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BY INTERPRETATION ACT, SINGULAR MEANS PLURAL IN ANY LEGISLATION

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Let me hasten to state that even if the phrase any person denotes singular, by Section 14 of the Interpretation Act, in construing enactments, words in the singular include the plural and words in the plural include the singular. See COKER v. ADETAYO (1996) 6 NWLR (PT 454) 258 at 266, UDEH v. THE STATE (1999) LPELR (3292) 1 at 16-17 and APGA v. OHAZULUIKE (2011) LPELR (9175) 1 at 24-25.

— U.A. Ogakwu, JCA. ITDRLI v NIMC (2021) – CA/IB/291/2020

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GENERAL PROVISION MUST GIVE WAY FOR SPECIFIC PROVISION

The law is trite that where there is a specific legislation on a matter, the general principle of law must give way and cannot override the specific provisions of law on the subject. See Orubu v. INEC (1988) 12 SCN) 256 at 349, Unity Bank Plc. v. Kay Plastic Nig. Limited & anor (2011) LPELR 8839 (CA).

– T. Akomolafe-Wilson, JCA. Onnoghen v. FRN (2019) – CA/A/44C/2019

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EFFECT ORDINARY MEANING WHERE WORDS OF STATUTES ARE CLEAR

The law is settled that where the words of a statute are clear, precise and unambiguous; the law mandates the Court to give such words their ordinary and literal meaning without any interpolation as there is nothing to interpret. The rationale behind this being that the cardinal function of the Courts is to declare the law and not to make law – jus dicere not jus dare. See Nwude V FRN (2015) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1506) 471; Raji v State (2012) LPELR-7968(CA) 75-78, paras F-F; Amoshima V State (2011) 4 NWLR (Pt. 1268) 530; & Tanko V State (2009) 4 NWLR (Pt. 1131) 430.

— J.H. Sankey, JCA. Brila Energy Ltd. v. FRN (2018) – CA/L/658CA/2017

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STATUTES ARE TO BE GIVEN THE ORDINARY MEANING

It is a settled cardinal principle of statutory interpretation that where, in their ordinary meaning the provisions are clear and unambiguous effect should be given to them without resorting to external aid. The duty of the court is to interpret the words of the statute as used. Those words may be ambiguous, but even if they are the power and duty of the court to travel outside them on a voyage of discovery are strictly limited (see for example Attorney-General of Bendel State v. Attorney-General of ‘the Federation (1981) 10S.C. 1; Abioyev.Yakubu(1991)5 NWLR (Pt. 190) 130, Lawal v. G.B. Ollivant (1972) 2 S.C. 124, Aya v. Henshaw (1972) 5 S.C. 87.

— I.L. Kutigi, JSC. Kotoye v. Saraki (1994) – S.C. 147/1993

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INTERPRETATION OF SECTION 82 CFRN 1999

In my view their power under the section is further circumscribed and limited by sub-section (2) of section 82. They can only invite members of the public when they want to gather facts for the purpose of enabling them make law or amend existing laws in respect of any matter within their legislative competence or as witnesses in a properly constituted inquiry under section 82(1)(b). Their power to expose corruption, inefficiency, or waste is also limited to government departments, authorities, and functionaries.

– Oguntade, JCA. El-Rufai v. House of Representatives (2003)

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