JUDGMENT. 1. The Claimant commenced this action by his general form of complaint dated 12/5/2016 and filed on the same day. By his amended complaint and amended statement of facts, dated 21/11/2017 and filed on the same day, sought the following reliefs against the Defendants. They are:- 1. A Declaration that the Claimant’s expulsion from the 2nd Defendant (Union) via a letter dated 14th July 2016 and title “Expulsion from the Union for your continued Anti-Union activities” is unlawful, unconstitutional and null and void. 2. A Declaration that the refusal of the 1st Defendant to relinquish his position as the President of the 2nd Defendant even after he is due to retire from Jigawa State Civil Service is fraudulent, egocentric, unconscionable and unconstitutional. 3. A Declaration that any acts carried out by the 1st Defendant after his due retirement from the Jigawa State Civil Service, is illegal and unconstitutional. 4. A Declaration that the 1st Defendant is not qualified to earn honorariums and other allowances from the coffers of the 2nd Defendant (Union) in the capacity of the President of the 2nd Defendant after he is due to retire from the Jigawa State Civil Service. 5. An Order of this Honourable Court nullifying the client’s expulsion from the 2nd Defendant. 6. An order of this Honourable Court compelling the 1st Defendant to produce the following before this Court (a) Gazette of first employment letter and (b) Gazette of confirmation of first employment to ascertain that actual date of employment of the 1st Defendant. 7. An Order of this Honourable Court directing or compelling the 1st Defendant to immediately refund to the coffers of the 2nd Defendant all sums collected in forms of honorarium and allowances as the President of the 2nd Defendant, since the date of his retirement from the Jigawa State Civil Service till when he will relinquish position of President of the 2nd Defendant. 8. Any other order(s) as this Honourable Court may deem fit to order in the circumstances. 2. The Claimant accompanied his amended statement of facts with witness statement on oath and photocopies of documents to be relied on at the trial. The joint statement of defence of the Defendants was dated 9/4/2018 and filed on the same day. The joint statement of defence was accompanied by witness statement on oath and photocopies of documents to be relied on at the trial. In response to the joint statement of defence, the Claimant filed a reply dated 25/4/2018. 3. On 29th of October 2019, the Claimant testified in proof of his case as CW1. After adopting his witness statements on oath, he tendered three documents in evidence marked as exhibits CLA1-3, CLB1-2 and CLC1-6. 4. The case of the Claimant as can be gleaned from the pleading, witness statement on oath and oral testimony is to the effect that due constitutional breaches in the affairs of the 2nd Defendant, the Claimant as a financial member of the 2nd Defendant wrote a letter of complaint to the Defendants regarding the breaches. But, instead of addressing the issues raised, he was unduly expelled from the 2nd Defendant. The Claimant avers that his expulsion was because of the letter he wrote and institution of this suit. The letter of expulsion dated 14/7/2016, was tendered and admitted in evidence as exhibit CLA1-3. 5. The Claimant stated that the essence of his expulsion was because he stated in his letter that the 1st Defendant has retired from the Jigawa Civil Service which is an open secret in the Union. By the constitution of the 2nd Defendant only public/civil servant are eligible to be members of the 2nd Defendant. The 1st Defendant who is long overdue to retire from Jigawa State Civil Service, parading himself as President of the 2nd Defendant is contrary to the provisions of Rule 4 (a) (i). The 1st Defendant has refused to make open his actual date of retirement so as to justify his unlawful continuous stay as the president the 2nd Defendant. 6. CASE OF THE DEFENDANTS. 7. One comrade Ndako the General Secretary of the 2nd Defendant, testified for the Defendants as DW1. After identifying his witness statement on oath, he adopted the said statement on oath as his evidence. DW1 in the course of giving evidence in chief tendered eleven documents in evidence and they were admitted in evidence and marked accordingly. 8. The case of the Defendants is that the Claimant was a member of the 2nd Defendant until his duly expulsion by the 43rd State Executive Council meeting held on 14/7/2016. Prior to the Claimant’s expulsion he was under suspension for engaging in anti-union activities targeted at disparaging the 2nd Defendant. The letter of suspension dated 30/7/2015 was tendered and admitted in evidence as exhibit E. 9. The 1st Defendant was president of the 2nd Defendant by a valid election of the members of the union in accordance with the constitution of the union, until the conclusion of his tenure as president in October 2017, the 2nd Defendant held its national delegate conference on the 24th and 25th January 2018 and have elected a new leadership to man the affairs of 2nd Defendant. The 1st Defendant was not due to retire in year 2016 as alleged. The Defendant was validly elected president of 2nd Defendant and his tenure to expire in 2017. The 1st Defendant will become due for retirement in 2018 after having served for 35 years in the Jigawa State Civil Service. The 1st Defendant’s letter of appointment was tendered and admitted in evidence and marked as exhibit C. The Defendants upon receipt of Claimant’s complaint authorized that the matter be investigated. 10. It was averred that the Claimant’s suspension and expulsion was a result of his attack on the Rivers State members of the 2nd Defendant and subsequently the Claimant’s involvement in the forgery of names and signatures of members including letter headed papers of the union. The Claimant’s expulsion was done at the state executive council level acting on the report of a committee headed by comrade Fidelis Ologhodien, which report recommended the expulsion of the Claimant and the said report was deliberated upon in the state executive council meeting of the 2nd Defendant in Rivers State. The report was tendered in evidence and admitted in evidence as exhibit D1-5. 