JUDGMENT Vide order on 13/7/18, made by D. U. Okorowa, J of the Federal High Court sitting at Lokoja Judicial Division, this suit was transferred to this court on ground of lack of jurisdiction on part of the Federal High Court. On 1st of November 2018, when this matter was mentioned before the court, I ordered parties to refile their processes in line with the rules of this court. Thus, the claimant refiled their originating summons dated 13/12/18 and filed on the same day. The defendants in turn refiled their counter-affidavit on 4/12/18 accompanied with exhibits and a written address. In the claimants originating summons dated the 13th day of December, 2018 and filed on the same day, they presented the following questions for resolution. They are:- 1. Whether the 1st and 2nd plaintiffs are members of the council of the Federal University Lokoja for a tenure of four years commencing from August, 2015 in accordance with the provisions of the Federal University Lokoja (Establishment Act), 2015 and the Federal University, Lokoja Academic Brief Vol 1, 2011 2. Whether the said appointment can be bridged in any circumstances save on account of incompetence, misconduct or resignation. 3. Whether the defendants can unilaterally shorten or elongate the tenure of a council member contrary to the express provisions of the Federal University Act, 2015 and the Academic Brief of 2011. 4. Whether, the purported act of the defendants through the 3rd defendant in determining the tenure of the plaintiffs before the expiration of four years is rightful, lawful and of any legal consequence. 5. Whether the tenure of the plaintiffs can be determined before four years after appointment save on account of incompetence, misconduct or resignation. The RELIEFS SOUGHT by the claimants are:- 1. A declaration that the defendants’ letter dated the 6th day of March, 2018 written by the 3rd defendant for and on behalf of the other defendants purportedly determining the tenure of the plaintiffs as members of the council of the federal University, Lokoja is illegall, null, void and of no legal consequence. 2. A declaration that no person or persons can replace the plaintiffs in the council of the Federal University, Lokoja before August, 2019 when they would have completed their four years tenure, except on account of incompetence , misconduct or resignation. 3. A declaration that the plaintiffs remain members of the council of the Federal University, Lokoja until August, 2019 and can only be removed before the end of the tenure on account of incompetence, misconduct or resignation. The originating summons is supported by a 17 paragraphs affidavit sworn to by the 1st claimant. The crux of the facts that led to filing of this suit as can be gleaned from the affidavit evidence are that; the claimants in this suit are members of the council of the 1st defendant representing the University congregation. According to the claimants the appointment was in consonance with the Federal University, Lokoja (Establishment) Act, 2015. The claimant further averred that the their appointment letter stated a tenure of 2 years and there was an understanding of all parties that this was issued in error as it pertains to the tenure which is statutorily provided for. The claimants further averred that the defendants/respondents having been aware of the error had directed the former registrar Hajia Habiba Adeiza to rectify same. However, she never did until her retirement. The claimants/applicants averred that the issue of the error was raised at the council meeting. And the Academic staff Union of Universities through an internal memo drew the attention of the 2nd defendant/respondent to the tenure of 4 years as it relates to the claimants/applicants. The claimants/applicants relied on copies of the letter of appointment, the letter of purported terminating of appointment issued by the registrar, the Act establishing the Federal University, Academic Brief of the University, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) communication to the defendant/respondent dated 11th January and that of 9th April, 2018 to the fact of the tenure and the letter dated the 9th day of April but served on 12th day of April, 2018 calling for election to the position presently occupied by the claimants/applicants, these documents are marked annexures A,B,C,D,E,F and G respectfully. The claimant averred that the next council meeting was scheduled for Monday the 16th day of April, 2018 and the purported letters determining their tenure was a design to illegally and unlawfully prevent them from attending the said council meeting. They are of the opinion that granting the application shall in no way prejudice the defendants/respondents. The claimants in their written address in support of their originating summons adopted the questions for resolution as the issues for determination. G. O. Salihu, Esq; counsel for the claimants in his oral adumbration before the court placed reliance on all the depositions contained in the affidavit in support of the originating summons and the further and better affidavit. Counsel also adopted the written address accompanying the originating summons and the reply on points of law as his argument. In advancing argument on the issues for determination, counsel while heavily relying on all the documents attached to the affidavit in support as annexures A-G and Article 1, 2 and 8 of the 3rd schedule of the Federal University Act 2015 and paragraph 3.4 of the Federal University Academic Brief Vol. 1 of 2011, contended that by operation of law the claimants by being members of council of the 1st defendant have a tenure of four years from date of inauguration as provided by law. Counsel urged the court to grant the reliefs sought in the originating summons. In reaction to the originating summons, the defendants filed a 20 paragraphs counter-affidavit on 4/12/18, deposed to by the 3rd defendant. T. A. Tankp, Esq; counsel for the defendants in oral argument before the court relied on all