defence. In concluding his argument Counsel urged the Court to hold that the preliminary objection of the Defendant is frivolous, flimsy, and premature and a waste of time to say the least. This Court should order the Defendants to file their Defence (if they have any). COURT’S DECISION I have carefully and painstakingly perused the originating processes commencing this suit, as well as the preliminary objection raised by the Defendant/Applicant to the competence of this suit. I have equally examined response by the Claimant in opposition to this application. Counsel for both parties have formulated three issues for determination. The issues were similar but couched in different words. In my own view the issues calling for resolution in this application, are: 1. Having regards to the lifespan of a complaint, alleged alteration of date and dispute on signing of the Court process by a legal practitioner this suit is competent as it is presently constituted’’. 2. ‘‘Whether the 2nd Defendant in this suit is a necessary party to this suit’’. Before proceeding to determine the issues formulated above for resolution, I wish to state that I observed in the course of studying the entire processes filed in suit, that Counsel on both sides do not seems to have appreciate that the Rules of this Court are not same with the Rules of other Courts, more particularly in references to parties and documents. The reason for this is simple and not farfetched, this Court is a specialized Court that need to have distinct provisions identical to it. Counsel for both sides fell into the error of referring to Claimant as Plaintiff and Statement of facts as Statement of claim. I have also noticed some alterations, a part from those under contention, as well as some spelling errors. This is a serious challenge. Generally Lawyers are known to be vigilant and circumspect when it comes to the issue of drafting of documents. Therefore, Counsel should always ensure processes meant for filing before the Court are checked and proof read before filing. It is this lack of circumspection that led to the filing of this application. I need not to say more. The Defendant/Applicants argued that the Complaint together with the Statement of facts are incompetent. On the complaint Counsel argued that it was served outside the six Months allowed for the lifespan of a Complaint. The Claimant on the other hand submitted that that the Complaint is barely three Months old. It is also the case of the Defendants/Applicants that the Complaint and the Statement of facts were not signed by a Legal practitioner and therefore contravened the provisions of Legal Practitioners Act. To the Claimant there was no infraction of the provisions of the Legal Practitioner the processes were duly signed by a Legal Practitioner in line with Legal Practitioners Act. It is also stated that the name of the Legal Practitioner is at the bottom left of the process and NBA official stamp for legal practitioners is under the name that the signature was at the right of the document as a result of type setting error by the secretary of the Counsel for the Claimant. Counsel for both parties have made copious submissions in support of their respective position on the competency of the originating processes commencing this suit. What emerges from a scrutiny of the originating processes are that the Complaint was dated 9th day of January 2017 and filed at the Court’s registry on the 9th day of January 2018. This is in consonance with the provisions of Order 6 Rule 1 sub-Rules (1), (2) and (3). This clearly means that the complaint was issued and sealed on the 9th day of January 2018. Therefore the effective date to start counting the lifespan of the Complaint is 10th day of January 2018. From the proof of service of the Complaint as contained in the case file the Defendants/Applicants were served with the originating processes on 15/1/18. This means that the service of the originating processes was effected on the Defendants/Applicants within six days of the issuance of the Originating Process by the Court. I so hold that the Complaint as at the time it was issued and served on the Defendant/Applicant was valid its lifespan never elapsed. On the alteration of date on the complaint and statement of fact from 2017 to 2018, the Complaint in the Court’s file is clearly not altered by any means it still read 2017. Likewise the date at page 15 of the statement of facts also read 2017 no alteration. It is also my finding from the processes in the case file that the witness statement on oath of Amaka Jaja, at pages 26 to 32 of the originating processes there was no alteration it read 2017. While the affidavit commissioner for oath signed on 9/1/18. The date on list of witnesses read 20th day of December 2017, page 33, the same with list of documents page 34. However I have noticed on page 25 of the originating process the witness statement on oath of Bello Ifeyinwa Stella that figure ‘7’ was altered with black pen to read ‘8’. But the date written by the Commissioner of oaths at page 25 read 9/1/18, which shows that the statement was sworn in on 9/1/18 and not 9/1/17 as the Counsel for the defendant want the Court to believe. From my finding from the examination of the record of this Court which the Court is entitled to in the process of