11. Upon receipt of the Claimant’s complaint against the 1st Defendant, the 2nd Defendant set up a committee by the Rivers State chapter to investigate the allegation against the 1st Defendant and a letter of invitation dated 29/6/2016 was served on the Claimant requesting the Claimant to substantiate his claims against the 1st Defendant. The Claimant never honoured the invitation, he equally ignored reminder. The invitation and reminder were tendered in evidence and were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits G and H, respectively. 12. The expulsion of the Claimant followed due process after investigation and subsequent report of the allegation of the Claimant against the Defendants which he was properly expelled. 13. THE SUBMISSION OF THE DEFENDANTS. 14. ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION 15. The Defendants submitted two issues for determination thus: I. “Whether the Claimant has proved his case on balance of probability to warrant the grant on the reliefs sought”. II. “Whether the present suit has become Academic and therefore the reliefs sought have become spent”. 16. ISSUE ONE; “Whether the Claimant has proved his case on the balance of probability to warrant the grant of the reliefs sought”. 17. N. A. Idakwo, Esq; counsel for the Defendants in arguing issue one, contended that the Claimant has failed woefully to prove the allegations leveled against the Defendants in this case. The gravamen of the case of the Claimant being that he was wrongly expelled consequent upon his serving a written complaint that the 2nd Defendant has become due to retire in the year 2016; he contends that despite having retired, the 1st Defendant has continued to man the affairs of the 2nd Defendant and wrongly earned honorarium and other allowances. Counsel argued that all the allegations are sweeping statement, as there is no evidence led in proof of same, it is therefore fated to fail as well as all the reliefs claimed in this suit. 18. Counsel contended that is it trite law that the onus of proof lies on the party who alleged and failure to establish his case is fatal to the suit. On this contention counsel referred the court to the cases of UNION BANK OF NIGERIA LTD V. PROF A. OZIGI ( 1994) 3 NWLR PT 333, PG 385; OKUBULE V. OYAGBOLA (1990) 6 NWLR PT 301, PG 539; NIGERIA MARITIME SERVICES LTD V. AFOLABI (1978) 2 SC 79, 84.; HIGH GRADE MARITIME SERVICES LTD V. FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA LTD (1991) 1 NWLR PT 167, PG 290; DURU V. NWOSU (1989) 4 NWLR PT 113 PG 24; MOGAJI V. ODUFIN (1978) 4 SC 91; OKIRI V. IFEAGHA (2001) FWLR PT 73, 140, RATIO 3 & 4; AARE V. ADISA ( 1976) NMLR 304. 19. “The burden of proving a particular fact is on the party who assert it, this onus however do not remain static in Civil cases, it shifts from side to side where necessary and the onus of adducing further evidence is on the person who will fail if such evidence has not been adduced and if he fails to prove the assertion the proper order which the court should make is one dismissing his claims. In the instant case, as the respondent is the person who asserted the rate of interest applicable to loan granted to him by the applicant was 11% per annum then the onus was on him to prove the assertion.’’ 20. It is the submission of counsel that the Claimant’s evidence on record has not proved any allegation of retirement nor has it proved that his expulsion is unlawful (predicated on his complaint letter contained in Exhibit CLC 1 to 6 before the Court). The legal burden of Proof rests on the Claimant and has never shifted to the Defendant all through this trial. In support of this point counsel placed reliance on the case of OMOTOSHO V. BON LTD (2006) 9 NWLR PT 986, 573 @ 590 – 591; (2011) LPELR – CA/PH/10/2003, that where the Appellant has alleged that he was not indebted to the Respondent, but did not adduce sufficient evidence to establish same in order to shift the burden of proof. 21. The learned justice of the Court of Appeal per Ogunwumiju JCA explained the principle on the argument canvassed herein thus: 22. “The Law is that, the burden of Proof rests on a person who asserts a facts, it is fixed at the beginning by the pleadings and rest on the party asserting an affirmation… The burden of proof shifts when evidence given by one party gives to presumption favorable to it and unless rebutted satisfies the Court that the facts sought to be proved is established…. The legal burden is always fixed by the pleadings. A party is obliged to plead the facts to prove in evidence. In that case, the burden does not shift, however, the evidential burden shifts from the one party to another as the scale of evidence preponderates” 23. Counsel reproduced paragraphs 3 to 11 of the statement of claim and submitted that the Court will realize that the Claimant’s allegation is merely sweeping statement that exists only in the realms of speculation. It is trite law that averments in pleadings are facts as are perceived by the party relying on them, there must be oral and documentary evidence to show that the facts pleaded are true, consequently pleadings without evidence is worthless. To support his contention counsel relied on the case of CAMEROON AIRLINES V. OTUTUIZU (2011) LPELR SC, PG 36 PARA C-D. 24. It is also submitted that the Claimant has not placed before the Court the said Gazette of advancement of the Defendant that he argues pre-dates his employment and he cannot by his statement of claim ask the Court to go on a voyage of discovery. He is bound to prove his case by cogent and credible evidence. The Gazette does not state the date of the 1st Defendant’s appointment and cannot determine when he is due to retire. In disproof of this fact, President Kiri’s retirement is the pay slips tendered in evidence in this trial, which show that his salaries still ran until he retired, during the pendency of this suit and the fact of his letter of appointment being in evidence before the Court settles the matter. The Claimant has failed woefully in proof of his case, it is not disputed that he was expelled following due process. The deliberate falsehood peddled in the union regarding the 1st Defendants retirement is the proximate cause of expulsion of the Claimant. When he was given opportunity to substantiate the claim at the administrative panel, he failed to do so, the Claimant without any legal justification decided to absent himself from the panel. 