the averments contained in the counter-affidavit and the exhibits attached therein. Counsel also adopted his written address as his argument. In the counter-affidavit it was averred that the 1st claimant is presently on sabbatical leave from the Federal University of Lokoja to Federal University of Lafia. The offer of one year sabbatical to the 1st claimant by Federal University Lafia, the application for release and the approval given to the 1st claimant for the sabbatical were attached to the counter affidavit as exhibits A1-A3 respectively. It was also stated that the 1st claimant being on sabbatical cannot do anything with the 1st Defendant. It was also averred that the claimants never challenged their two years tenure either in writing or orally. The letters notifying claimants of election of University Congregation dated October 5, 2015 to elect representatives are attached to the counter-affidavit as exhibits B1-B2 respectively. It was stated that the presence of the claimants at the November 2017 meeting of council was to thank them and bid them goodbye farewell by the council. The minutes of the meeting was attached as exhibit C. It was also averred in the counter-affidavit that the claimants’ case is not properly constituted before the court as they cannot sue the university without giving 30 days’ notice to the Vice-Chancellor as contained in the Rules and Regulations governing conditions of service for senior staff of the 1st Defendant. To support this averment reference was made to pages 42-43, section 3.3.1, titled; Right of petition/appeal. The said rules were attached and marked as Exhibit D. The documents attached to the claimants’ affidavit in support of the originating summons were not certified in accordance with the extant rules and regulations. To support this averment reliance was placed on page 17 section 13 of the Act, part III and marked same as Exhibit E. In the written address filed in opposition to the originating summons, the defendants distilled three issues for determination which are; 1. Whether this Honourable Court has jurisdiction to hear this suit as presently constituted? 2. Whether this honourable court can go outside the documents appointing the claimants as members of the council to interpret the contractual agreement between the parties? And 3. Whether originating summons is the proper procedure to have commenced Claimants suit? In arguing issue one, counsel for the defendants referred to paragraphs 14,15 and 16 of their counter affidavits that stated that the claimant suit is not proper/nor competent and hence robs the court of its jurisdiction. Counsel submitted that Claimants have failed to comply with the regulations for senior staff pages 42-43, section 3.3.1 which provides that; ”members of staff who are not satisfied with the foregoing process/steps and are desirous of taking the matter to court of law are required to inform the Vice Chancellor and also give 30 days’ notice before taking such action. Counsel contended that, issue of jurisdiction is fundamental to the hearing of any suit before the court it could be raised at any time, by either of the parties or by the court suo motu or even on appeal for the first time. It is the contention of counsel that failure by the claimants to give 30 days’ notice before commencing this suit is fatal to the claimants’ case and rendered the suit incompetent. Counsel also contended while relying on exhibit E, page 17, section 13 of the Federal University, Lokoja Establishment Act, that the documents attached to the affidavit in support of originating summons were not certified in accordance with the law. Therefore, they are not properly before the court and are incompetent. With respect to issue 2 which is whether this honourable court can go outside the documents appointing the claimants as members of council to interpret the contractual agreement between the parties? The Defendants’ counsel in paragraph 4.01 relied on exhibits B1-B2 in arguing that the court cannot go outside the documents appointing the claimants. It is the contention of counsel that having not objected to the two years tenure the claimants are bound by the terms of agreement which they freely entered. In support of this contention counsel placed reliance on the case of M.B.UB.T.H V NEM CO LTD (2005)18 W.R.N. 113 at 117 Ratio 1 where the court of Appeal held; “it is trite law that parties are bound by the terms of the agreement which they freely entered into and the duty of the court is to interpret the agreement in enforceable terms without more”. In arguing issue three, counsel questioned whether originating summons is the proper procedure to have commenced the claimants’ suit? Counsel contended that the originating summons raised question on termination of appointment. But, the claimants have not submitted to the court any law, contract, deed or any written instrument alleged to be in controversy or to have been breached by the Defendants, which the court has been called upon to interpret. On this contention counsel relied on Order 3 Rule 3 of the National Industrial Court (civil procedure) Rules 2017. It is the contention of counsel that from pages 1-3 of the originating summons the claimant never stated under which law the application was brought before the court. It is submitted that every application must state under which law same is brought to court and hence the defect renders the application incompetent. It is the submission of counsel that none certification of documents attached to affidavit in support is fatal to the case of the claimants. It is also submitted that reference made to documents attached to affidavit as annexures and not as exhibits is wrong in law. By Order 41 Rules 8 of the National Industrial Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2017, annexures are not Exhibits. Therefore, counsel urged the court to expunge the paragraphs supporting the affidavit. It is the contention of counsel that going through all the incompetent documents annexed to the