In The Supreme Court of Nigeria
On Friday, the 20th day of April, 2018
Before Their Lordships
OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
AMIRU SANUSI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
1. INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE
2. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, AKWA IBOM STATE
3. NIGERIA POLICE COUNCIL – Appellants
1. MOBIL PRODUCING NIGERIA UNLIMITED
2. OKON JOHNSON
3. NKEREUWEM AKPE
4. NSITIGHE IKPAM
5. CALISTUS NWAFOR
6. EMMANUEL NWOKEZI
7. ERIC TEENWI
8. AFFIONG ETIM
9. AMANGI ALA
10. JOSEPH BAMISHAYE
11. GODWIN TOMBRA
12. CHARLES OKON
13. DADA ROTIMI
14. RAJI LATEEF
15. TAIWO LAIDI
16. OPUBO SOKUBO
(FOR THEMSELVES AND ON BEHALF OF THE SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICERS WORKING AS SECURITY OFFICERS FOR THE PROTECTION OF PROPERTIES OF MOBIL PRODUCING UNLIMITED) – Respondents
JOHN INYANG OKORO, J.S.C. (Delivering the leading Judgment): This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division delivered on the 21st day of May, 2009. This is a sister appeal, to appeal No. SC.33/2010 between Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited v. Okon Johnson and 17 Ors just delivered today, 20/4/2018. All the issues submitted for the determination of this appeal were also agitated in the earlier appeal. This Court is being called upon to repeat the exercise. The 1st Respondent herein was the appellant in Appeal No. SC.33/2010 while the 1st-3rd appellants herein were the 16th-18th Respondents. As I said, all the issues in the instant appeal are the same in the earlier appeal and the parties are also the same.I find it cumbersome and a waste of precious judicious time to repeat the exercise. This appeal should abide the outcome of appeal No. SC.33/2010. Accordingly, I hold that this appeal has no merit and is also dismissed. I make no order as to costs.
OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR, J.S.C.: I had the benefit of reading a draft copy of the leading judgment delivered by my learned brother, Okoro, JSC.
My learned brother has affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal. I agree with his lordship.
The appeal is accordingly dismissed.
MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI, J.S.C.: I agree with the judgment just delivered by my learned brother, John Inyang Okoro, JSC and to register the support I have in the reasonings, I shall make some remarks.
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division: Coram: Kumai B. Akaahs, JCA (as he then was), Jean Omokri and Theresa Ngolika Orji-Abadua, JJCA otherwise called the Court below or Lower Court delivered on the 21st day of May, 2009 which upturned the decision of the trial Federal High Court per G. K. Olotu J. sitting at Uyo which decided that 2nd-16th respondents are not employees of the 1st respondent but employees of the appellant.
The details of the facts leading to this appeal are well set out in the lead judgment and I shall not repeat them save to make references to any part as the occasion warrants.
3.2 Whether, having found that the action was wrongly commenced by an Originating Summons, the lower Court was right in ignoring its earlier decision in N.N.P.C. v. Abdulrahman (2006) NWLR (Pt. 993) 202 and other Supreme Court decisions, by not striking out the case. (Grounds 2 and 3).
3.3 Whether the Court below correctly construed Section 18 of the Police Act by holding that Supernumerary Police Officers are appointed from members of the Nigeria Police Force. (Grounds 4 and 6).
3.4 Whether, having found the 2nd-16th Respondents to be employees of the 1st respondent (i.e. Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited) a non-statutory employer, the lower Court was not wrong to have ordered the reinstatement of the 2nd-16th respondents which is only consistent with statutory employment. (Ground 5).
3.5 Whether the Court below was right in disturbing the findings of fact by the learned trial Court which held that from the onset of the recruitment exercise the plaintiffs (now 2nd-16th respondents) were aware that they were being recruited as Spy police for the establishment of the 1st defendant (i.e. Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited) and that the appellant (the police) pay the salaries of the 2nd-16th respondents, while the 1st respondent (i.e. Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited) pay the 2nd-16th respondent only variable allowances and that there was substantial compliance with the law in the enlistment of the 2nd-16th respondents by the defendants. (Ground 7).
