Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

INTERPRETATION: WHERE AMBIGUITY EXIST

Dictum

On the other hand where the literal interpretation of the provision of a Statute will result in some ambiguity or injustice, the Court may seek internal aid within the body of the statute itself or external aid from statutes which are in pari materia in order to resolve the ambiguity or to avoid doing injustice in the matter.

– Nwaoma Uwa, JCA. NOGA v. NICON (2007)

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

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

Was this dictum helpful?

COURT SHOULD AVOID CONSTRUCTION THAT WILL CAUSE CHAOS

In Okotie Eboh v. Manager (supra) Pats-Acholonu, JSC (of blessed memory) pronounced as follows: ‘An interpretation that seeks to emasculate should be avoided as it would do disservice to the citizenry and confine everyone into a legal container or labyrinth from which this court may not easily extricate itself ——– I believe that though justice is blind, it is nevertheless rooted in the nature of society and therefore the court should avoid constructions that could cause chaos and disenchantment. Justice must be applied in a way that it embraces and optimizes social engineering that is for the welfare of society. Enlightened society should expect a highly refined and civilized justice that reflects the tune of the time.’

Was this dictum helpful?

STATUTES ARE TO BE READ AS A COMPOSITE WHOLE

There are certain settled principles that guide the Court in the interpretation of statutes. Generally, statutory provisions must be interpreted in the context of the whole statute and not in isolation. They must be interpreted in a manner that is most harmonious with its scheme and general purpose. Furthermore, where the subject matter being construed relates to other sections (or subsections) of the same statute, they must be read, considered and construed together as forming a composite whole. See: General Cotton Mill Ltd. Vs Travellers Palace Hotel (2018) 12 SC (Pt. II) 106 @ 130 lines 14 -35; 168 lines 20 – 31. See also: Obi Vs INEC (2007) 7 SC 268; Akpamgbo-Okadigbo & Ors. Vs Chidi & Ors. (2015) 3 – 4 SC (Pt. III) 25; Nobis-Elendu Vs INEC (2015) 6 – 7 SC (Pt. IV) 1.

— K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun JSC. Umeano v. Anaekwe (SC.323/2008, Friday January 28 2022)

Was this dictum helpful?

GIVE ORDINARY MEANING WHERE STATUTORY PROVISIONS ARE CLEAR

The above constitutional provisions are clear, plain and unambiguous and should be accorded their literal interpretation by attaching the ordinary grammatical meaning to the words used therein. It is trite law that the elementary rule of construction is that words used in a statute should be given their ordinary grammatical meaning. Where the statutory provisions are plain and unambiguous, the Court should not go beyond their clear import. See Nabhan v. Nabhan (1967) 1 All NLR 47; Adejumo v. Gov; Lagos State (1972) 2 SC 45; Ogbuanyinya v. Okudo (1979) 6-9 SC 32; Ogbonna v. A-G; Imo State (1992) 1 NWLR (Pt. 200) 647 and Skye Bank PLC v. Victor Anaemem Iwu (2017) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1590) 24 at 87, per Nweze, JSC.

— M.A.A. Adumein JCA. Anibor V. EFCC (CA/B/305/2012, 11 DEC 2017)

Was this dictum helpful?

WHERE WORDS ARE UNAMBIGUOUS

According to the canons of interpretation of statutes, it is a cardinal principle that, where the ordinary and plain meaning of words used are clear and unambiguous, effect must be given to those words in their natural and ordinary meaning or literal sense without resorting to any intrinsic aid.

– Tijjani Abubakar, JSC. Nwobike v. FRN (2021)

Was this dictum helpful?

READ A STATUTE AS A WHOLE

To ascertain the correct interpretation of the provision of section 34(2) vis that of section 22 of the Act, the Land Use Act is to be read as a whole. Every clause of a statute is to be construed with reference to the context of other clauses of the Act so as far as possible to make a consistent enactment of the whole statute.

– Obaseki, JSC. Savannah v. Ajilo (1989)

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.