resolution of dispute, the originating Court Processes and the accompanying documents were issued by the Court on 9/1/18. But the documents were made or prepared by the Counsel for the Claimant on the date stated therein. As pointed out it is only the last page of the witness statement on oath of Bello Ifeyinwa Stella, that figure ‘7’ was changed with black pen to ‘8’. The question that call for resolution is can the alteration of 7 to make it 8 by pen invalidate the Originating Process to make it incompetent. The Counsel for the Defendant/Applicant hinged his argument on section 117(2) of the Evidence Act dealing with erasures, interlineation or alteration made before affidavit is sworn, shall be attested to by the person before whom it is taken, who shall affix his signature or initial in the margin immediately opposite to the interlineation, alteration or erasures., the provisions under the evidence Act on affidavits places a condition precedent which ought to be fulfilled to render the affidavit competent. It is to be noted that the provision being relied upon to contest the validity of the witness statement on oath is applicable to affidavit evidence and not to witness statement on oath it should be understood that witness statement on oath is product of Rules of Court and not based on statutory provisions they are not on the same pedestal with affidavit evidence. The witness statement on oath does not become evidence because it was sworn before Commissioner for oath, witness statement on oath only become evidence after it had been adopted by the witness in open Court after he had been sworn in to testify and he was cross-examined. It is apparent that the contention of Counsel in respect of incompetence of the witness statement on oath as a result of alteration is based on grave misconception of law. It is my view that alteration of witness statement on oath does not invalidate the statement. Such objection can only be taken at the trial when it is offered for adoption as evidence of the witness concerned. On the issue of lack of signing of the originating process by a legal practitioner. Paragraph 10 of the counter-affidavit has offered some explanation as to what led to the Counsel signing the Statement of fact on the name of his firm, the deponent to the affidavit attributed the error to her own. Can this be a valid excuse. It is apt at this juncture to refer to Order 3 Rule 10 (c) of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (Civil Procedure) Rules 2017, it provide; The complaint shall: (i) be signed by the party to the proceedings or by such part’s legal practitioner; Ii ……. Also Order 4 Rule 4(2) and (3) of the Rules of this Court provides: ‘‘(2) where claimant sue through counsel, the counsel shall state on the originating process the address, telephone numbers and e-mail address(es) of the Counsel’s chambers as the contact information for service ‘‘(3) an originating process shall be signed by the claimant or counsel where the claimant sue through a counsel. Going by the above provisions of the Rules of Court an Originating Process meant for filing before the Court must be signed either by the Claimant or his legal practitioner. It well established principles of construction that where words to be interpreted are clear and unambiguous the court is enjoined to give those words their natural and ordinary they should be given their simple and ordinary meanings. It is apparent from the rules of this court that an originating process may be commenced by litigant in person or by his legal practitioner. Where he acts through a legal practitioner as in this case, the said legal practitioner must be disclosed and he is sign and seal such originating process. The bone of contention here is can the originating process commencing this suit be said to have been signed by a legal practitioner when having regards to the facts that signature authenticating the process in the above quoted provisions of the rules of this court was on top of name of firm and not that of a legal practitioner. Section 2(1) and 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act provide as follows: 3. Entitlement to practice (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a person shall be entitled to practice as barrister and solicitor if, and only if, his name is on the roll. Section 24; ‘’legal practitioner’’ means a person entitled in accordance with the provisions of this Act to practice as barrister or as a barrister and solicitor, either generally or for the purposes of any particular office or proceedings; The originating process commencing this suit was not signed in compliance with above provisions of the law. The question here under consideration is not a novel one and had attracted the attention of the highest court in the land as far back as 1967, in the case of REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF APPOSTOLIC CHURCH, LAGOS AREA V RAHMAN AKINDE (1967) NMLR 263, the position of the Supreme Court is that such a document is null and void. The issue re-echoed in the case of OKAFOR V NWEKE (2007) 10 NWLR (PT.1043) 521, where the earlier position was reiterated and affirmed. An unsuccessful attempt was made to move the apex court to depart from the position in REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF APOSTOLIC CHURCH, LAGOS