Learned counsel for the 1st respondent, K. Sofola SAN did not file a brief of argument.
Learned counsel for the 2nd-16th respondents adopted their brief of argument filed on 11/12/17 and deemed filed on 23/1/18 and in it raised five issues for determination which are thus:-
1. Whether the process leading to employment of the 2nd-16th respondent were in accordance with the provisions
of Section 18 of the Police Act to make them the employees of the appellants and subject them to the command of the appellants or that of the 1st respondent. (Grounds 4, 6).
2. Whether there is a legally binding contract between the 1st respondent and the 2nd-16th respondents. (Ground 1).
3. Whether having found the 2nd-16th respondents to be employees of the 1st respondent, and not having been dismissed but the 1st respondent, the lower Court was right to have reinstated them. (Ground 5).
4. Whether the Court below was right to determine the dispute as presented by the parties before it in the notice of appeal despite observing that the suit was wrongly commenced by originating summons. (Grounds 2 and 3).
5. Whether the Court below was right to disturb a finding of the trial Court where same could lead to a miscarriage of justice. (Ground 7).
The 2nd-16th respondents had earlier in the brief of argument argued the Preliminary Objection which has to be dealt with before anything else since the jurisdiction of the Court or otherwise is at stake.
I shall set down below the grounds upon which this objection is agitated, thus:-
TAKE FURTHER NOTICE THAT THE GROUNDS of the same objection are as follows:-
i. That the appellants herein did not have the locus to appeal the decision of the lower Court as envisaged by the provisions of Section 233 (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
ii. That the decision of the lower Court did not affect the interest of the appellants and no imposition of any obligation whatsoever on the appellants from the judgment of the lower Courts.
iii. That the appellants were parties at the lower Court but did not respond to the briefs of the 2nd-16th respondents at the lower Court thereby admitting the argument canvassed at the lower Court.
iv. The grounds 2 and 3 of the appellants Amended Notice of Appeal are incompetent as they were distilled from obiter dictum of the judgment of lower Court as against the ratio decidendi of the said judgment.
v. The issues formulated in the brief of argument from the said grounds 2 and 3 of the amended notice of appeal are argued together with issue formulated in ground 4.
vi. The said issues are incompetent having been argued together with incompetent grounds of appeal.
vii. That there is no competent appeal and brief of argument.
Learned counsel for the respondents/Objectors stated that grounds 2 and 3 of the amended notice of appeal is a complaint against an obiter dictum of the lower Court and not against the ratio decidendi of the Court and that the Court should strike them out.
That an appeal is usually against the ratio decidendi of the judgment of a lower Court and not in respect of the obiter dictum made by the Court in the course of the said judgment. He cited Saude v. Abdullahi (1989) 4 NWLR (Pt. 116). That what grounds 2 and 3 seek to challenge is not the ratio decidendi in the decision of the Court but only a mere comment or passing remark which was not presented before the Court below for adjudication and so Issue 2 from the said grounds should be struck out. He referred to Saraki v. Kotoye (1992) 9 NWLR (Pt. 264) 156 at 162, Bello v. Governor of Kogi State (1997) 9 NWLR (Pt. 521) 496 at 513-514; Section 233 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
Learned Senior Counsel for the objector contended that an appeal is for an aggrieved person to approach the Court to ventilate his grievance and that is not the case here, where the 1st appellant is not aggrieved and so the appeal is not competent as it is against the provisions of Section 233 (5) CFRN. He cited Nuhu v. Ogele (2003) 18 NWLR (Pt. 852) 253; Societe Generale Bank (Nig.) Ltd v. Afekoro (1999) 11 NWLR (Pt. 627) 510; Sun Insurance Office Ltd. v. Ojemuyiwa (1965) 1 All NLR 1.
In response, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that even though the appellants did not participate in the appeal by the 2nd to 16th respondents in the Court below because they were not aware of the said appeal, that does not translate to admitting the brief of argument of the 2nd to 16th respondent. That as soon as appellants got to know through the agents of the 1st respondent’s appeal No. SC/33/2010 lodged at the Supreme Court by the 1st respondent took steps to initiate the appeal herein.