claimants’ application, there is nothing showing that the 1st claimant was appointed and no letter in his name was annexed, but only that of the 2nd claimant. The non-attachment of the 1st claimant’s appointment letter iwas due to his sabbatical leave. See paragraphs 5 and 6 of the counter affidavit and Exhibit A1-A3 respectively. The Defendants’ counsel in paragraph 5.10 argued that by the counter affidavit of the Defendants the suit is contentious as same cannot be determined without the calling of witnesses, therefore, commencing the suit with an originating summons with all the lapses enumerated above is not in order. REPLY ON POINTS OF LAW The second claimant in his further and better affidavit responded to paragraph 7 of the Defendants’ counter affidavit. It was stated that the tenure of the claimants is due to expire in August 2019. It was also averred that in response to paragraph 8 of the defendants counter affidavit they had orally contested the issue of tenure to the 4th defendant on 23rd and 24th of March, 2016 in its meeting and the former registrar was asked to correct the error which she failed to do until she left. It is submitted that the claimants have protested which was made known to Federal Ministry of Education who had directed the 1st defendant to abide by the provisions of the Act but the Defendants neglected the direction. It is also argued that their attendance of November 2017 meeting was not to bid farewell as argued by the defendants. It is also argued that as of April 16, 2016 the defendants still recognized their membership by inviting them for a meeting of the 4th defendant in their own right. Notice of the meeting in claimants own name is attached and marked exhibit BTY. Finally claimant avers that in the defendants’ condition of service requiring pre-action notice is required in relation to discipline of staff who intends to appeal the discipline but in their present case it is not an issue of discipline but a case to protect their interest and right. In their argument accompanying the further and better affidavit the claimants objected to certain paragraphs of the counter-affidavit as being against the law. The claimants raised the issue of ‘Whether paragraphs 6, 7, 14, 15 and 16 of the defendants’ counter affidavit do not offend section 115 of the Evidence Act 2015 and liable to be struck out. And that of; Whether the conduct of the defendants in snubbing the processes of this court and continue after being served the processes in sabotage and affront to the court does not constitute contempt of court and rob them of the favour of the court? In arguing the issues raised by the Defendants, the Claimants’ counsel argued issue 1 which was whether the honourable court has jurisdiction to hear the suit? It is the contention of counsel that the provisions of the senior staff conditions of service at pages 42-43 refers to disciplinary issues and does not apply in this case and are irrelevant. A cursory reading of this section reveals that it relates to a senior staff that is appealing against disciplinary measures meted to him by the 1st defendant and that the issue in this case relates to enforcement of rights and interest of the plaintiffs as members of the 4th Defendant. They relied on the Defendants document referred to in their counter affidavit and marked as Exhibit D and particularly section 3:3:1 titled right of appeal. They further relied on ITC PLC V NAFDAC (2007)10 NWLR (PT 1043) 613. It was further argued that what donates jurisdiction in a court have been stated in the locus classicus MADUKOLU V NKEMDILII (1962)1 ALL NLR 581 and non-certification is not one of them. Counsel also relied on DAGGASH V BULAMA (2004) ALL FWLR PT 212 P.1666 where it was held that objection cannot be taken against a document attached to an affidavit that is not certified. In arguing issue 2 whether this honourable court can go outside the documents appointing the plaintiffs as members of the council to interpret the contractual agreement between the parties. It is the submission of counsel that appointment of the claimants/Applicants is by election by their groups and not merely by appointment and their appointment is statutory and not contractual as erroneously submitted by the defendants. To support this contention counsel relied on Article 1(2) and (8) of Exhibit E of the Defendants. Reliance was also placed on the case of TOTAL NIGERIA PLC V. MOSHOOD ADELEYE AKINPELU (2003) FR 192, where it was established that where what is agreed by parties is illegal been contrary to law, a party can use the provision of the law to avoid the agreement assuming there is one in this case. In arguing issue three of the Defendants, Whether originating summons is the proper procedure to have commenced the plaintiff’s suit; the claimants’ counsel argued that the facts of this case are not in contention, rather what is in contention is the interpretation of the provisions of the Act and Academic Brief which satisfies the provision of Order of the rules of the Court. It is also the submission of counsel that the use of the word Annexures as opposed to Exhibits has not in any way misled the Defendants or occasioned any injustice. It is also argued that the fact that the 1st claimant is on sabbatical does not denigrate him from his rights with the 1st defendant as he is entitled to his salaries and professorial seat and membership with the 4th defendant. They referred the court to Exhibit D, paragraph 5.7 headed sabbatical leave and especially sub paragraphs (e),(f),(g), and (h) the Exhibit. Counsel further referred to Exhibits A1, A2 and A3 attached to the Defendants counter affidavit. They referred to Exhibit B.T.Y 2 which shows that one Prof. Dashak was given an assignment by the 1st defendant while on sabbatical leave. In arguing their issue one which is Whether paragraphs 14, 15 and 16 of the counter affidavit of the Defendants are not offensive to s.115 of the Evidence Act, 2011 and therefore liable to be struck out. Counsel submitted that