Aggrieved architects in fresh legal move against ARCON
Determined to get judicial reprieve, some concerned architects in Nigeria have initiated a fresh legal move against Architects’ Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) over its authority to conduct professional examinations for registration of architects in Nigeria.
The new suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, came barely a week after a Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja High Court declined jurisdiction to entertain the subject matter.Justice Muawiyah Baba Idris of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja High Court struck out a similar suit challenging Architects’ Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) for conducting any examination for those seeking to become registered architects.
The judge said the proper place to file such suit was a Federal High Court, because ARCON was an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria.But unlike the previous suit, which had ARCON, Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) ARCON President, Sir Dipo Ajayi, and NIA President, Njoku Adibe, as first to fourth defendants respectively, the plaintiffs in the new suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja named ARCON and the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Institute of Architects as the only defendants.
In a motion of notice filed by their lawyer, Dr. Paul Ananaba, the plaintiffs namely Ibrahim Kabir, Ayodeji Kolawole, Andy Imafidon, Dike Emmanuel, Opiribo West, Abimbola Ajayi, Emmanuel Ekeruche and Nicholas Musa are urging the court to stop the Council from conducting professional examinations for registration of architects in Nigeria.
Specifically, they are seeking an order of interlocutory injunction restraining ARCON, (the first respondent) from conducting and / or purported to conduct any professional examinations by whatever name or form for registration of architects in Nigeria whether by themselves, servants, agents and proxy pending the hearing and determination of the summons.
The application is supported by 45-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Nicholas Musa, an Abuja based architect and accompanied by a written address.
The list of plaintiffs also include who sued for himself and other interested registered architects.Other plaintiffs, who sat and passed the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) qualifying examination, but are yet to be registered by ARCON are Ademakinwa Olajumoke, Babjide Awonubi, Siyanbola Kukola and Emmanuel Adewunmi, who also sued for himself and other aggrieved persons.
The suit premised on 11 grounds, noted that the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Institute of Architects ( 2nd defendant) has the responsibility as provided by ARCON Act to conduct the Professional Practice Competence Examination leading to the registration of architects in Nigeria.
It also stated that 2nd defendant has been conducting the said competence examination for about many decades biannually ( March and September), while the statue specifically provides that ARCON ( the first defendant) regulate the profession and keep the register of qualified architects. The plaintiffs stated that the 2nd defendant in September 2016, March 2017 and September 2017 advertised for application of professional practice competence examination to eligible candidates of which the 10th -14th plaintiffs applied and sat for the said examination conducted by the 2nd defendant.
According to them, after the 10th- 14th defendants along others passed the examination conducted in September 2016, March 2017 and September 2017 the first defendant blatantly refused to issue licence and register them and others who sat for the examination. They further stated that ARCON, which is not statutorily empowered to carry out any qualifying examination for architects but to licence and put names of successful architects in the register of architects has since 2016 been making efforts to set competence examination for architects.
The plaintiffs are therefore asking the court to hold that ARCON is in breach of the provisions of their rights under the ARCON Act , which has done a prejudicial and irreparable damage to them including the loss of seniority they will suffer if any forthcoming unlawful examination sought to be carried out by the defendants is carried out with registering the previous ones, who have hitherto passed the said qualifying examinations.
Also, the plaintiffs had through their counsel filed a motion Ex-parte for interim injunction against the defendants on the matter.The motion brought pursuant to Order 26 Rule 1 and Order 28, Rule 1 (2) of the Federal High Court, Civil Procedure Rules 2019, and accompanied by an affidavit of urgency is yet to be assigned to a judge.