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APPLICATION NOT RECOGNISED BY RULES OF COURT IS NOT A PROPER APPLICATION

Dictum

In Newswatch v. Ibrahim Attah (2006) 12 NWLR part 993 at 144 at 179 Paragraphs E – G the Supreme Court held among others that:- “…An application not recognized by the Rules of Court cannot be described as a proper application.”

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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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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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MOTION THAT SAVES PROCEEDING SHOULD BE HEARD FIRST

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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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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A TRIBUNAL HAS A LEGAL DUTY TO DECIDE ALL APPLICATIONS FILED BEFORE IT

A court of law or a tribunal has a legal duty in our adjectival law to hear any court process, including a motion before it. The process may be downright stupid, unmeritorious or even an abuse of court process. The court must hear the Party or parties and rule one way or the other. A Judge, whether of a court of law or tribunal, has no jurisdiction to come to a conclusion by resorting to his wisdom outside established due process that a motion cannot be heard because it has no merit. That does not lie in the mouth of a Judge in our adversary system of adjudication. The failure on the part of the learned tribunal to hear the motion of the 1st appellant filed on 1st May 1999 is against the provisions of section 33(1) of the 1979 Constitution on fair hearing, and particularly the natural justice rule of audi alteram partem. See generally Otapo v. Aunmonu (1987) 2 NWLR (Pt.58) 587; Onwumechili v. Akintemi (1985) 3 NWLR (pt. 13)504; Adene v. Dantumbi (1988) 4 NWLR (pt. 88) 309; Olaniyan v. University of Lagos (1985) 2 NWLR (Pt.9) 599; Alfa v. Atanda (1993) 5 NWLR (pt. 296) 729.

— Niki Tobi, JCA. Nnamdi Eriobuna & Ors. V. Ikechukwu Obiorah (CA/E/77/99, 24 May 1999)

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