AREA V RAHMAN AKINDE (Supra) and OKAFOR V NWEKE (Supra) which necessitated the sitting of a full panel of the said court at which eminent legal practitioners in the country were invited as amici curie. This was in FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC & ANOR. V MAIWADA & ORS. (2013)5 NWLR (PT.1348) 397 which was a consolidated appeal. The legal position was further reiterated and reinforced by the apex court in a plethora of decisions regarding the issue some of the decisions are; SLB CONSORTIUM LTD V NNPC (2012) 52 NSCQR 269, (2011) 9 NWLR (PT.1252) 317. The recent decision where the position was reaffirmed are the cases of DR. AJEWUMI BILI RAJI V UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN & ORS (2018) LPELR-44692(SC), CHUKWUDI NNALIMUO & ORS. V SUNDAY ELODUMUO & ORS LER (2018) SC.278/2005. It is to be noted that the Originating Processes commencing this suit was signed by A. T. Yusuf Chambers which is not a legal practitioner known to law. The issue is not a mere irregularity pursuant to the rules of court but an issue of substantive law pursuant to Legal Practitioners Act. See OKAFOE V NWEKE (Supra). The position of the law is very well settled that a law firm cannot legally sign and or file any process in courts any such process signed or filed by a law firm is incompetent in law. See FBN V MAIWADA (supra). In law a suit must be commenced by due process and there must not be a feature that that prevent court from exercising its jurisdiction. See MADUKOLO V NKENDLIM (supra). Jurisdiction is pillar upon which case stands and once it is shown that a court lacks jurisdiction, the foundation of the case is not only shaken, the case crumbles. In effect there is no case before the court. For adjudication. OKOLO & ANOR. V UNION BANK (2004) 3 NWLR (PT.859) 87, MINISTRY OF WORKS & TRANSPORT ADAMAWA STATE V YAKUBU (2013) 6 NWLR (PT.1351) 481. According to the apex Court the fatal effect of the signing of an originating process by a law firm is that the entire suit was incompetent ab initio. It was dead at the point of filing. This according to the apex Court processes filed in contravention of the law as in this case, is fundamentally defective and incompetent. It is inchoate and legally non-existent. Counsel for the Claimant has attempted to offer explanation in paragraph 10 of the counter-affidavit as to the reasons why the signature on the document was on top of the name of a firm and not on top of the name of the legal practitioner. I am afraid, with the state of the law more particularly the pronouncements of the apex Court of the land, which are replete in our law Reports, such an excuse is unacceptable in law the Supreme Court has in a number of cases decided that for a document required to be signed by a legal practitioner to valid in law, the signature must appear on top of the name of the Counsel and not the name of his firm or Chambers. In this case the signature was not on top of the name of the legal practitioner, it was on top of the name of the firm i.e A. T. Yusuf Chambers this is a clear infraction and discretion of the law. The failure to sign the statement facts on top of the name of Counsel is fatal to this suit and I so hold and found. In view of the foregoing, the originating processes commencing this suit were fundamentally defective and could not be redeemed they are worthless pieces of paper incapable of invoking the jurisdiction of the court. Being the root of an action the importance of Originating Processes to success of or failure of an action cannot be overemphasized. Therefore legal practitioners in initiating action must ensure that all necessary steps that required to be taken are duly perfected. As failure to adhere to the dictate of the law will be fatal the jurisdiction of the court cannot be activated with a defective process. On issue two, the Defendant has argued that the cause of action in respect of the 2nd Defendant was based on lodgment of report to police and the police are already investigating the report. In law reasonable cause of action has been held to be factual situations that gives a party right to claim against another. For this Court to determine this issue the statement of claim will be scrutinized. A careful perusal of the Claimant’s statement of facts clearly shows that there is no specific claim against the 2nd Defendant regarding the issue of resignation or termination of appointment of the Claimant from the services of the 1st Defendant. What is clear from the statement of facts is that the 2nd Defendant is an agent of the 1st Defendant like the Claimant. The inclusion of 2nd Defendant as can be gleaned from the statement of facts is not unconnected with the report of threat to his life lodged with the police against the Claimant. In the circumstances I hold that there is no reasonable cause of action regarding resignation or termination of appointment of the Claimant disclosed against the 2nd Defendant. The name of the 2nd Defendant was therefore wrongly joined in this suit and I so hold. In the sum total, I found that the entire suit as is presently constituted is in competent for having been initiated by a law firm and not by the Claimant or legal practitioner duly enroll to practice law in Nigeria. The suit is hereby struck out for incompetence. Sanusi Kado, Judge.