25. It is the contention of counsel that the admission of the Claimant that he deliberately refused to Submit himself to the committee amount to his admission to the guilt of allegations level against him for sabotage and anti-union activity. 26. The legal position is clear that failure of a party to appear in a proceeding, after being duly notified of the hearing date, will be fatal to his case and lack of fair hearing will not avail himself, if he fails to present himself and challenge the case against him. Where parties to a dispute have been duly notified of hearing notice, the Party for no justifiable reason decides to opt out of the proceedings; the case of the other once it is not discredited in any legal way should be the case to be considered on merit. The intention of the other party as to his refusal to take part is not business of the Court, in the instant case, the Appellant’s complaints that they were denied their Constitutional right to fair hearing had no justification in that they were given the opportunity to appear and defend the suit. But they failed to avail themselves of the opportunity offended them. MILITARY GOVERNMENT LAGOS STATE V. ADEJIGA (2001) FWLR (PT 83) 2137 RATIO 3 AT PG 2155 TO 2156 PARA H-B; OBIMIAMI BRICK AND STONE NIG LTD V. A.C.B LTD (1992) 3 NWLR PT 229 260; IBEKENDU V. IKE (1993) 6 NWLR PT 299. 28; NEWS WATCH COMM. LTD V ATTA (2006) 12 NWLR PT 993 144 & 171, 173 AND 175. 27. Counsel also argued that the inability of the Claimant to prove his case before the committee set up by the Nigeria Civil Service Union was replicated even before this Court, as again the Claimant could not establish the retirement of Comrade Mohammed Kiri Shiaibu nor was he able to show how the President Mohammed Kiri used Union funds to buy assets within Abuja, as alleged. 28. The Claimant alleged that he was not under suspension when he wrote the letter complaining on the 1st Defendant’s retirement, the letter of suspension dated 30th July 2015 says otherwise. The Claimant was in fact, under an indefinite suspension while this subsisted, he further peddled rumors that foisted the union into an unconstitutional change in power to suit himself and an infinitesimal member of the union. The penalty for such a conduct was duly meted on him, hence his due expulsion. 29. ISSUE 2; “Whether the instant suit has become academic and the reliefs sought are spent”. 30. In arguing issue two counsel referred to the reliefs being sought by the Claimant and submitted that the reliefs claimed in the instant case is stale, following the reasoning of Hon. Justice Olukayode A. Adeniyi, of the High Court of the F.C.T, in the recent case of CHIEF JOE-KYARI GADZAMA SAN VS. INCORPORATED TRUESTEES OF THE N.B.A & 7 ORS (UNREPORTED) SUIT NO. FCT/HC/CV/2369/16 31. Where his Lordships had this to say; “As can be clearly seen, whichever way any of these reliefs are viewed; and no matter how brilliant and unassailably the Claimant may have present his case at the trial, it is very apparent, regrettably so, that at the end of the day, they, relate to acts that are now dead and buried, no Order of Court can reverse, revive, resurrect, exhume or bring these action back to life again. It is tantamount to seeking an Order to restrain a dead man from dying; only a miracle, not a Court order can achieve that feat. Sadly, courts do not operate on the platform of miracles; but on live facts, real evidence and applicable laws” 32. Counsel urged the Court to follow the reasoning of the learned Justice of the High Court in the case cited above. The 1st Defendant’s retirement is subsequent to the filing of this suit. While the suit is pending, the 2nd Defendant held a convention and successfully changed its leadership by valid convention of all its members. The opinion of the Claimant as to the validity of convention is of no moment, as he ceased to be a member as soon as he became notified of his expulsion, hence, he lack the locus standi to challenge any action of the 2nd Defendant, until the position of the expulsion is reversed. 33. Moreover his expulsion was properly carried out in line with the Union’s Constitutional procedure to discipline erring member of the 2nd Defendant. The Claimant having peddled rumors regarding the 1st Defendant’s retirement, need only to substantiate the alleged retirement to give credence to his allegation which the 2nd Defendant would have acted upon. 34. It is further argued that the flagrant disregard to the Constitution of the Defendant by the Claimant regarding the prelude to suing the Nigeria Civil Service Union, contained in the Constitution is sacrosanct. The Claimant admits being familiar and subscribed to the provisions of the Constitution and have a suit to correct an anomaly in the Constitution, without complying with the provision relating to suing the Union. The Claimant not having complied by first bringing his grievance to the Federal Executive Council/National Executive Council/State Executive Council, “in session” as provided in the Constitution, this shows that he is not fit to seek the reliefs claimed in this suit. The deliberate decision of the Claimant to absent himself from the meeting calling on him to substantiate claim of 1st Defendant’s retirement is apparent proof that there is nothing to support his claims. 