He submitted that 2nd to 16th respondents/objectors commenced this action by way of Originating Summons, in the Federal High Court Uyo, the appellants objected to this but the Court overruled them. That the Objectors cannot rightly say that the judgment of the Court below was not against the appellants as appellants lost their employees as the Court declared that they are employees of the 1st respondent as against being employees of the appellants.
Learned Senior Advocate for the appellant contended that even though no appeal can arise out of an obiter dictum but where the obiter dictum has a strong nexus to and is strongly influenced by the ratio in which case both the obiter dictum and the ratio decidendi are almost inseparatable, the appeal on that point will be valid. He relied on N.N.P.C. v. Abdulrahman(2006) NWLR (Pt. 993) 202; Buhari & Ors v. Obasanjo & Ors (2003) 11 SC 1 at 119/120.
That the decision of the Court below declaring the 2nd to 16th respondents, as the employees of the 1st respondent as against SPY Police Officers under the appellants constitute both the relief against the appellants and the grievance of the appellants against the judgment of the Court below. He relied on Section 131 (1) of the Evidence Act; Buhari & Ors v. Obasanjo & Ors (2003) 11 SC 74 at 99/100.
The Preliminary Objection raised seems to me activated against the run of events in the acts that led to the suit in the first place and the decision of the Court below.
Getting back to the origin, the Court of Appeal on 21st May, 2009 set aside the judgment of the trial Federal High Court, Uyo delivered on January 24th, 2006 and held the 2nd-16th respondents are employees of the 1st respondent and not that of the appellants. It is a fact that appellants herein did not participate in the appeal by the 2nd-6th respondents as they were not aware of the said appeal, however the decision of the Court below was to the effect that 2nd to 16th respondents are employees of 1st respondent as against being those of the appellants which decision led to the appellants loss of their workers to the 1st respondent. It was in being aggrieved of the above stated decision that the appellants lodged Appeal No. SC/334/2010 against the 1st respondent.
To refresh the memory, the 2nd to 16th respondents had commenced this action by way of originating summons in the Federal High Court Uyo which the appellants herein objected to but the Court of trial overruled. I shall set out excerpts of the said judgment of the Federal High Court as follows:-
“4 Some other issues
(1) Commencement of Plaintiffs Action by Originating Summons.
“The 2nd-4th defendants (i.e. the appellants herein) challenged the method by which the plaintiffs commenced this action on the ground that the affidavits filed by the parties raised serious disputes over facts. Therefore the Originating Summons procedure was improper in commencing this action. The plaintiffs in their rejoinder submitted that the commencement of their action by Originating Summons was very proper. They submitted further that the affidavits are extensive and had several documents annexed as to them, but there was no substantial dispute as to the facts adduced by the carious parties”.
That Court of trial went on further thus:-
“My earlier review of a substantial part of the facts adduced by all the parties revealed that the facts related to the method of employment and recruitment of the plaintiffs as Spy Police. As submitted by the plaintiffs’ counsel, there was no substantial dispute of these facts. In fact, both the plaintiffs and defendants were in agreement about the procedure and method adopted in the employment process. What was in dispute is whether the procedure was in compliance with the procedure laid down by law. Order 2 Rule 2 (2) (b) of the Federal High Court (Civil procedure) Rules provides that proceedings may be began by Originating Summons where there is unlikely to be any substantial dispute of facts. It is this kind of case that Order 2 Rule 2 (2) (b) had in contemplation. I therefore hold that the plaintiffs rightly and properly began this action by way of Originating Summons. The case of Habib Nig. Bank Ltd v. Ochete (2001) FWLR (Pt. 58) 384 held is very apt and instructive on this issue. From the foregoing, I hold that plaintiffs suit commenced by Originating Summons was properly commenced”.
(Underline for emphasis).
