MANAGEMENT OF FEDERAL PALACE HOTEL (NIG) LTD AND HOTELS AND PERSONAL SERVICES SENIOR STAFF ASSOCIATION OFNIGERIA (NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT) HON. JUSTICE (CHIEF) P.A. ATILADE - PRESIDENT S.O. KOKU, ESQ. - MEMBER ALHAJI Z.M. BELLO - MEMBER SUIT NO: - NIC/15/87 DATE OF RULING - WEDNESDAY, 24TH FEBRUARY, 1988 LABOUR LAW - National Industrial Court - Matter referred to it by Minister - Substance of - Whether award by the Industrial Arbitration Panel or issues in the terms of reference. LABOUR LAW - National Industrial Court - Power of to call witnesses to give evidence and to produce documents as may be required by it - Rule 18, National Industrial Court Rules, 1979. ISSUE: Whether the National Industrial Court of its own motion has power to call witnesses to give evidence. FACTS: The dispute between the parties was referred to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP), which duly gave its award. The Appellant was dissatisfied with the IAP award and objected thereto. Consequently, the matter was referred to the National Industrial Court for resolution. At its sitting of 10th November, 1987, the Court of its own motion invited two witnesses to give evidence at a subsequent hearing of the matter. The Respondent, not happy with the Court's invitation to the witnesses, raised a preliminary objection to it, on the ground that the Court could not re-open the case as if it were a Court of first instance by calling evidence, since the matter was before it by way of HELD: (Dismissing the Respondent's preliminary objection): 1. On Power of the National Industrial Court to call witnesses to give evidence and to produce documents as may be required by it - By virtue of Rule 18 of the National Industrial Court Rules, 1979, the Court may of its own motion, or on the application of any party, orders any person to attend before the Court as a witness or to produce any document. In the instant case, the preliminary objection to the Court's invitation to two witnesses to give evidence at the hearing of the matter was, therefore, overruled and dismissed. 2. On Substance of matter referred to the National Industrial Court where a party objects to award of Industrial Arbitration Panel - Where the Minister refers a matter to the National Industrial Court after a par objected to an award by the Industrial Arbitration Panel, what is referred to the Court is not the Award by the Industrial Arbitration Panel, but the dispute arising from the issues listed in the terms of reference.