35. It is the contention of counsel that Declaratory reliefs have been defined by the Court in the case of W.A.E.C V. OSHIONEBO (2006) 12 NWLR (PT.995) 258, the Court of Appeal per Aderemi JCA defend declaring active as follows; “A Declarative action is an invitation to the court to make a pronouncement as to the state of the law with regards to a particular circumstance or situation indeed, a declaratory order merely declares the rights of the parties are is dormant beyond that it has no force of execution” 36. Counsel went on to argue that the Supreme Court per Walter Nkanu Onnoghen GCON, JSC (as he then was) laid down the governing principle for grant of declaratory reliefs in the case of CBN VS. AMAO (2010) 16 NWLR (PT.1219) 271. The learned Jurist held thus: “it is settled law that the principle governing the grant of a declaratory relief’s genuinely include the following; a. A Declaratory relief will not be granted when the reliefs has been rendered unnecessary by the lapse of time on the action to be tried, it at the time the action was brought, it raise substantial issue of law; b. The claim to which the declaratory reliefs relate must be substantial, that is the plaintiff must be entitled to reliefs in the fullest meaning of the word. c. Declaration will only be granted when there is a breach. d. The plaintiff must establish a right in relation to which the declaration can be made hence the court will not generally decide a hypothetical question. e. The relief claim must be something which it would not be unlawful or unconstitutional or inequitable for the court to grant. f. The relief should also not be contrary to accepted principles upon which the court exercises its jurisdiction”. 37. Counsel contended that from the forgoing, the authority cited above is applicable to the instant case. The procedure leading to the expulsion of the Claimant is in conformity with the Constitution of the Nigerian Civil Service Union, which provides thus: Rule 31(1) (a) Offences: Any member, employee of the organ of the union found guilty of any or all of the following offences shall be disciplined in accordance with the provisions of the Rule 3 (b)(a)(11) of this Constitution. Sabotage or anti-union Activities. Applying the funds of the union for any legal proceedings relating to his/her elections or appointment into the office in the trade union. Conduct likely to bring the Union into dispute. Misappropriations of funds or bring the Union into dispute any fraud against the Union. Noncompliance with the Constitution and/or directives of the National Executive Council or State/Federal Branch Executive Council. Failure to present upon demand all financial documents for verification and inspection. Any other action that the NEC/SEC/FEC may adjudge as an anti-union activity. (b) Penalty: The Penalty for the offence in rule 31 (a) (i) Shall range from suspension, prosecution, expulsion or dissolution as the case may be…” Counsel contended further to this the very apt provision of the constitution of the 2nd Defendant and the appendix thereto, wherein it stated the rights of members under item 4 thus; i. “ii Each member shall have a right to fair treatment in the Application of the union rules and constitution, trade Union disciplinary proceedings shall contain all the elements of fair hearing and the rules of Natural Justice. ii. That is Notice, hearing and Judgment on the basis of the evidence should be observed. A method of appeal to a higher body should be provided to ensure that judgment are not the result of prejudice and bias. iii. Each member has the responsibility to fully exercise his/her right of trade union membership and to support his union. The right of individual member to criticize the policy of his/her officers does not include the right to undermine the union as a collective bargaining agency or to carry on or slander or libel any officer of the union. iv. … v. 5. PENALTY FOR BREACH vi. Sanction for breach of code shall be a fine, suspension from membership, affiliation and in the case of employment or dismissal, the amount of, and appropriate penalty shall be at the discretion of the committee tribunal.” 38. According to counsel it has been shown that the provisions of the Constitution of the Nigeria Civil Service Union has been breached by the Claimant. The Claimant’s claim that the 1st Defendant is retired remains a rumor and unfounded. 39. Counsel contended that it has been shown that the letter of appointment of the 1st Defendant and the bundle of pay slips tendered in evidence whose date disclose that as at the time the suit was filed the 1st Defendant remains in the service of Jigawa state civil service, even though he is now retired and the leadership of the union is now under a new leadership, at all material time to this trial, the 1st Defendant isn’t retired which makes the Claimant allegation sweeping and unfounded. Upon which fact the Claimant was queried and tried in absentia, because he waived his right to defend his allegation, despite being served with hearing notice, hence he is bound by the outcome of the administrative enquiry, which expelled him. In concluding his submission counsel urged the court to dismiss this suit with substantial cost. 40. THE SUBMISSION OF THE CLAIMANT. 41. The Claimant formulated a sole issue for determination to wit: ‘’Whether from the evidence adduced before this Honourable Court, the Claimant has proved their case to entitle him to the reliefs sought in his amended complaint.’’ 42. Stephen Apeh, Esq; counsel for the Claimant commenced arguing the sole issue formulated for determination by contending that the Claimant has proved his case to entitle him to the reliefs sought in his Complaint. According to counsel the gravamen of this suit is the fact that the Claimant wrote a letter of complaint titled: ‘’COMPLAINT OF ABUSE OF OFFICE, GROSS MISCONDUCT, LACK OF DUE PROCESS, ABSENCE OF ANNUAL BUDGET, LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE MANAGEMENT OF UNION’S FUNDS AND GROSS VIOLATION OF RIGHTS, FREEDOM AND PREVILEDGES OF MEMBERS.’’ to the management of the 2nd Defendant complaining about the constitutional breaches in the 2nd Defendant and nothing more. But, in order to shut him up the Defendant decided to get rid of the Claimant by expelling him without following due process. And their reason is as contained in paragraph 4 of their statement of Defence. 