the Act forbids such issues in an affidavit. An affidavit must contain only facts and not conclusions or argument. They urged the court to strike out the defendants offending paragraphs. Finally, in arguing the plaintiffs Issue two, whether the conduct of the defendants after been served with the papers in this case does not amount to contempt of court, it is the contention of counsel that the defendants by proceeding to inaugurate and swear in the new persons elected to replace the claimants on issue that is before the court constitutes an affront to the authority and dignity of this court which must be sanctioned as a deterrent to others. They relied on GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE V OJUKWU (1986)1 NWLR (PT.18) 621. COURT DECISION I have keenly studied the processes filed by parties including the annexures and exhibits as well as the written addresses of counsel for both parties. Apart from the three questions posed by the claimants for resolutions, the counter-affidavit and the address in its support filed by the defendants in opposition to this suit have also raised certain preliminary issues that needs to be resolved. The claimants have in their reply on points of law to the argument of the defendants also raised some other critical issues that needs also to be resolved. In the circumstances I shall endeavor before proceeding to consider the issues raised for determination of the originating summons resolved the preliminary issues that questioned jurisdiction and other sundry issues. The first preliminary issue to be resolved is the question of jurisdiction of this court to entertain this suit. The importance of Jurisdiction has been clearly highlighted in the decision of the Court of Appeal in RAPHAEL OGUMKA V CORPORATE AFFAIRS COMMISSION (2010) LPELR-4891 (CA), where it was stated “It is settled Law that jurisdiction is the threshold and life wire of any determination and should be considered and determined before considering anything else, as a decision no matter how well considered will come to nothing once the court lacks authority to try it.” Per BADA, J.C.A (P.10,paras. C-E) The Defendants/Respondents have in their written address in support of their joint counter-affidavit raised the all-important issue of whether the honourable court has jurisdiction to hear this suit as presently constituted? Their argument stems from the 1st Defendants conditions of service for senior staff at pages 42-43 section 3.3.1. It is the submission of counsel for the defendants that the claimants are required to give 30 days’ notice before approaching the court for redress. Counsel contended that the failure of the claimants to give the Vice-Chancellor 30 days’ notice before coming to this court is fatal to their case and such failure or neglect has robbed this court of jurisdiction to entertain the claimants originating summons. In response counsel for the claimant argued that the provisions being relied to raise this objection is not applicable to their case. Counsel urged the court to discountenance the objection of the defendants. The resolution of this issue will depend on proper interpretation of the provisions of section 3.3.1 of the Senior Staff Conditions of service. It apt at this juncture to reproduce the provision of section 3.3.1 under consideration. “Any employee dissatisfied with a disciplinary action taken against him under these regulations, shall have a right of petition/appeal to the university Council, through the Registrar. This right of petition/appeal does not carry with it a right of personal appearance before the council. The decision of council on such a petition/appeal shall be final. Members of staff who are not satisfied with the foregoing processes/steps and are desirous of taking the matter to court of Law are required to inform the Vice Chancellor and also give 30 days before taking any such notice”. It is one of the cardinal principle of construction that the words in an enactment or instrument or document must be given their plain, ordinary and natural meaning, unless such interpretation would lead to absurdity or unless the context requires some special or particular meaning to be given to the words. The golden rule of interpretation is that where words used in an enactment or instrument are clear and unambiguous, they must be given their natural and ordinary meaning unless to do so would lead to absurdity or inconsistency with the rest of the document or enactment under scrutiny.. it is also trite that when interpreting provisions of a statute or document the court must ascribe meaning to clear, plain and unambiguous provisions in order to make such provisions conform to the court’s view of their meaning or what they ought to be. The court is also not allowed under the guise of interpretation to venture into to import extraneous matters that may lead to circumventing or giving the provisions an entirely different interpretation from what the lawmaker intended them to be. See SARAKI V FRN (2016) 65 NSCQR 79, SHEHU SHEMA V FRN (2018) 73 NSCQR 876. Having at the back of the mind the well settled principles of interpretation, it is manifestly clear that the provision of section 33.1 of exhibit D, relates to grievances that are connected with disciplinary proceedings under the conditions of service. The provisions do not pertain to or apply to grievances that have nothing to do with disciplinary action under the conditions of service. It is my view that the 30 days’ notice to be given to Vice-Chancellor before commencing of an action, is in respect of dissatisfaction with disciplinary action or measures taken. In view of the foregoing, analysis I have no hesitation in agreeing with the counsel for the claimants argument that this provision does not apply to the issues in contention in this suit as the provision clearly makes this notice and right of petition/appeal available to staff with disciplinary action taken against such staff. It is my humble opinion that the Claimants issues are not one