The Federal High Court in Ibadan has barred the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria from forcefully coopting information technology and computer services providers, as members.

Justice N. Ayo-Emmanuel, in the judgment delivered on February 1, but whose certified true copy was obtained on Wednesday, held that the Act establishing the council intended to create core professionals in the computer industry and not for trivialism.

The court arrived at the decision after interpreting the relevant provisions of Computer Professionals (Registration Council of Nigeria) Act; Control and Supervisory Regulations 2010; and Services Constituting Practice as a registered member of Computing Professional Regulation, 2015.

It held that going by the provisions the laws, the CPRCN was created for core professionals who must write and pass certain examinations to be qualified to be members.

The judge ruled that the body could, thus, not be seen to be compelling everybody, including traders on the streets who sells or repairs of computers or who has anything to do with Information Technology, to register with it.

The court ruled, “The above quoted provisions of the Act are very clear and unambiguous and as such must be given its ordinary and grammatical meaning.

“The Act tends to create core professionals in the computer industry which can be regulated like any other profession. The Act does not make room for trivialism.

“To be qualified to be registered as a member of the defendant, you must meet all the criteria set down in the Act.

“In implementing the Act, the defendant cannot be seen to be compelling everybody, including traders on the streets who sells or repairs of computers or who has anything to do with Information Technology to be registered with it.

“That will definitely be outside the objective of the Act.”

The suit marked FHC/IB/CS/23/2009 was filed by an Ibadan-based Information Technology and computer services firm, Citadel Oracle Concept Limited, which had urged the court to, among others, declare that as a limited liability company it did not fall into the category of organisations that must register with the CPRCN.

The plaintiff, through its counsel, Mr O. Echo, also urged the court to make an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant or its agents from sealing or further trespassing on any of its outlets.

The company had also sought an order directing the CPRCN to pay to it the sum of N700,000 for losses which it allegedly suffered on April 28, 2009 when the agents of the council allegedly disrupted its normal activities to force it to register with the body.

The suit was backed by a statement on oath deposed to by the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Benjamin Joseph, and Ebuka Victor.

Delivering judgment, Justice Ayo-Emmanuel granted the prayers of the plaintiff except the one seeking N700,000 compensation.

The judge held that the prayer could not be granted in the absence of any proof showing how much the plaintiff was making daily.

The court also dismissed the counter-claim filed by the CPRCN to ask for a declaration that Citadel’s refusal to be registered was unlawful.

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