43. Counsel contended that it is a clear position of the Constitution of the 2nd Defendant is that for a person to be a member of the 2nd Defendant, he or she must be in Civil Service either at the State or Federal level. This is contained in Rule 4 (a) (i) of the Constitution of Nigerian Civil Service Union, 2005, which provides thus: 44. ‘’Membership of the Union shall be drawn from Public Services of the Federation and State.’’ 45. It is submitted that the meaning of Rule 4 (a) (i) of the Constitution of Nigerian Civil Service Union, 2005, is very clear and understandable. It is only a person in the Public/Civil Service of Nigeria that can be a member of the 2nd Defendant. And for one to be an official of the 2nd Defendant, he must first of all be a financial member of the 2nd Defendant. Therefore, not being a member as a result of whatever reason, be it retirement or any other valid reason is a solid ground for abdicating whatever position one holds in any organization, and in this case, in 2nd Defendant. 46. The Claimant having suspected that the 1st Defendant had retired from the civil service wrote a letter to the 2nd Defendant complaining about same and some other unconstitutional activities in the 2nd Defendant. All in the bid to utilize his constitutional right of internal dispute resolution mechanism. And instead of investigating the allegations the Defendants decided to expel the Claimant without due process. 47. DW1 testified on behalf of the Defendants in chief but under cross examination, it is manifestly clear that his statement is mere hearsay, leaving the Court to guess or speculate whether due process was followed in expelling the Claimant. On this we refer the court to the case of ODI V. IYALA ( 2004) ALL FWLR (PT 207) SC, 570/598 PARAGRAPHS G-H where the Supreme Court held that: ‘’where an issue is left in doubt so as to make the Court speculate, the party on whom the proof rests will ultimately loose when the essential fact he relies on becomes uncertain or in doubt as to its existence’’ 48. Also in IBENE V. AWOLABI ORS (2014) LPELR- 23541(CA) The Court stated that it cannot act on evidence founded on hearsay and speculation, no matter how sordid it sounds to win sympathy. 49. It is contended that the Defendants going by the statement of defence gave conflicting reasons on why and how the Claimant was expelled, approbating and reprobating at the same time. On impropriety of party approbating and reprobating, it was held in OKON V. UBI (2006) All FWRL ( PT. 328) 717 . That: ‘’The law does not allow litigant to change his colour like as to engage in chameleon. He cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time. A trial is not a fencing game or hide and seek, neither is it a fencing game for litigants to engage in.’’ 50. Counsel contended that it is obvious from the abundance of evidence before the court that the Defendants did not follow due process as stipulated in the constitution of the 2nd Defendant in expelling the Claimant. 51. It is trite law that where the law prescribes the doing of a thing as a condition for the performance of another, failure to do such thing renders the subsequent act void. 52. It is the contention of counsel that the Defendants did not follow the constitutional prescribed procedure for expelling erring members before allegedly expelling the Claimant, thereby rendering the alleged expulsion null and void. On this contention counsel refers to the case of SAUDE V. ABDULLAHI (1987) 4 NWLR (PT 116) 387 AT 44, where it was held, thus: ‘’There is non-compliance with the process of law when the procedural requirements have not been complied with or the preconditions for the exercise of jurisdiction have not been complied with.’’ 53. It is our position that the Claimant having proved his case is entitled to judgment as contained in his statement. 54. In concluding his submission, counsel urged the court in view of the abundance of evidence before the Court, to enter judgment in favour of the Claimant as per reliefs sought in his Amended Complaint for the sake of justice. COURT’S DECISION: 55. I have considered the processes filed in this suit by both parties as well as the written and oral submission of counsel canvassing the position taken in respect of the case of their clients. 56. On 12/5/2016, when this case was commenced the Claimant’s case against the Defendants was based on the alleged retirement of the 1st Defendant from the service of Jigawa State Civil Service which it was alleged has rendered him in eligible to continue to be the president of the 2nd Defendant. There were also allegations on financial impropriety leveled against the 1st Defendant. Following the expulsion of the Claimant from the 2nd Defendant, during the pendency of this suit, the Claimant amended his complaint to include claim for declaration that his expulsion from the 2nd Defendant was unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void. 57. Before proceeding to determine the claim of the clamant, I shall endeavor to quickly thrash a preliminary issues raised by counsel in their addresses arising from the pleadings before the court. The issues is on the submission of Defendants that the Claimant did not channel his grievances through the appropriate channel. For the Defendants the Claimant was wrong to have written his complaint to the Defendants directly without going through the Rivers State Chapter of the 2nd Defendants. The position of the Defendants seems to be that condition precedent to writing of petition to the Defendants has not been fulfilled by the Claimant his complaint or petition ought to have been channeled through the Rivers State Chapter of the 2nd Defendant. This breach according to the Defendants has striped the Claimant of locus standi to bring this action before the court. 