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COURT CANNOT GO OUTSIDE THE TERMS/ORDERS OF THE MOTION

Dictum

The Court of Appeal cannot go outside the terms of the motion however misconceived it is. It is bound by the terms or prayers in the motion filed. (Commissioner for Works Benue State v. Devcon Construction Co. Ltd. (1988) 3 N.W.L.R. (Pt.83) 407 at 420). Since there was nothing to stay, the Court of Appeal was in error to have made the order prayed for.

— Agbaje JSC. Okoya & Ors. V. S. Santilli & Ors. ( SC.206/1989, 23 MAR 1990)

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DUTY OF THE COURT WHEN CONSIDERING AN APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO APPEAL

“There is no doubt that in considering an application of this nature, which calls for the exercise of judicial discretion, the Court must satisfied itself that the reasons given by an Applicant are good and substantial and that on clear facts placed before the Court, the Applicant deserves to be granted the indulgence being sought.”

– M.L Abubakar, JCA. Amalai & Ors. v The Government Of Adamawa State & Ors. ( CA/YL/33M/2020)

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RECOMMENDATION THAT INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL SHOULD STOP AT THE COURT OF APPEAL

Appeal on this matter was filed in the Court of Appeal on 3rd March, 2000. Today is 14th December, 2007. It has taken more than seven years to fight the admissibility of an exhibit, an issue which could have been taken at the end of the case after final judgment. In order to save litigation time and money of litigants, it is my view that all interlocutory appeals must stop at the Court of Appeal. This will involve the amendment of section 241 of the 1999 Constitution. I do not think it is out of place to recall that the Constitutional Debate Coordinating Committee, 1998, under my Chairmanship, which recommendations gave birth to the 1999 Constitution, recommend to the Provisional Ruling Council during the Military Regime of General Abdul Salami Abubakar, that all interlocutory appeals should stop at the Court of Appeal. The Council in its wisdom rejected the recommendation. In view of the fact that the Supreme Court is inundated with interlocutory appeals, which take so much of the time of the court, a situation which results in congestion of the court, it is hoped that the National Assembly will amend section 241 of the Constitution to make the Court of Appeal a final court in interlocutory appeals. That will save so much litigation time. That will save so much money for litigants. That will save the Supreme Court so much time to take final substantive and final appeals. As it is, seven long years are wasted for no reason. I say no more.

— N. Tobi JSC. Musa Abubakar v. E.I. Chuks (SC.184/2003, 14 DEC 2007)

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COURT IS TO RULE ON ALL APPLICATIONS BEFORE DELIVERING ITS FINAL JUDGMENT

There is no doubt that the law is settled that where there are pending applications before a court, the court is duty bound to rule on all applications before it before delivering its judgment. There are plethora of authorities in this regard. See Mobil v. Monokpo (2001) FWLR Pt.78 Pg.1210; Mokwe v. Williams (1997) 11 NWLR Pt.528 Pg.309; Savannah Bank Nig. Ltd v. SIO Corporation (2001) 1 NWLR Pt.693 Pg.194.

– H.M. Ogunwumiju, JCA. ITV v. Edo Internal Revenue (2014) – CA/B/20/2013

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WHAT IS AN INTERLOCUTORY APPLICATION

An interlocutory application is that application which does not decide the rights of the parties but are made for the purpose of: (a) Keeping things in status quo till the rights of the parties can be decided; (b) Obtaining some direction of the court as to how the cause of action is to be conducted; (c) Determining what is to be done in the progress of the cause of action for the purpose of enabling the court ultimately to decide upon the rights of the parties. Therefore an order of court is interlocutory when it does not deal with the final rights of the parties.

— M.U. Peter-Odili, JSC. Ugo v. Ugo (2007) – CA/A/110/2007

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SUBMISSION NOT BASED ON GROUND OF MOTION AND AFFIDAVIT WILL BE AT LARGE

The appellant’s learned senior counsel argued the application on the basis of the issues formulated by him and seemed to have abandoned the supporting affidavit. This is clearly not correct. Parties to a motion are bound to restrict their submissions within the confines of the grounds upon which the application is predicated and the affidavits in support of the application. Where issues formulated by parties do not arise from the grounds and the affidavit in support, any argument thereon will certainly be at large and is of no effect.

— P.A. Galinje JSC. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Anor. (SC.535/2013(R), 23 June 2017)

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WHERE SOME GROUNDS OF APPEAL ARE TO BE CHALLENGED, NOT A PO, BUT A MOTION ON NOTICE

It is now trite law that a motion on notice is filed where a party intends to challenge the incompetence of one or two grounds of appeal in the presence of an existing valid ground(s), see Garba v. Mohammed (2016) NWLR (Pt. 1537) 114; Kente v. Ishaku (2017) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1587) 96; PDP v. Sheriff (2017) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1588) 219; NNPC v. Famfa Oil Ltd. (2012) LPELR 7812(SC), (2012) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1328) 148; Cocacola (Nig.) Ltd. v. Akinsanya (2017) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1593) 74; Ezenwaji v. UNN (2017) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1598) 45; Petgas Resources Ltd. v. Mbanefo (2018) 1 NWLR (Pt. 1601) 442; KLM Royal Dutch Airlines v. Aloma (2018) 1 NWLR (Pt. 1601) 473; Isah v. INEC (2016) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1544) 14 175; Lawanson v. Okonkwo (2019) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1658) 77. UBN PLC V. Ravih Abdul & Co. Ltd. (2019) 3 NWLR (Pt 1659) 203; FRN v. Atuche (2019) 8 NWLR (Pt. 1674) 338; Lolapo v. COP (2019) 16 NWLR (1699) 476. Opeyemi v. State (2019) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1702) 403. I have married the meat of the objection with the inelastic position of the law displayed above. The wisdom behind the comparison is not far-fetched. It is to ascertain if the objection is obedient to the law or desecrates it. An in-depth study of the objector’s objection, discernible from its arguments thereon, clearly, reveals that it mainly chastises the appellant’s grounds 2, 3, 7 and 11 of the notice of appeal. It is obvious that the objector’s objection spared grounds 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 – 19 of the notice of appeal. In other words, those grounds 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 – 19 are viable and valid with the potency to sustain the appeal. In the face of the existential validity of grounds 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 – 19, the objector ought not to have filed a preliminary objection. The proper/appropriate process is an application (motion on notice) challenging the viability of those grounds.

— O.F. Ogbuinya JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc v. Longterm Global Cap. Ltd. & Ors. (September 20 2021, ca/l/1093/2017)

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