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MOTION THAT SAVES PROCEEDING SHOULD BE HEARD FIRST

Dictum

It is a settled principle of practice that where there are two motions before the court requiring to be heard, the interest of justice demands that the motion, the determination of which would save the substantive action, should first be heard. See Abiegbe and 2 ors. v. Ugbodume (1973) 1 ALL NLR 52; (1973) 1 SC 133; Nalsa and Team Associates v. N.N.P.C. (1991) 8 NWLR (Pt. 212) 652 at 676; Long John v. Black (1998) 6 NWLR (Pt. 555) 524 at 550.

— Edozie JCA. United Bank for Africa (UBA) v. Samuel Igelle Ujor (CA/C/134/99, 20 FEB 2001)

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APPLICATION WITH NO BACKING OF LAW IS AN ABUSE OF PROCESS

An application that has no backing of law would ordinarily seem or appear to be an abuse of Court’s process: R-BENKAY (NIG.) LTD. v. CADBURY (NIG.) LTD. (2012) 3 SC. (pt. 3) 169; (2012) 9 NWLR (pt. 1306) 596. — E. Eko, JSC. Francis v. FRN (2020) – SC.810/2014

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WHERE COUNSEL SAYS THERE IS MOTION FOR APPEAL, BUT MOTION NOT BEFORE JUDGE

What the appellant’s counsel said was that they could not proceed because it is impossible for them to go on without the amendment and that there is an appeal and that they wanted the case to be stood down. Where a counsel says that there is a notice of appeal and a motion for stay of proceedings, the only option for the trial court is to stand down the case so that it could be checked at the court registry if there is notice of appeal and a motion for stay of proceedings. If there is a motion for stay of proceedings, it is incumbent on the trial court to take the motion and it is after he had refused the application that he can call on the defence to go on with their defence.

— Opene JCA. United Bank for Africa (UBA) v. Samuel Igelle Ujor (CA/C/134/99, 20 FEB 2001)

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DISTINCT MOTION IS NOT ABUSE OF COURT PROCESS

In Mobil Production Nigeria Unlimited v. Monokpo (2003) 18 NWLR Part 852 at Page 346 at 430 – 431, it was held among others that:- “Filing of two motions which do not necessarily seek the same or similar reliefs, though in the same case between the same parties would not amount to an abuse of the process of the Court.”

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A COURT IS BOUND TO RESOLVE ALL APPLICATIONS BEFORE IT

It is trite that when a matter is before a court, that court is bound to hear and determine all applications or issues brought or raised before it by litigants: Atanda v. Ajani (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt. 111) 511; Brawal Shipping (Nig.) Ltd v. Onwadike Co. Ltd (2000) FWLR (Pt. 23) 1254, (2000) 79 LRCN 2348 SC.

— Danjuma, JCA. Tony Anthony Nig. Ltd & Ors. v. NDIC (CA/L/630/2009 • 25 January 2011)

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COURT MUST RULE ON ALL APPLICATIONS BEFORE IT

In Ani V. Nna & Ors. (1996) 4 NWLR (Pt.440) 101 @ p. 120, this Court had per Niki Tobi JCA., succinctly observed inter alia thus: “A Court of law and indeed a Court of equity has neither jurisdiction nor discretionary power not to take a process before it, whatever may be its pre-trial opinion on it. The process may be a downright abuse of the judicature as an institution or judicialism. It may be stupid, reckless, irregular, aberrant or unmeritorious; the Court must hear it and rule on it.”

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WHERE A MOTION SEEKS TO TERMINATE VS ONE SEEKING TO CURE DEFECT

It is pertinent to observe that there is an order of precedence for hearing motions or applications before the court. Where a motion or application seeks to terminate an action on account of irregularity and the other one seeks to cure the defect, it is the duty of the court to hear the later first see:- Nalsa and Team Associates v. N.N.P.C. (1991) 11 SCNJ 5; Consortium M.C. 3632, Lot 4 Nigeria v. National Electric Power Authority (1991) 7 SCNJ 1.

— Opene JCA. United Bank for Africa (UBA) v. Samuel Igelle Ujor (CA/C/134/99, 20 FEB 2001)

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