58. The law is trite that for a Court of law to be competent to exercise jurisdiction over a matter all conditions precedents to exercise of jurisdiction must be fulfilled. However, the Defendants did not tender before the court the constitution of the 2nd Defendant which has laid down or imposed condition precedent which the Claimant is to fulfill before approaching the court for redress. While the Claimant is contending that exhibit CLC1-6, which is a letter written to the Defendants is enough evidence of compliance with the constitution of the 2nd Defendant. He also stated that the Defendants failed and neglected to act on it. 59. In the case at hand, the Defendants have not tendered the Constitution of the 2nd Defendant to enable the court examined the purported provisions violated by the Claimant to see whether or not there is lack of compliance with condition precedent before this action was commenced by the Claimant. The failure of the Defendants to tender the constitution of the union (2nd Defendant) for examination by the court has rendered the claim of non-compliance with the Constitution of the 2nd Defendant to be a ruse and without any basis. 60. In view of this finding, I hold that all the submission of counsel on the non-compliance with procedure for writing petition by the Claimant goes to no issue and same is discountenanced. The Claimant having asserted that he was a member of the 2nd Defendant before his expulsion vide exhibit CLA1-3, stands. This position was not denied by the defendants. Therefore, he has locus to contest his expulsion from the membership of the 2nd Defendant in exercise of his constitutional guaranteed right to access court as per section 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This position is strengthened by the fact that as at the time the Claimant commenced this actin he was still a bona fide member of the 2nd Defendant, though on indefinite suspension by exhibit E letter dated 30/7/2015. It is to be noted here that suspension connote temporary stoppage of membership of the Claimant from the 2nd Defendant, the suspension did not and is not capable of ending his membership with the 2nd Defendant without more. 61. Coming to the substantive suit, it is elementary law that a court is bound by the relief or reliefs sought. The court is confined strictly to the relief or reliefs sought to the extent that a court of law cannot give a party what he did not claim. This is because parties are owners of their cases and are in the best position to know their claims or reliefs they want from the court. It is never part of the duty of court to go outside the claims or reliefs in search of other claims or reliefs not before the court. The role of court is to adjudicate on the claims or reliefs placed before it by the parties as defined by the parties’ pleadings. The law on this position has been restated by the apex court in several decisions which include; Ilona V idakwo (2003) 5 SC 216, 830) 53, Nwanya V Nwanya (1987) 3 NWLR (Pt., Fatuade V Onwommanan (1990) 2 NWLR (Pt.132) 322, Archibong V Ita (2004) 2 NWLR (Pt.858) 590, Ado Ibrahim & Company Limited V B. C. C. Limited (2009) 15 NWLR (Pt.891) 543, (2004) 8 NSCQR 875. 62. In Ativie V Kabel Metal Company Nig. Ltd (2008) the Supreme Court was emphatic that; A claim is circumscribed by the reliefs claimed. The duty of a plaintiff therefore is to plead only such facts and materials as are necessary to sustain the reliefs and adduce evidence to prove same. He may, at the end of the day obtain all the reliefs claimed or less. He never gets more. Nor does he obtain reliefs not claimed. A court is therefore bound to grant only the reliefs claimed. It cannot grant reliefs not claimed. These are the principles in OKUBULE v OYAGBOLA (1990) 4 NWLR (part 147) 723 at 744; KALIO v KALIO (1975) 2 SC 15; OLUROTIMI v IGE (1993) 6NWLR (Part 311) 257. 63. I have, at the beginning of this judgment, reproduced the eight reliefs claimed in this case. The first to fourth reliefs are asking for declarations, the fifth to seventh reliefs are for orders dependant on the grant of the declaration. While the Eighth relief is an omnibus relief. 64. Since the Claimant sought for declaratory reliefs, he had an obligation to advance evidence in proof thereof. The reason is not far-fetched. Courts have the discretion either to grant or refuse declaratory reliefs. Indeed, their success, largely, depends on the strength of the plaintiff's case. It does not depend on the Defendant's defence, see Maja v. Samouris (2002) 7 NWLR (Pt. 765) 78; CPC v. INEC (2012) 1 NWLR (Pt. 1280) 106, 131, Mohammed v. Wammako (2018) 7 NWLR (Pt. 1619) 573. This must be so for the burden on the plaintiff in establishing declaratory reliefs is, often, quite heavy, Bello v. Eweka (1981) 1 SC 101; Okedare v. Adebara  6 NWLR (Pt. 349) 157; Dumez Nig Ltd v. Nwakhoba  18 NWLR (Pt. 1119) 361, 374. Proof of declaratory relief is not as a matter of routine it has to be on cogent, concrete and compelling evidence adduced. See Akaninwo and ors. v. Nsirim and ors (2008) 2 SCNJ 100, 113-114; Metzgei v. Department of Health and Social Security (1977) 3 All E.R. 444, 451; Wallensteiner v. Moir (1974) 3 All E.R. 217; Bello v. Eweka (1981) 1 S.C. 101; Motunwase v. Sorungbe (1988) 4 NWLR (Pt. 92) 90; Okedare v. Adebara  6 NWLR (Pt. 349) 157, 185; Quo Vadis Hotels and Restaurants Limited v. Commissioner of Lands Midwestern State and Others (1973) 6 SC 71, 96; Agbaje v. Agboluaje (1970) 1 All NLR 21, 26; Fabunmi v. Agbe (1985) 1 NWLR (Pt. 2) 299, 318; Akande v. Adisa and anor (2012) 8 SCM 56, 80 C-D; Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) v. INEC and ors (2011) 12 (Pt. 2) SCM 149, 174; G-H. Declaratory reliefs are not granted as a matter of course on a platter of gold. They are only granted when credible evidence has been led by the Claimant or person seeking the declaratory reliefs. See Col. Nicholas Anyaru (RTD) V Mandlas Ltd (2007) 4 SCNJ 388, (2007) 10 NWLR (Pt.1045) 463. It is in line with these principles of law that I shall consider the reliefs sought by the claimant with a view to determining his entitlement or otherwise. 