of discipline as the same provision has extensively provided for the Acts of Misconduct that can subject a senior staff of the 1st Defendant/ Respondent to disciplinary action. See the provision of s.3.0 which provides that “ All members of staff shall be disciplined and of good character. Disciplinary action shall be taken against any staff who commits an act of misconduct. Section 3.1 goes further to define and list such acts of misconduct as follows “ Misconduct means any act that is prejudicial to the good discipline and proper administration of the University. In addition, misconduct includes specific acts of wrong doing or an improper behaviour, which is inimical to the image of the University and which can be investigated and proved. Without prejudice to the definition, such act of misconduct includes: a) Absence from duty without lawful excuse; b) Refusal to carry out lawful directives c) Negligience of duty d) False claims against the University e) Financial embarrassment f) Unauthorized disclosure of office information g) Unruly behaviour h) Dishonesty i) Drunkenness j) Insurbodination k) Committing any acts inconsistent with the proper performance of the duties for which the member of staff was employed; l) Refusal to proceed on transfer or accept posting m) Habitual lateness to work n) Deliberate delay in carrying out official duties o) Failure to keep records p) Sleeping on duty q) Improper dressing on duty r) Hawking of merchandise in official premises s) Malingering t) Discourteous behaviour in public u) Failure to exhaust internal mechanism in seeking redress” It is patently clear that a perusal of the acts of misconduct provided by The Rules governing conditions of senior staff attached and marked as Exhibit D by the 1st-4th Defendant did not include termination of membership of University Council as one of the items of misconduct. Since the action of the claimants is not based on disciplinary action the provision of section 3.3.1 cannot apply to the claimants in this case as this is not a disciplinary issue, rather it is an issue of the rights of the claimants as stipulated by the 1st defendant’s Establishment Act. The claimants are not been subjected to disciplinary issues, rather it is an issue of the claimants been elected into a position and the issue of contention is the tenure of the position. I firmly believe asking for an interpretation of the Act as regards the duration of one’s tenure of office to a position duly elected to as provided for by the Establishment Act does not constitute any form of insubordination, or act of misconduct that would require claimants to comply with the provision for petition/appeal as stated in the provisions of paragraph 3.3.1 at page 42 and 43 of Exhibit D. The second issue to be resolved revolves around the propriety of commencing this suit via originating summons. According to counsel for the defendants the claimants’ action is incompetent for having been commenced via originating summons. Counsel contended that the action ought to be commenced via complaint where pleadings are to be filed. The claimants on their part submitted that this suit was properly commenced before the court for having been commenced in accordance with the rules of this court which allows use of originating summons as one of the mode of commencement of action before the court. However, it is to be noted that the counsel for the defendant did not refer the court to any evidence that is conflicting or contentious to make use of originating summons inappropriate in the circumstances of this case. Order 3 rule 1 of the rules of this court has in unmistakable terms provided various modes by which a litigant wishing to commence an action can choose from. The use of originating summons is permitted where the sole question is, or is likely to be that of the construction of any constitution, enactment, agreements or any other instrument relating to employment, labour and industrial relations in respect of which the court has jurisdiction by virtue of the provisions of section 254C (1) paragraph (1) (i) and (ii) of the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) or by any Act or law in force in Nigeria. See EZEIGWE V NWAWULU (2010) 4 NWLR (pt.1183) 159, NATIONAL BANK OF NIGERIA LTD V ALAKIJA (1979) 9-10 SC 59. Generally commencement of action by way of originating summons is a procedure for use in cases where the facts are not in dispute or there is no likelihood of their being in dispute. Originating Summons is also reserved for issues like the determination of short question for construction and not matters of such controversy that the justice of the case could demand settings of pleadings. See DIN V AG FEDERATION (1986) 1 NWLR (pt.17) 471, OBASANYA V BABAFEMI (200) 15 NWLR (Pt.689) 1, FAMFA OIL LTD V AG FEDERATION (2003) 18 NWLR (Pt.852) 453, where Belgore JSC, (as he then was later CJN) has this to say on Originating Summons; ‘’The very nature of an originating summons is to make things simpler for hearing. It is available to any person claiming interest under a deed, will or other written instrument whereby he will apply by originating summons for the determination of any question of construction arising under the instrument for a declaration of interest. It is a procedure where the evidence in the main is by way of documents and there is no serious dispute as to fats but what the plaintiff is claiming is the declaration of his right’’ Applying the principles of law enunciated in the above decided cases to the dispute before the court, I am not in any doubt that the case at hand is meant for the interpretation of certain provisions of the Federal University Lokoja Act vis-à-vis the letters of appointment of the claimants as members of the University Council, with the sole aim of substantially determining whether the tenure of the claimants has expired or not in line with extant laws, rules and regulations. In the circumstance, as it was mainly for interpretation of a statute and a written document, it was