Just Decided – Latest JudgementsJanuary 19, 2015
Just Decided- Latest Judgement January 30th, 2015February 2, 2015
ALHAJI TAJUDEEN BABATUNDE HAMZAT & ANOR v. ALHAJI SALIU IREYEMI SANNI & 2 ORS
(Supreme Court – January 30th, 2015 )
Legalpedia Electronic Citation L:ER SC.295/2012
Areas of Law:
ACTION PRELIMINARY OBJECTION; JURISDICTION, PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE; LAW OF EVIDENCE
Summary of Facts:
The Plaintiffs/Appellants instituted an action against the Defendants/Respondents at the High Court of Ogun State, Sagamu Judicial Division by a Writ of Summons claiming among others, a declaration that the 1st Plaintiff/Appellant was the rightful holder of the office of the Chief Imam of Isara-Remo, having been duly turbaned on the 23rd of August, 2001 by the generality of the Muslim community of Isara-Remo. In a considered judgment, the trial Court found in favour of the Plaintiffs/Appellants which grossly displeased the Defendants/Respondents who then appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the trial Court on the ground that the Plaintiffs/Appellants had failed to prove their claims. Displeased with the decision of the lower court, the Plaintiffs/Appellants have appealed to the Supreme Court. The Defendants/Respondents however raised a Preliminary Objection against the appeal of the Plaintiffs/Appellants on the grounds that the statement of claim of the Plaintiffs/Appellants is incompetent since same was signed by “OLUMUYIWA OBANEWA AND CO.” as “Legal Practitioners, solicitors to the Plaintiffs”, thus robbing the trial court of the requisite jurisdiction to try the case.
Preliminary objection upheld, Appeal dismissed.
Issue for Determination:
PRELIMINARY OBJECTION – DUTY OF A RESPONDENT INTENDING TO RELY ON A PRELIMINARY OBJECTION TO THE HEARING OF THE APPEAL
“The purport of Order 2 Rule 9 (1) of the Rules of this court is very clear. It provides that:
“A respondent intending to rely upon a preliminary objection to the hearing of the appeal shall give the appellant three clear days notice thereof before the hearing, setting out the grounds of objection, and shall file such notice together with ten copies thereof with the Registrar within the same time”. PER S. GALADIMA, J.S.C.
QUESTION OF JURISDICTION – JURISDICTION CAN BE RAISED AT ANY TIME OF THE PROCEEDINGS.
“The question as to whether a court has jurisdiction or not to entertain an action can be raised at anytime of the proceedings and even for the first time at the appellate court inclusive of this court. See Pan African Co. Ltd v. NICON (1982) 95C1. Tukur V. Government Gongola State (1959) 4 NWLR (Pt.117) 517; Tiza V. Begha (2005) 15 NWLR (pt.949) 616.” PER S. GALADIMA, J.S.C.
JURISDICTION OF COURT– CONDITIONS TO BE FULFILLED BEFORE A COURT CAN ASSUME JURISDICTION OVER A MATTER.
“For a court to be competent to assume jurisdiction, the following three conditions must be satisfied:
(a) The court must be properly constituted as regards number and qualification of members of the bench.
(b) The subject matter of the case must be within the jurisdiction of the court.
(c) The case must come before the court initiated by one process of law and upon fulfillment of all condition precedent to the exercise of the jurisdiction.” PER S. GALADIMA, J.S.C.
DEFECT IN COMPETENCE OF A COURT PROCESS – EFFECT OF A DEFECT IN COMPETENCE OF A COURT PROCESS
“Any defect in competence of a court-process is fatal and the proceedings arising there from will be rendered a nullity, no matter how well conducted: See Madukolu v. Nkemdilim (1962) 2SCNLR 341; Skenconsult (Nig.) Ltd v. Ukey (1981) 1 SC6. SLB Consortium Ltd v. NNPC (supra).” PER S. GALADIMA, J.S.C.
INCOMPETENT STATEMENT OF CLAIM – EVIDENCE LED IN RESPECT OF AN INCOMPETENT STATEMENT OF CLAIM IS INCOMPETENT.
“You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay, it will fall. Evidence led in the case based on incompetent statement of claim is also incompetent and should be discountenanced and struck out.” PER O. ARIWOOLA, J.S.C.
CONDITION FOR JURISDICTION – A CONDITION PRECEDENT FOR ASSUMPTION OF JURISDICTION BY A COURT IS THAT THE MATTER BE INITIATED BY DUE PROCESS OF LAW.
“One of the conditions to be fulfilled upon which a court would be competent to assume jurisdiction is that the matter coming before the court is initiated by due process of law and upon fulfillment of all conditions precedent to the exercise of the jurisdiction.” PER K. B. AKA’AHS, J.S.C.
PLEADINGS – ISSUES CAN ONLY BE JOINED WHERE THE STATEMENT OF CLAIM IS VALID.
“No issues could have been joined on the pleadings unless the Statement of Claim was valid.” PER K. B. AKA’AHS, J.S.C.
Statutes Referred to:
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended
Legal Practitioner Act, Cap 207 Laws of the Federation, 1990
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