65. By relief 1, the Claimant is seeking for declaration that his expulsion from the 2nd Defendant via a letter dated 14/7/2016, for continued anti-union activities is unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void. The fact based on which this relief is founded is that following constitutional breaches in the 2nd Defendant, the Claimant as a financial member wrote a letter of complaint (exhibit CLC1-3), to the Defendants pertaining to the issues, but instead of addressing those issues he was unduly expelled from the 2nd Defendant. The Claimant averred that his expulsion was because of his letter of complaint and the institution of this suit. 66. The Defendants in their response averred that the suspension and subsequent expulsion of the Claimant was as a result of his attack on the Rivers State members of the 2nd Defendant and subsequently the involvement of the Claimant in forgery of names and signatures of members, including letter headed paper of the union. The expulsion was done at the state level acting on report (exhibit D1-5) of a committee headed by Comrade Fidelis Ologhodien. The Claimant was restrained by court order from further parading himself or make representation to third parties, government bodies, departments and agencies of Rivers State government or in any way holding himself out as person running/piloting the affairs of Rivers State chapter of 2nd Defendant. It was also averred that upon receipt of the letter of complaint of the Claimant, the 2nd Defendant set up a committee by the Rivers State Chapter to investigate the allegation by the Claimant against the 1st Defendant. The Claimant was invited to appear and substantiate his claim but failed and neglected to honour the invitation. Consequent, upon the refusal of the Claimant to appear the panel proceed and wrote its report based on which Claimant was expelled from the 2nd Defendant. It was argued that the expulsion of the Claimant from 2nd Defendant followed due process. It was further argued that refusal of the Claimant to submit himself to the committee amount to admission. 67. It is the consensus of parties from the evidence before the court, that the claimant was a bona fide member of the 2nd defendant, but he was suspended from the 2nd defendant vide exhibit E, letter of suspension dated 30/7/2015. The committee set up to investigate the complaint of the Claimant against the 2nd Defendant, was to investigate the Claimant’s complaint in exhibit CLC1-6. This position is supported by exhibit D1-5. 68. The law is trite that every Employee is entitled to belong to any trade union of his choice that covers the activities of his work. See section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended. This right must be distinguished, from employee’s right to be admitted to membership of trade union which is not absolute, it is subject to rules on eligibility. See section 12 of Trade Unions Act. Once employee is eligible for membership of a particular trade union, he is not to be refused admission, by reason only that he is of a particular community, tribe, place of origin, religious or political opinion. Therefore, a person employed in a particular establishment automatically becomes eligible for membership of a union, which covers his type of employment. There is also no permanent membership of a trade union. An employee that becomes or is a member of a trade union may lose his membership if he violates the code of conduct for being a member. However, a member of a trade union may lose his membership if he breach the rule book or constitution of the trade union, through disciplinary proceeding. Any action or disciplinary proceeding not in line with disciplinary procedure will be ultra vires. 69. Exhibit CLA1-3, is the letter of expulsion of the Claimant from the 2nd Defendant. The letter in unmistakable terms stated that the expulsion of the Claimant from the 2nd Defendant was due to the Claimant’s continued anti-union activities. In the body of exhibit CLA1-3, it was stated that the reason for the expulsion to include anti-union, blatant lies, and false information against the National president and rank and file of members. For emphasis it was stated committee set up to investigate and make recommendations on the finding in the petition against the 1st Defendant made findings and recommendations. The findings include non-following due process in not routing the complaint/petition through the Rivers State chapter of the 2nd Defendant. 70. Exhibit D1-5, clearly shows that it is a report of the three member Committee set up on complaint of abuse of office gross misconduct, lack of due process, absence of annual budget, lack of accountability in the management of union’s fund and gross violation of right, freedom and privileges of members against the National president, comrade Kiri Mohammed Shuaibu, by Comrade Confidence Amah, (exhibit CLC1-6), the Claimant in this suit. Paragraph 3 of exhibit D1-5, contained the terms of reference for the committee which is to invite complainant for interview, investigate to and ascertain the true facts of the complaint, obtain documentary evidence of all allegations and make appropriate recommendation according to finding of the complaint. Exhibit CLC1-6, is the acknowledged copy of the complaint that was the subject matter of exhibit D1-5. 71. What emerges from a careful perusal of exhibits CLA1-3, CLC1-6 and D1-5, is that the members of the committee set up to investigate the allegations contained in exhibit CLC1-6, did exceed their mandate by considering extraneous matters that are not part of their terms of reference. All the findings contained in paragraphs 6 – 13, of exhibit D1-5, were not part of the mandate of the committee. In the circumstances the report is tainted with bias for considering extraneous matters and making findings on those matters not within the terms of reference. This has infected the report and renders it unreliable. 72. From the evidence before the court the expulsion of the Claimant from the 2nd Defendant was done during the pendency of this suit. In view of this finding I agree with the Claimant that his expulsion from the 2nd Defendant was because of his complaint in exhibit CLC1-6 and the institution of this suit before this court. 