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APPLICATION WITH NO BACKING OF LAW IS AN ABUSE OF PROCESS

Dictum

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 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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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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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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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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