From those parts of the said judgment, the Objector cannot rightly object to the appeal of the appellants herein based on their being unaffected by the judgment of the Court below. This is because the judgment of both Courts below touched the interest of the appellants herein and they have a right to cry out and to be heard irrespective of their not being parties to the appeal in the Court below. I rely on the case of Waziri v. Gumel & Anor (2012) 3 SC (Pt. iii) 1 at 26 where in it was held by this Court thus:-
“My humble take on the argument above is that those are issues which are premature and to be handled when the merits of the appeal are considered and not at this stage which narrow question is whether or not the 1st respondent should be allowed in to state his case with reference to his own interest in the disputed property. “Another way of saying what I stated above is that what is to be considered at this stage and within the context of the application is whether the appellant has a grievance that needs be showcased and at the hearing of the appeal. That once the applicant and in this instance the 1st respondent has shown he had the Locus Standi, everything else has to wait for the enlarged gathering at the hearing on the merit of the appeal. The condition that is to enable the 1st respondent to be let into the full discourse is existing and that is all that matters now. See Fawehinmi v. Akilu (1987) NSCC 1265 at 1289 Dairo v. Gbadamosi in Re – Afolabi (1987) 4 NWLR (Pt. 63) 18.”
Also in the Supreme Court decision in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited v. Monokpo (2003) 12 SC (Pt. 11) 50 at Pp 66-67 where it was held as follows:-
“It is true that the judgment of the trial Court which was affirmed by the Court below was given against only the second defendant. In effect, the first defendant is not an aggrieved party that can appeal against the judgment of the Court below to this Court simply on the basis that it was a party to the proceedings in which judgment was given in reliance on the provision of Section 233 (5) of the 1999 Constitution which says that “Any right of appeal to the Supreme Court from the decisions of the Court of Appeal conferred by this Section shall be exercisable in the case of civil proceedings at the instance of a party thereto”. That provision must be understood to apply to an aggrieved person or party.
“A party to proceedings cannot appeal a decision arrived there at which does not wrongfully deprive him of an entitlement or something which he had a right to demand. Unless there is such a grievance, he cannot appeal against a judgment which has not affected him since the whole exercise may turn out to be academic. Under no circumstance can it be argued that a party to a proceeding who has not been affected by a decision may nevertheless appeal against it merely as a party. See, for instance Akinbiyi v. Adelabu (1956) SCNLR 109 where it was recognized that a person entitled to appeal is a person aggrieved by a decision, i.e. a person against whom a decision has been pronounced which deprived him of some right”.
It is clear therefore that the contention by learned counsel for the 2nd to 16th respondents that the appellants lacked locus standi to appeal the decision of the Court below as envisaged by the provisions of Section 233 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended because they appellants did not participate in the Court of Appeal is an argument that falls flat on its face being unsustainable in the light of appellants being directly affected by the decision of that Court below.
In respect to the other area in this preliminary objection which has to do with the competency of Grounds 2 and 3 of the appellants’ Notice of Appeal since according to the Objectors were complaints against an obiter dictum of the Court below and not against the ratio decidendi of the lower Court and so this Court is urged to strike them out. It is true and has become trite in law that appeal does not arise out of an obiter dictum or side comment or as in local parlance ‘side talk’ but there is an exception to that general rule which is that where the ratio decidendi and the obiter dictum are so intertwined and almost inseparable the appeal on the point in issue will be valid. What this translates to is that an appellate Court should not rush to striking out grounds of appeal and I daresay that issues emanating therefrom without caution. As the Court could unwittingly strike out would look like an obiter dictum which would turn round to be not the ratio decidendi but a side comment that is germane and cannot be easily dislodged from the ratio decidendi. A situation as I am trying to put across presented in the case of N.N.P.C. v. Abdulrahman (2006) NWLR (Pt. 993) 202 at 207, Court of Appeal decision which stated thus:-
“6. On mode of commencement of action challenging termination of employment proceedings for the challenge of termination of employment must be begun normally by the issue of a Writ of Summons within the period prescribed by the relevant statute. In the instant case, apart from the fact that the action was statute barred, it was also commenced by means of an Originating Summons instead of by a Writ of Summons. This was wrong in law and the trial Court should have struck out the action on that basis. (Eboigbe v. N.N.P.C. (1994) 5 NWLR (Pt. 347) 649; Sanda v. Kukawa Local Government (1991) 2 NWLR (Pt. 174) referred to). P.217 para. E-G).” (Underlining mine). See also Tobi,
JSC in the case of Buhari & Ors v. Obasanjo & Ors (2003) 11 SC 1 at 119/120 where he stated as follows:-
“A statement by a Judge, either by way of a ratio decidendi or an Obiter dictum is determined in the context of the facts of the case before the Court. A ratio or an obiter cannot be determined outside the facts of the case or in vacuo”.