73. The Defendants are not justified in their action, if the Claimant had been on suspension since 30/7/2015 and no committee was set up to try him, why the hurry to set up a committee to try him for a complaint lodged in April 2016 which culminated in his expulsion. The entire disciplinary process was hastily contrived upon receipt of Claimant’s complaint. From the evidence the committee was set up during the pendency of this suit and report and expulsion were all during the pendency of this suit. The Defendants should have exercise restraint and allowed the court to determine the suit before taking any action. What a Speed? Speed and justice cannot abide in peace as they are strange bed fellows. 74. The Defendant claimed that they follow due process in expelling the Claimant from 2nd Defendants in line with the provisions of the Constitution of the 2nd Defendant, but the Defendants failed to tender the Constitution for the Court to be able to ascertain the veracity of their claim of following due process. 75. In view of the foregoing, I hereby declare the expulsion of the Claimant from the 2nd Defendant as per exhibit CLA1-3, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void. The Claimant having succeeded in prayer 1 is entitled to be granted prayer 5, for an order nullifying Claimant’s expulsion. 76. Reliefs 2, 3 and 4, are declarations regarding the eligibility of the 1st Defendant to continue to steer the leadership of the 2nd Defendant and not being qualified for honourarium and other allowances. The Claimant hinged his claim on his allegation that the 1st Defendant has retired from the service of the Jigawa State civil Service, which made him ineligible to continue to lead the 2nd Defendant. He relied heavily on rule 4 of the 2nd Defendant constitution and Kano state Gazette. The 1st Defendant on his part maintains that he was due to retire from service in year 2018 and not 2016 as being alleged by the Claimant. In proof of the assertion the 1st defendant placed reliance on exhibits C and exhibit H1-10. 77. It is trite law that he who assert has the burden of establishing his claim. See sections 131, 132 and 133 of the Evidence Act, 2011. See also Veepee Industry Ltd V Cocoa Industry Ltd (2008) 1 NWLR (PT.1105) 486, Fajemirekun V GB Nigeria Ltd (2009) 5 NWLR (Pr.1135) 588, Iteogu V LPDC (2009) 17 NWLR (P.1171) 614, it is clear from these authorities that the Claimant is duty bound to adduced credible evidence in proof of his reliefs. It is after production of evidence in proof that the burden will shift on to the Defendants. The Claimant has in his pleading stated that he will rely on the Kano State Gazaette to prove that the 1st Defendant was due to retire or has retired from Jigawa State Civil Service in 2016. However, surprisingly this vital document was not tendered by the Claimant. The Claimant also did not tender the Constitution of the 2nd Defendant which he relied on to prove the ineligibility of the 1st Defendant to continue to be the president of the 2nd Defendant. What all these means is that the Claimant does not have any evidence to prove the date of retirement of the 1st Defendant from service. It may be because of lack of credible evidence to be adduced in proof that the counsel for the Claimant stated in the last paragraph of page 3 of the Claimant’s final written address as follows:- ‘’The Claimant having suspected that the 1st Defendant had retired from the civil service wrote a letter to the 2nd Defendant complaining about same and some other unconstitutional activities in the 2nd Defendant. All in the bid to utilize his Constitutional right of internal dispute resolution mechanism. And instead of investigating the allegations, the Defendants decided to expel the Claimant without due process.’’ 78. The above quotation from page 3 of the Claimant’s final address has said it all, it has exposed the Claimant of being bereft of facts and evidence regarding his claim on the 1st Defendant’s purported retirement from Jigawa State Civil Service. In the circumstances, I have no choice than to agree with the counsel for the Defendants that the claim of the Claimant in so far as they relate to issue of retirement of 1st clamant is spurious and at large and in the realm of fantasy. The reliefs regarding retirement date of the 1st Defendant were based on speculation and guess work, which have no place in our jurisprudence. 79. The finding above is confirmed by reliefs 6 and 7, these reliefs clearly shows that the claimant is not in possession of any credible evidence to prove his allegations against the 1st Defendant, all that the Claimant engaged in doing is to use the process of court to fish for evidence to prove his claim. This kind of procedure will not be allowed. It is either he has evidence to prove his case or he has no evidence and failed to prove his case. There is no duty on court a fishing for evidence in proof of claimant’s case. The Claimant is duty bound to adduce credible evidence n proof of his case. Nwozoke V The State (1988) NWLR (Pt.72) 529, (1988) LPELR-2135(SC). It is trite law that it is not part of the duty of court to do cloistered justice by making an inquiry into the case. See Dickson V Silva & Ors (2016) LPELR-41257(SC). 80. In view of the foregoing, I find that the Claimant has failed to prove reliefs 2, 3 and 4, due to lack of proof by concrete, credible and convincing evidence. Reliefs 6 and 7 are dependent on grant of prayers 2, 3 and 4, those reliefs having failed reliefs 6 and 7 must also fail. The court cannot make finding of facts from bare pleadings, as pleading cannot take place of evidence. See Nika Fishing Co. Ltd V Lavina Corporation (2008) 16 NWLR (Pt.1114) 509, (2008) LPELR-2035(SC)., (2008) 6-7 SC (Pt.ii) 200. 81. On the whole, from the finding of this court the Claimant succeed only in respect of reliefs 1 and 5 of the claim, all other reliefs failed and are hereby dismissed. 82. Judgment entered accordingly. Sanusi Kado, Judge. REPRESENTATION: Stephen Apeh, Esq; for the Claimant N. A. Idakwo, Esq; for the Defendants.