rightly brought to the court by filing originating summons asking for declaratory and other orders. This clearly shows that vide order 3 rule 3 of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, (Civil Procedure) Rules 2017, proceeding may be initiated via originating summons, where, the sole or principal question in issues is likely to be one of construction of a written law or of any instrument made under any written law or where there is unlikely to be any substantial dispute. See UBA V EKPO (2003) 12 NWLR (Pt.834) 932 SALEH V MONGUNO (2003) 1 NWLR (Pt. 801) pg. 221; JIMOH V OLAWOYE (2003) 10 NWLR (Pt. 828) pg. 307; N.B.N. Ltd. v. ALAKIJA (1978) 9 - 10 SC 59; OLOYE V ALEGBE (1983) 2 SCNLR 35; DIN V A-G FEDERATION (1986) 1. The law is well settled that Originating Summons Procedure is not meant to be invoked in a hostile action between parties and in which the parties concerned need to know beforehand the issues which they are called upon to contend with from pleadings. There can be disputed facts which originating summons procedure could resolve, but where the disputed facts are substantial, the proper mode of commencing such an action is by writ of summons so that pleadings can be filed. In other wards originating summons procedure is appropriate where there is no substantial dispute of facts between the parties or likelihood of such dispute. In the case at hand the core questions for determination centers on whether the tenure of the claimant is two or four years in tandem with the provisions of the University Act and statute. There can be no substantial dispute in the supporting affidavit as the matter is for construction of a written law and a written document. See JIMOH V OLAWOYE (2003) 9 NWLR (Pt.826) 462, OGUNSOLA V A. P. P. (2003) 9 NWLR (Pt. 826) 462; OLUMIDE V AJAYI (1997) 8 NWLR (Pt.517) 433; UNILAG V AIGORO (1991) 3 NWLR (PT.179) 376; ADEYEMO V BEYIKO (1999) 13 NWLR (Pt.635) 472. The next issue to be resolve is the objection raised by the defendants to the documents attached to the affidavit in support of originating summons as annexures. Counsel for the defendant has contended that the documents attached as annexures are incompetent and urged the court to strike out the paragraphs of the affidavit supporting the annexures. Counsel insisted that the absence of certification has rendered the annexures incompetent. For the counsel for the claimants the defendant cannot in law be allowed to object to admissibility of exhibits attached to affidavit. Counsel also contended that the defect in certification has been cured by the defendants attaching certified copies in their counter-affidavit. I have taken a hard look at all the documents attached to the claimants’ affidavit in support of originating summons which were referred to as annexures, as well as the once attached to the further and better affidavit. It is evident that none of the said documents is original or certified as true copy of the original. They are all photocopies of the originals. This goes to suggest that the said documents being photocopies are secondary evidence, since they are not originals. It is the law that documents attached to affidavit should be marked as exhibits. Where documents attached to an affidavit were not marked as exhibits court should not countenance such documents as they are inadmissible. See OGUNDEHIN V CAPT. ADEBOYE & OLUBOWALE & ANOR. (2016) LPELR-41125(CA). On the issue of non-certification of the documents attached to the affidavit in support of the originating summons. The law is that documents attached to affidavit and especially to originating summons, where no oral evidence is taken must fully comply with the requirement of the evidence law for them to be acted upon by the court. It makes no difference that same are only attached to the motion or originating summons, in so far as they are intended to be acted upon by the court to determine any matter, they must meet the requirements of admissibility. Otherwise they would be inadmissible in evidence. Where such documents, as in the instance case, are by their nature, public documents, they must be certified to be admissible in evidence and or to be relied upon by the court. See KANO STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY & ORS. V ALHAJI MUHAMMADU FALALU UMAR 2014 LPELR-24008 (CA). A public document which is not certified is inadmissible in law. See NWAOGU V ATUMA (2013) 11 NWLR (PT.1364) 117. The claimants’ documents in support of the originating summons having not been certified in accordance with the provisions of section 104 of the Evidence Act 2011. See also TABIK INVESTMENT LTD V GTB PLC 2011 17 NWLR PT.1276 240, OMISORE V AREGBESOLA (2015) 15 NWLR (PT.1482) 205. In view of non-certification of the claimants documents attached to the affidavit in support of the originating summons and failure of the claimants to exhibits same to the affidavit, they are hereby discountenanced. Another issue that require resolution is the contention of counsel for the claimants to the effect that paragraphs 14, 15 and 16 of the counter-affidavit do not offend the provision of section 115 of the Evidence Act 2011. It is the contention of counsel that those paragraphs of the counter-affidavit have violated the provisions of section 115 of the Evidence Act, in that they are conclusions which is only the court that is allowed by law to reach. The defendants have by those paragraphs of the counter-affidavit usurp the power of the court and they are liable to be struck out. I have perused the content of paragraphs 14, 15 and 16 of the counter-affidavit, though the content may to some extent be said to be conclussion, the effect of expunging those paragraphs or discountenancing them is minimal in that the issue being raised is issue of law that does not require filing of affidavit the issue canvassed in respect of those averment is issue of law that borders of jurisdiction which can be raised at any time or even orally or suo motu by the court. See SAUDE V ABDULLAHI (1989) 4 NWLR (PT.116) 387, OBIAKOR & ANOR V THE STATE (2003) 10 NWLR (PT.776) 612, GAJI V PAYE (2003) 8 NWLR (PT.823) 563, KOTOYE V SARAKI (1993) 5 NWLR (PT.296) 710, BRONIK MOTORS V WEMA BANK (1983) 1 SCNLR 296, DAPIALONG V DARIYE (20070 8 NWLR (PT.1036) 332, SALATI V SHEHU (1986) 1 NWLR (PT.15) 198. Coming to the originating summons, the grouse of the claimants against the defendants as can be gathered from the affidavit evidence is that the claimants were elected by the University Congregation one of the organs of the University to represent it at the University Council, which is the highest decision organ of the University. According to the claimants the appointment was since August 2015, for a tenure of four years to end by August 2019 pursuant to the Act establishing the 1st defendant and the 1st defendant’s Academic brief of 2011. However, in March 2018, the defendants through the 3rd defendants issued letters terminating the claimants’ tenure midway. Consequently, this suit was instituted to challenge the validity of the termination of the tenure of the claimants. For the defendants the tenure of the claimants as council members had expired on the 1st day of October 2017. The letters conveying the election of the claimants to serve in the council (4th defendant) dated 5th October 2015 were attached as exhibits B1-B2, respectively. It was also averred by the defendants that the claimants never challenged their two years tenure into the council (4th defendant) either orally or in writing. It was also stated that the claimants did not raised issue of two years tenure at the meeting which they attended on 23rd and 24th March 2016. Exhibit C is the minute of meeting. The claimants attended meeting of 17/11/17 to thank and bid them farewell by the council. The defendants also averred that the 1st claimant was on sabbatical leave from the 1st defendant to Federal University Lafia. Exhibits A1-A3. It stated that the 1st claimant being on sabbatical leave cannot do anything with the 1st defendant. Having regard to the foregoing resolution of the preliminary issues, the question to answer is has the facts as disclosed in the affidavit in support of the originating summons sufficient to prove the case of the claimants and entitled them to the reliefs sought in the originating summons. It is an age long settled principle of law that claim in an action is circumscribed by the reliefs sought before the court. The duty of a claimant therefore is to plead only such facts and materials as are necessary to sustain the reliefs and adduce evidence to prove same. This means that any issue not coming within the reliefs sought will be discountenance for being irrelevant and incompetent. See Gabriel Ativie v. Kabelmetal (Nig.) Ltd  LPELR-591(SC);  10 NWLR (Pt. 1095) 399;  5 - 6 SC (Pt. II) 47: this also is a pointer to the settled principle of law that a defendant in an action is only to restrict his answer to the claim to facts that form his defence and cannot without putting up a counter claim make a case different from the case put forward by the claimant. It is based on this settled principle of law that I shall restrict my consideration of issues to the issues raised by the claimants claim before the court. It is beyond any doubt that a claimant succeeds or falls in respect of declaratory reliefs on the strength of his own case. By law, a claimant seeking for declaratory reliefs must prove his case on the strength of his evidence, not on the weakness of the defence of the defendant. See OKEREKE V UMAHI & ORS.  LPELR-40035(SC) and NYESOM V PETERSIDE & ORS.  LPELR-40036(SC); and a declaratory relief is never granted on the basis of admission or default of pleading. See BULET INTERNATIONAL NIG. LTD V DR. OMONIKE OLANIYI & ANOR.  Vol 6 - 12 MJSC (Pt. III) 6. The vital question to be answered is has the claimant in this suit been able to by the affidavit averred facts that are cogent and credible in proof of the claims before the court. The claimant placed heavy reliance on annexures A to G in proof of their case. However, apart from annexure C, which is a statute, the other annexures A, B, D, E, F, and G are photocopies of public documents and not the originals. The claimants have not produced the originals for inspection of the court as required by law and has not told this court what happened to the originals. Having not produce the originals of annexures A, B, D, E, F and G as required by law the claimant has kept the court in the dark regarding the whereabouts of the originals of these documents. It is to be remembered that this suit was commenced vide originating summons and Order 3 Rules 1(1) (b) and 3, of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria Rules 2017, which requires affidavit evidence and exhibits attached thereto in proof. Having regard to the reliefs being sought before the court which are declaratory, the claimants have to succeed or fails on the strength of their case and not on weakness of the defence or admission. It must be borne in mind that the purpose of a declaratory relief sought from court is essentially an equitable relief in which the party asking for it prays the court in exercise of its discretionary jurisdiction to pronounce or declare an existing state of affairs in law in his favour as may be discernible from the averments in the deposition. A discretionary relief is not confined to cases where there is a complete or subsisting cause of action, but may be employed in all cases where the claimant conceives he has a right. See ADIGUN V AG OYO STATE NO.1, (1987) 1 NWLR (PT.53) 678, IGBOKWE V UDOFIA 1992 3 NWLR PT.228 214, ANTATA V MOHAMMED 2007 7 NWLR PT.664 176. However, it must also be remembered that when a declaratory reliefs are sought, it is to make the court declare as established a legal and factual state of affairs in respect of the cause of action. Thus, the court will not readily without good, cogent, credible and sufficient materials/evidence exercise its discretion to grant declaratory reliefs or orders. Thus, why