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LOCUS STANDI IS JURISDICTIONAL

Dictum

So crucial and of utmost importance is the issue of locus standi that it has over the years attained the level of a jurisdictional status in the litigation battlefield and thus can be raised at any stage of the proceedings. It can also be raised suo motu by the Court, so far as the parties are called upon to address the Court on it, to ensure that whilst the door of the hallowed halls of the Courts in the land are open to persons with genuine grievances resulting from wrongful acts or omissions of others affecting them to approach the Court to seek redress from the temple of justice, that same door would be shut against persons who are mere busy bodies or meddlesome interlopers, without any real or genuine grievance affecting them from inundating the Courts with frivolous claims without any foundational or factual basis. See Ikeja Hotels Plc v. LSBIR (supra) @ pp. 1274 1275, See also Adesanya v. President, Federal Republic of Nigeria (supra) @ p. 854; Owodunni v. Regd. Trustee, Celestial Church of Christ (supra) @ p. 1815.

— B.A. Georgewill JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Ors. (CA/L/427/2016, 9 Mar 2018)

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THERE IS LOCUS STANDI WHERE CIVIL RIGHTS ARE IN DANGER – TWO TESTS FOR DETERMINING LOCUS STANDI

B.B. Apugo & Sons Ltd V. Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board (2016) 13 NWLR (Pt. 1529) 206@ p. 269: “A person has locus standi to sue in an action if he is able to show to the satisfaction of the Court that his civil rights and obligations have been or are in danger of being infringed. There are two tests for determining if a person has locus standi. They are: 1. The action must be justiciable, and 2. There must be a dispute between the parties…To have locus standi the Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim must disclose sufficient legal interest, and show how such interest arose in the subject matter of the action…”

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WHAT IS LOCUS STANDI

In law therefore, locus standi denotes the right standing of a person to sue over a wrong allegedly done to him. It is the totality of the right conferred on a person who approaches a Court to seek remedy to have the right standing to seek particular remedy. It is for this reason that in law a person without the requisite locus standi, no matter the colossal nature of the injury or damages allegedly done or suffered, cannot sue or have the right standing in a Court of law to seek redress over such an alleged injury or damage done in which he has no or cannot show his locus standi to sue. Such a person can simply or safely be described as meddlesome interloper. See Owodunni v. Regd. Trustees, Celestial Church of Christ (2009) FWLR (Pt. 9) 1488. See also Ikeja Hotels Plc v. LSBIR (2005) All FWLR (Pt. 279) 1260. Abubakar v. Bebeji Oil and Allied Products Ltd. (2007) All FWLR (Pt. 362) 1855; NPA Plc v. Lotus Plastic Ltd. (2006) All FWLR (Pt. 297) 1023; Taiwo v. Adeboro (2013) All FWLR (Pt. 584) 53; Adesanya v. President, Federal Republic of Nigeria (2001) FWLR (Pt. 46) 859; Amah v. Nwankwo (2008) All FWLR (Pt. 411) 479.

— B.A. Georgewill JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Ors. (CA/L/427/2016, 9 Mar 2018)

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INDIVIDUAL PLAINTIFF MUST SHOW MANDATE TO ACT ON BEHALF OF PEOPLE; NGO HAS WIDE ACCESS

Para. 16: “For the Plaintiffs to access the court for and on behalf of the people of Niger Delta, they need the mandate upon which they act and when questioned must establish consent of the people or a justification for acting without such consent. This is different where the Application is brought by an NGO. While the NGO’s enjoy a wide range of access to Court on behalf of individuals, the individuals on the other hand have access mainly in their personal capacity on alleged human rights violations and approaching the Court in a representative capacity requires authorization.”

— Osaghae v Nigeria (2017) – ECW/CCJ/JUD/03/17

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IF PLAINTIFF RIGHT IS AFFECTED THERE IS LOCUS STANDI

ALEX OLADELE ELUFIOYE & ORS VS IBRAHIM HALILU & ORS (1993) – SC. 310/1989:
“Once the civil rights and obligations of the plaintiffs as individuals are affected, as I hold they are here the courts in exercise of their judicial power set out above can look into such rights and obligations, and for that purpose the plaintiffs have a locus standi before them.”

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A VICTIM IS A PERSON WHO SUFFERS HARM DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY – (ECOWAS Court)

It follows from the above that a victim can be a person who suffers directly or indirectly any harm or pain (physical or mental injury), emotional suffering (through loss of a close family member or relation), economic loss (loss of Properties) or any impairment that can be categorized as human rights violation. Additionally, other than the loss, harm or damage, an Applicant must prove an interest in the matter which must be direct and personal. This Court has through several decisions made exception for individuals and organizations who have not suffered directly or personally to institute actions in a representative capacity on behalf of victims.

— The Registered Trustees of Jama’a FOUNDATION v FRN ECW/CCJ/JUD/04/20 para. 67

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TO CHALLENGE A LAW, AN INDIVIDUAL MUST SHOW THAT HE IS DIRECTLY AFFECTED

Para. 16: In Aumeeruddy-Cziffra and Others v. Mauritius (Communication No. R.9/35) 9 April 1981, the United Nations Human Rights Committee pointed out that to bring an Application before it, an individual must be actually affected ‘by the act complained of and that no individual can in the abstract, by way of actio popularis, challenge a law or practice claimed to be contrary to the Covenant’.

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