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WHAT IS LOCUS STANDI

Dictum

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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STATEMENT OF CLAIM HAS TO BE SCRUTINIZED TO DETERMINE LOCUS STANDI

It cannot be disputed that the question whether or not a plaintiff has a locus standi in a suit is determinable from a totality of all the averments in his statement of claim. In dealing with the locus standi of a plaintiff, it is his statement of claim alone that has to be carefully scrutinized with a view to ascertaining whether or not it has disclosed his interest and how such interest has arisen in the subject-matter of the action. Where the averments in a plaintiffs statement of claim disclose the rights or interests of the plaintiff which have been or are in danger or being violated, invaded or adversely affected by the act of the defendant complained of, such a plaintiff would be deemed to have shown sufficient interest to give him the locus standi to litigate over the subject-matter in issue.

– Abba Aji JSC. CITEC v. Francis (2021) – SC.720/2017

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MEANING OF LOCUS STANDI; LOCUS STANDI IS A THRESHOLD ISSUE

The term locus standi is a Latin term which translates to “place to stand”. It refers to the legal right of a person, natural or artificial, to file a suit. It is sometimes used interchangeably with terms like “standing”, “standing to sue” and “title to sue”. Unquestionably, the issue of locus standi is a threshold issue, and in order for a court to have jurisdiction, the Plaintiff must have locus standi to commence or file the action. Put differently, if a Plaintiff lacks the legal right to institute an action, no court will in turn have the power or competence or jurisdiction to entertain the suit. A Plaintiff’s locus Page 20 of 41 standi is inextricably linked with the jurisdiction of the court as once a Plaintiff lacks locus, the court is also bereft of jurisdiction. See AKANDE V. JEGEDE (2022) 14 NWLR (PT. 1849) 125; AJAYI V. ADEBIYI (2012) 11 NWLR (PT. 1310) 137; B.M.LTD. V. WOERMANN-LINE (2009) 13 NWLR (PT. 1157) 149.

— A. Jauro, JSC. PDP v INEC (2023) – SC/CV/501/2023

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WHO IS A VICTIM IN INTERNATIONAL LAW? – (ECOWAS Court)

In essence; “A victim is anyone who suffers individual or collective harm (or pain) such as physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss, or generally any impairment of human rights as a result of acts or omissions that constitute gross violations of human rights, or serious violations of humanitarian law norms.” See The Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Survivors of Violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, GA RES 60/147, PMBL, SEC IX, UN DOC A/RES/60/147 (MARCH 21, 2006).

— The Registered Trustees of Jama’a FOUNDATION v FRN ECW/CCJ/JUD/04/20 para. 65

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QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER IN RESPECT OF LOCUS STANDI

The pertinent questions to consider here are: has the Appellant who was the Plaintiff been able to show sufficient nexus between itself and the purported actions of the Respondents? Has the Appellant been able to demonstrate that its civil rights and obligations have been or are in danger of being infringed? Has the Appellant been able to show that the purported actions of the Respondents have harmed it or stand to potentially harm it? Is the Appellant’s suit justiciable? Is there a dispute between the Appellant and the Respondents?

— A. Jauro, JSC. PDP v INEC (2023) – SC/CV/501/2023

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WHEN A LARGE COMMUNITY IS AT STAKE, ACCESS TO JUSTICE IS FACILITATED

“56. There is a large consensus in International Law that when the issue at stake is the violation of rights of entire communities, as in the case of the damage to the environment, the access to justice should be facilitated. 57. Article 2 (5) of Convention of “Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision- Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matter “defines the “public concerned” with environment protection as “public affected or likely to be affected by, or having an interest in the environment decision-making for the purposes of this definition nongovernmental organization promoting environment and meeting requirements under national law shall be deemed to have an interest”. Article 9 of the same instrument confirms the access to justice to the public concerned as defined in Article 2 (5).”

— SERAP v FRN – ECW/CCJ/APP/08/09

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PETITION ON BEHALF OF VICTIMS MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH THEIR CONSENT

Para 16: “Where a petition is submitted on behalf of a victim, it must be with their consent, unless submitting it without their consent can be justified. Such justification would be the case of serious or massive violations pursuant to article 58 of the African Charter or a documented and well-reasoned problem for the victims in doing so themselves.”

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

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