declaratory reliefs cannot be granted without cogent and compelling evidence even where the defendant expressly admits liability in the pleadings. See A-G CROSS RIVERS STATE V AG FEDERATION (2005) 6 SCNJ 152, OGOLO V OGOLO (2006) 2 SCNJ 235. Given the state of the law in cases where declaratory reliefs are sought, as in the present case, the claimants are under an obligation to satisfy the court by cogent and reliable evidence in proof of the reliefs. See AGBAJE V FASHOLA & ORS. (2008) LPELR 3648 CA. The reason being that remedy of declaratory reliefs are not granted as a matter of course it must be based on a very strong and cogent evidence adduced in support of the claim. The claimant must satisfy the court under the circumstances that he is entitled to the relief. See NETWORK SECURITY LTD V DAHIRU (2008) ALL FWLR (PT.419) 4750. The affidavit in support of the originating summons has attached to it annexures in paragraphs 11, 13 and 16 of the affidavit in support which the claimants placed heavy reliance on in seeking the reliefs before the court. I have in earlier part of this judgment under resolution of preliminary issues ruled that the documents marked as annexures A, B, D, E, F, G, TYM 1 and TYM 2, are inadmissible in this proceeding due to violation of the provisions of the evidence Act which requires annexures to be marked as exhibits and public documents to be certified in line with section 104 of the Evidence Act 2011. In the case of THE KANO STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY & ORS. V ALHAJI MUHAMMADU FALALU UMAR (2014) LPLER-24008 (CA), where the Court has this to say on issue of exhibits attached to affidavit in proof of substantive matter. ‘‘The law is that documents attached to affidavits and especially to originating summons where no oral evidence is taken must fully comply with the requirement of the Evidence law to be acted upon by the court. It makes no difference that same are only attached to the motion or the originating summons, in so far as they are intended to be acted upon by the court to determine any matter, they must meet the requirement of admissibility. Where such documents, as in the instant case, are by their nature public documents, they must be certified to be admissible in evidence and or be relied upon’’. I must quickly add here that the issue of admissibility would have been different if the objection is at preliminary stage where an interlocutory application is being considered by the Court see NWOSU V IMO STATE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (1990) 4 SCNJ 94, ADEJUMO GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE (1970 ALL NLR 183. The annexures attached to the affidavit in support of the originating summons having been found not to be admissible in law are hereby discountenanced. This is because the court has a duty in law to reject inadmissible evidence this is arising from its duty to act only on legal evidence. See INTERNATIONAL BANK OF WEST AFRICA LTD V IMANO 2001 3 SCNJ 160. In view of my finding above, the court is left with bare law i.e exhibit C without facts to back up the clams of the claimants. Since there is no evidence of the election or appointment of the claimants and the evidence of termination of their four year tenure midway, the court cannot meaningfully interpret the provisions of exhibit C as doing so will amount to making speculative and guess findings. The courts are courts of law they are precluded from indulging in exercise in futility which may not impact any value on the case before it. The claimants have in their reply argued that even if their documents attached to the affidavit in support of the originating summons are held to be inadmissible the defect or lacuna created by the inadmissibility of the document has been cured by the exhibits attached to the counter-affidavit. A careful perusal of the exhibits attached to the counter-affidavit will show that they are not helpful to the claimants’ case. The exhibits attached to the counter-affidavit suffer the same fate with the annexures of the claimants. The purported certification of the exhibits attached to the counter affidavit will show that the certification is in violation of section 104 of the Evidence act as the name of the Public Officer that did the certification is nowhere to be found. See OMISORE V AREGBESOLA (SUPRA). Therefore, the failure to state the name of the person that certified the documents/exhibits attached to counter-affidavit has rendered those exhibits in admissible in law for violation of section 104 of the Evidence Act 2011. In view of the reliefs being sought which are declaratory in nature and absence of cogent, compelling and admissible evidence the claimants have failed to prove their entitlement to the reliefs sought. The claimants’ action is therefore being laid on speculation and uncertainty, it must fail. As courts of law cannot rely or based their decision on speculation and uncertainty. In view of the rejection of the documents attached to the affidavit in support, further and better affidavit and the counter affidavit, there is nothing before the Court to interpret as the court cannot engage in interpretation in vacuum as there are no basis or foundation on which the interpretation can be made since it is to declare right of the parties it must have basis and the basis annexures A, B, D, E, F, G, TYM 1 and TYM 2, having been found to be in admissible the foundation has been knocked off from the bottom, as there are no factual situation to be used in interpreting the bare law which the claimant wants the court to interpret. Therefore, the claimants failed to prove the reliefs being sought from the court due lack of cogent, compelling and credible evidence to support the case of the claimant. This case therefore lacks merit, it has collapsed like pack of cards and deserved to be dismissed. The originating summons having not been backed up with credible and cogent evidence is hereby dismissed. Judgment entered accordingly. Sanusi Kado, Judge.