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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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COURT OF COORDINATE JURISDICTION GIVING CONTRADICTORY JUDGEMENTS BRINGS IGNOMINY

Pats-Acholonu, JSC in N.I.M.B. LTD vs. U.B.N. LTD (2004) 12 NWLR (pt. 888) 599 at 618 thus: “Now there is no doubt that the two Courts in this case of co-ordinate jurisdiction became seised of the same subject matter in which it must be made absolutely clear, made orders which from whatever or however any one may look and try to synthesise or analyse them, were pitched against each other. In that case, the protagonists, id est, the legal combatants would inevitably be put in the quandary as to which order would prevail or be obeyed. …They ought necessarily to avoid a situation where the Court by its being less cautious exposes itself by the nature of the order it makes to ridicule and the majesty and aura of its pronouncements are either compromised or treated with ignominy as a non-issue by the confused parties and I dare say by the common citizenry.”

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CORRECTNESS OF DECISION IS THE FOCUS, NOT THE REASONS

Even though the learned trial Judge seemed to have rejected the respondent’s defence of acquiescence, I cannot ignore it. The lower court and this court need not agree on the reasons for arriving at the same conclusion. The focus of an appellate court is the correctness of the decision of the lower court and not the reasons given for it.

– Ogunwumiju JCA. Awure v. Iledu (2007)

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ONLY MATTERS DECIDED IN THE COURT OF APPEAL CAN BE ENTERTAINED BY THE SUPREME COURT

By canvassing in this court matters decided in the trial Court and not adverted to in the Court of Appeal, without leave having been obtained to argue matters not argued in the Court of Appeal, such matters or issues are incompetently before this court and will be discountenanced. This Court is only competent to entertain appeals from the Court of Appeal and not from any court below the Court of Appeal. Ogoyi v. Umagba (1995) 9 NWLR (Pt.419) 283, 293; Oduntan v. General Oil Ltd. (1995) 4 NWLR (Pt. 387) 1, 101. Similarly the appellate court will deal only with matters duly canvassed at the trial court and appealed against. The issues of fair-hearing or breach of Sections 20,21 and 22(6) of the Chiefs Law never came into argument at the trial Court nor at the Court of Appeal, and no leave having been obtained to argue them as novel issues not raised in the courts below, are not competent for argument in this court. There was no pronouncement on these issues at the trial court, and no appeal was lodged on this failure in the Court of Appeal, it is therefore incompetent in this court for the appellants to start raising issues of lack of fair hearing, or breach of natural justice in the conduct of investigation into the selection of Baale of Isundunrin. In the absence of a decision on a point, and that point has been canvassed at the trial court, the course open to the party aggrieved is to appeal against that non-decision. Saude v. Abdullahi (1989) 4 NWLR (Pt. 116) 387, 433, 434; Adesokan v. Adetunji (1994) 5 NWLR (Pt.346) 540, 575, 576.

— Belgore, JSC. Ogundare v Ogunlowo (1997) – SC.25/1994

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A COURT OF RECORDS HAS THE INHERENT POWERS TO SET ASIDE ITS DECISION WHERE

The Supreme Court, and any other superior court of record, possesses inherent power to set aside its judgment in appropriate cases. Such circumstances include: a. When the judgment is obtained by fraud or deceit b. When the judgment is a nullity and a person affected by the order is entitled ex debito justitiae to have it set aside. c. When the court was misled into giving judgment under the mistaken belief that the parties had consented to it. d. Where judgment was given in the absence of jurisdiction. e. Where the procedure adopted was such as to deprive the decision or judgment of the character of a legitimate adjudication. See: Adegoke Motors Ltd. v. Adesanya (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt.109) 250; A.D.H. Ltd. v. Amalgamated Trustees Ltd, (2007) ALL FWLR (Pt.392) 1781 @ 1840 C – F; Alao v. A.C.B. Ltd. (2000) FWLR (Pt. 11) 1858; (2000) 9 NWLR (Pt.672) 264; Igwe v. Kalu (2002) 14 NWLR (Pt.787) 435; Madukolu v. Nkemdilim (1962) SCNLR 341; Obimonure v. Erinosho (1966) All NLR 245.

— K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun 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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APPLICANT SEEKING TO SET ASIDE ORDER/JUDGEMENT OF THE SUPREME COURT MUST SHOW NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE RULES

From the above rule of this court, an applicant seeking to set aside any order or judgment given as per these rules, must show evidence of non-compliance with the rules or for other irregularities arising from the rules of practice and procedure in the court. Reading through the facts leading to this application, one would readily see that there was some non-compliance due to lapses caused by the Appellants/Respondents and the Registry of this Court.

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

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