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DEFINITION OF LOCUS STANDI

Dictum

In B.B. Apugo & Sons Ltd V. OHMB (2016) LPELR-40598(SC) per Kekere-Ekun, JSC 23, B-E, defined locus standi thus: “Locus standi is the legal right of a party to an action to be heard in litigation before a Court or tribunal. The term connotes the legal capacity of instituting or commencing an action in a competent Court of law or tribunal without any inhibition, obstruction or hindrance from any person or body whatsoever. It is also the law that to have locus standi to sue, the plaintiff must have sufficient interest in the suit. For instance, one of the factors for determining sufficient interest is whether the party seeking redress would suffer some injury or hardship from the litigation…”

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INTEREST IS THE MEASURING ROD FOR AN ACTION

Para. 27 – 28: “Generally, and from a legal standpoint, the necessity for an applicant to provide justification of interest in a case is attested to by the adage that “Where there is no interest, there is no action”, and also “An interest is the measuring rod for an action”. In other words, an application is admissible only when the applicant justifies that he brings a case before a judge for the purposes of protecting an interest or defending an infringement of such. Such an interest must be direct, personal and certain.”

— Oserada v ECOWAS Council of Ministers & Ors. (2008) – ECW/CCJ/JUD/01/08

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WHEN A LARGE COMMUNITY IS AT STAKE, ACCESS TO JUSTICE IS FACILITATED

“56. There is a large consensus in International Law that when the issue at stake is the violation of rights of entire communities, as in the case of the damage to the environment, the access to justice should be facilitated. 57. Article 2 (5) of Convention of “Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision- Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matter “defines the “public concerned” with environment protection as “public affected or likely to be affected by, or having an interest in the environment decision-making for the purposes of this definition nongovernmental organization promoting environment and meeting requirements under national law shall be deemed to have an interest”. Article 9 of the same instrument confirms the access to justice to the public concerned as defined in Article 2 (5).”

— SERAP v FRN – ECW/CCJ/APP/08/09

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WHO IS A VICTIM IN INTERNATIONAL LAW? – (ECOWAS Court)

In essence; “A victim is anyone who suffers individual or collective harm (or pain) such as physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss, or generally any impairment of human rights as a result of acts or omissions that constitute gross violations of human rights, or serious violations of humanitarian law norms.” See The Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Survivors of Violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, GA RES 60/147, PMBL, SEC IX, UN DOC A/RES/60/147 (MARCH 21, 2006).

— The Registered Trustees of Jama’a FOUNDATION v FRN ECW/CCJ/JUD/04/20 para. 65

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IF PLAINTIFF RIGHT IS AFFECTED THERE IS LOCUS STANDI

ALEX OLADELE ELUFIOYE & ORS VS IBRAHIM HALILU & ORS (1993) – SC. 310/1989:
“Once the civil rights and obligations of the plaintiffs as individuals are affected, as I hold they are here the courts in exercise of their judicial power set out above can look into such rights and obligations, and for that purpose the plaintiffs have a locus standi before them.”

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QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER IN RESPECT OF LOCUS STANDI

The pertinent questions to consider here are: has the Appellant who was the Plaintiff been able to show sufficient nexus between itself and the purported actions of the Respondents? Has the Appellant been able to demonstrate that its civil rights and obligations have been or are in danger of being infringed? Has the Appellant been able to show that the purported actions of the Respondents have harmed it or stand to potentially harm it? Is the Appellant’s suit justiciable? Is there a dispute between the Appellant and the Respondents?

— A. Jauro, JSC. PDP v INEC (2023) – SC/CV/501/2023

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WHAT IS LOCUS STANDI

In law therefore, locus standi denotes the right standing of a person to sue over a wrong allegedly done to him. It is the totality of the right conferred on a person who approaches a Court to seek remedy to have the right standing to seek particular remedy. It is for this reason that in law a person without the requisite locus standi, no matter the colossal nature of the injury or damages allegedly done or suffered, cannot sue or have the right standing in a Court of law to seek redress over such an alleged injury or damage done in which he has no or cannot show his locus standi to sue. Such a person can simply or safely be described as meddlesome interloper. See Owodunni v. Regd. Trustees, Celestial Church of Christ (2009) FWLR (Pt. 9) 1488. See also Ikeja Hotels Plc v. LSBIR (2005) All FWLR (Pt. 279) 1260. Abubakar v. Bebeji Oil and Allied Products Ltd. (2007) All FWLR (Pt. 362) 1855; NPA Plc v. Lotus Plastic Ltd. (2006) All FWLR (Pt. 297) 1023; Taiwo v. Adeboro (2013) All FWLR (Pt. 584) 53; Adesanya v. President, Federal Republic of Nigeria (2001) FWLR (Pt. 46) 859; Amah v. Nwankwo (2008) All FWLR (Pt. 411) 479.

— B.A. Georgewill JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Ors. (CA/L/427/2016, 9 Mar 2018)

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