From the foregoing, I see no basis for this Preliminary Objection which ought to be despatched as quickly as possible so the Court can delve into the main assignment before it. The Objection lacks merit and it is dismissed.
I shall utilise Issue One of the appellant which is similar to that of the 2nd-16th respondents and settles the remaining dispute between the parties and all the other issues dovetail into issue one.
Whether the process leading to the employment of the 2nd-16th respondents were in accordance with the provisions of Section 18 of the Police Act to make them the employees of the appellants and subject them to the command of the appellants or that of the 1st respondent.
Learned counsel for the appellant contended that it is the law that for parties to a simple contract including contract of employment to be bound by the agreement, the parties must be ad idem on its terms at the time of its execution which is not the case at this instance. He cited Attorney General, Rivers State v. Attorney General, Akwa Ibom State (2011) 3 SC 1 at 37; Sparkling Breweries Ltd v. Union Bank of Nigeria Ltd (2001) 7 SC (Pt. ii) 146 at 168.
That there is no letter of appointment to warrant the 2nd-16th respondents being employees of the 1st respondent. That the Court below erred when it held that Supernumerary Police Officers are appointed from the Police Force.
Learned counsel for the appellants stated that the plaintiffs, now 2nd-16th respondents had their case predicated on issues of fact raising disputes on those facts and so the case ought not to have been commenced by originating summons but rather through a writ of summons. He cited Order 2 Rule 2 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2000; Amaske v. Registered Trustees of CAC & Anor (2010) 5-7 SC (Pt. 1) 147; P.D.P. v. Abubakar (2007) NWLR (Pt. 1022) 540 at 546.
In response, learned counsel for the respondents 2nd-16th contended that appointment into the supernumerary police force is one governed with statutory flavour as it is regulated by statute precisely Sections 18-22 of the Police Act. He cited Imoloame v. W.A.E.C (1992) 9 NWLR (Pt. 265) 303.
That where a statute has provided for the doing of anything it must be done in accordance with the express provision of the statute and so the Court below averted its mind to the provisions of Section 18 of the Police Actand came to the conclusion it reached. He referred toAdeniyi v. Governing Council of Yaba Tech. (1993) 6 NWLR (Pt. 426) at 461; Olaniyan v. University of Lagos (1985) 2 NWLR (Pt. 9) 599 etc.
That the Court below was right to have interfered with the findings and decision of the trial Court, holding that the 2nd-16th respondents were not employees of the 1st respondent.
What I see as the enabling statutory provisions in the appointment of supernumerary police officers (Spy police) for short are found in Sections 18-22 of the Police Act and I shall quote Section 18 for effect hereunder, viz:-
(1) Any person (including any government department) who desires to avail himself of the services of one or more police officers for the protection of property owned or controlled by him may make application there for the Inspector General, stating the nature and situation of the property in question and giving such other particulars as the Inspector General may require.
(2) On an application under the foregoing subsection, the Inspector General may with the approval of the president, direct
the appropriate authority, to appoint as supernumerary Police Officers in the Force such number of persons as the Inspector General thinks requisite for the protection of the property to which the application relates.
(3) Every Super numeral Police Officer appointed under this act;
(a) Shall be appointed in respect of the area of the Police province or where there is no Police province, the Police district or Police division in which the property which he is to protect is situated.
(b) Shall be employed exclusively on duties connected with the protection of that property.
(c) Shall be posted in Police area in respect of which he is appointed and in any police area adjacent thereto, but not elsewhere, have the powers, privileges and immunity of a Police Officer. And
(d) Subject to the restrictions imposed by Paragraphs (b) and (c) of this Subsection and the provisions of S. 22 of this Act, shall be a member of the force for all purposes and shall accordingly be subject to the provisions of this Act and in particular the provision thereof relating to discipline.
