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A COURT HAS INHERENT POWERS TO SET ASIDE ITS OWN ORDER MADE WITHOUT

Dictum

In sum, I hold firmly that where a judgment of this court or an order thereof is adjudged a nullity, a party affected thereby is entitled to have it set aside ex debito justitiae. The court has inherent jurisdiction or power to set aside its own order or decision made without jurisdiction if such order or decision is in fact a nullity or was obtained by fraud or if the court was misled into granting same by concealing some vital information or facts. See Igwe v. Kalu (supra), Vulcan Gases Ltd v. G.F. Ind. AC (2001) 9 NWLR (pt.719) 610 at 644 – 645 paras H – A.

— J.I. Okoro JSC. Citec v. Francis (SC.116/2011, 21 February 2014)

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DECISION NOT FLOWING FROM ESTABLISHED FACTS IS PERVERSE

In law, a decision or finding or conclusion reached is perverse amongst other grounds if it does not flow from the established facts from the evidence before the Court or it takes into consideration matters extraneous to the issues placed before the Court in evidence by the parties.

– B.A. Georgewill, JCA. Ganiyu v. Oshoakpemhe & Ors. (2021) – CA/B/12A/2021

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WHAT IS A DECISION ON MERIT?

TOMTEC NIGERIA LIMITED VS FEDERAL HOUSING AUTHORITY (2009) 12 SCNJ 190 AT 201 -202 where this Court held “A decision on merit is one rendered after argument and investigation and a determination as to which of the parties is in the right as distinguished from a judgment or decision rendered upon some preliminary or formal part or by default and without trial”.

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WHAT IS INTERLOCUTORY AND WHAT IS A RULING?

My humble view is that the word “interlocutory” simply means “(of an order, judgment, appeal, etc) interim or temporary; not constituting a final resolution of the whole controversy.” A “ruling” is “the outcome of a Court’s decision either on some points of law or on the case as a whole.” See Blacks Law Dictionary, 9th edition, pages 889 and 1450.

— J.T. Tur, JCA. Abdulkardir Abacha v Kurastic [2014] – CA/A/406/2010

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FINDING NOT APPEALED IS BINDING ON PARTY

It is settled law, however, that a finding of a court or tribunal not appealed against is deemed accepted by the party against whom the finding was made in the instant case, the appellants. However, if the appellants had sought and obtained the leave of the courts to appeal against the findings of facts or mixed law and facts or to raise fresh issues not raised in the court below, it would have been sufficient to sustain ground 1 of the grounds of appeal. Since no such leave was sought and obtained the affected ground is doomed to be struck out for being incompetent.

– WS Onnoghen, JSC. Calabar CC v. Ekpo (2008)

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WHAT MAKES A DECISION PERVERSE

In all then, a decision is said to be perverse: (a) When it runs counter to the evidence; or (b) Where it has been shown that the trial Court took into account matters which it ought not to have taken into account or shut its eyes to the obvious; or (c) When it has occasioned a miscarriage of justice.

– Chima Centus, JSC Dondos v. State (2021) – SC.905/2014

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MATTERS TO BE DECIDED AT SUBSTANTIVE CASE SHOULD NOT BE COMMENTED ON AT THE PRELIMINARY

The law is settled that a court should not comment or decide at preliminary stage matters or issues which are supposed to be decided in the substantive case. See NWANKWO & ORS V YAR’ADUA & ORS (2010) LPELR-2109 (SC) at page 71 paras B-F per Coomassie JSC; and OCHOLI ENOJO JAMES, SAN V INEC & ORS (2015) LPELR-24494 (SC) at pg.92 para G, per Okoro JSC.

— K.M. Akano, J. Edeoga v Mbah (2023) – EPT/EN/GOV/01/2023

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