(4) Where any supernumerary Police Officer is appointed under this section, the person availing himself of the services of that officer shall pay to the Account-General;
(a) On enlistment of the officer, the full cost of the officer uniform.
(b) Quarterly in advance, a sum equal to the aggregate of the amount of the officer’s pay for the quarter in question and such additional amounts as the Inspector General may direct to be paid in respect of the maintenance of the officer during that quarter.
In tackling the question whether a person has been appointed as a supernumerary Police Officer or Spy Police officer, it is the Primary Legislation that has to taken in view while so considering the question as to whether there has been conformity with the law creating such an employment.
It has become trite that where a legislation has provided for the doing of anything in a specific manner nothing short of that specification will suffice in doing that thing provided for. Therefore the regulating law for our purpose herein is the Police Act with particular reference to Section 18(1) and (2).
A cursory look at the provision of the said Act, that the process of appointment into the Spy Police Force is kick-started with an application to the Inspector General of Police by any person or government department desirous of having its property to be protected by the supernumerary Police Officer. In this case in hand there is no evidence proffered to show that such an application to the Inspector General of Police, the 1st appellant in the way and manner stipulated in Section 18(1), (2) of the Police Act. That failure is fatal to whoever claims to have so appointed persons in the capacity asserted. See Adeniyi v. Governing Council of Yabatech (1993) 6 NWLR (Pt. 426) 461; Olaniyan v. University of Lagos (1985) 2 NWLR (Pt. 9) 599, Olufeagba v. Abdur-Raheem (2009) 18 NWLR 384. For clarity, the 2nd-16th respondents were not recruited or appointed on the instruction of the Inspector-General of Police (1st appellant) in the way and manner prescribed by Section 18 and 22 of the Police Act. The approval of the Head of State or President through the Inspector-General of Police was not sought for nor obtained before the 2nd-16th respondent’s were appointed. There is no evidence of the approval of the Inspector General of Police before the appointment of 2nd-16th respondent’s nor were uniforms of the Nigeria Police Force issued to the said respondents. The Court below was clearly right not to have considered the Force Administrative Instruction/Force Order having made a finding that the employment of the 2nd-16th respondents was not in compliance with the Sections 18-22 of the Police Act which is the substantive Law in the appointment of supernumerary Police Officers while the Force Administrative Order is a subordinate legislation and cannot take the pride of place in relation to the Police Act. That being so with the subordinate legislation inconsistent with the substantive provision of the statutory, the subordinate will give way being ultra-vires. See Oloriegbe v. Omotesho (1993) 1 NWLR (Pt. 270) 386.
From all that is before this Court there is nothing on which an interference by this Court can be justified and so the issue here is resolved against the appellants as the Court below was correct in holding that the 2nd-16th respondents were not employed in accordance with the process provided for in Sections 18-22 of the Police Actwhich govern appointment of supernumerary Police Officers and so are employees of the 1st respondent and not that of the appellants:
In the light of the above, I resolve this issue against the Appellants and no need to go into the other issues as I too see no merit in this appeal which I dismiss.
I abide by the consequential orders made.
AMIRU SANUSI, J.S.C.: This appeal is an offshoot of appeal No. SC.33/2010 in which judgment has just been delivered. The parties in this appeal are same with those in SC.33/2010 although they have different nomenclature. Since the facts and circumstance of the two appeals are the same, it will appear to me absurd to give different treatment to the two appeals.
It is therefore my view that the result in appeal No. SC.33/2010 should abide this appeal too.
SIDI DAUDA BAGE, J.S.C.: I have had the benefit of reading in draft the lead Judgment of my learned brother John Inyang Okoro, JSC just delivered. I agree entirely with the reasoning and conclusion reached. The appeal lacks merit, and it is accordingly dismissed by me.
Sebastian B. Ozoana, Esq. –For Appellant
K. Sofola, SAN with him, Roland Obemji, Esq., A. D. Wahab, Esq. and Aliyu Iliyasu, Esq. -1st Respondent
Femi Falana, SAN with him, O. K. Salawu, Esq. – 2nd-16th Respondent. – For Respondent