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FUNCTUS OFFICIO MEANS “TASK PERFORMED”

Dictum

The Court becomes functus officio when its task or the task before it is completely performed. Functus officio, a Latin term, means “task performed”. It means, as this Court stated in MOHAMMED v. HUSSEINI (1998) 14 NWLR (pt. 584) 108 at pages 163 164, that the judge or the Court cannot give a decision twice or make an order on the matter twice. In other words, once a Court or judge makes a final order on a matter, it (or he) no longer has the competence or jurisdiction to give another decision or order on the same matter.

— E. Eko, JSC. FRN v Maishanu (2019) – SC.51/2015

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MEANING OF FUNCTUS OFFICIO

Functus officio ordinarily means a task performed; having fulfilled the function, discharged the office, or accomplished the purpose, and therefore of no further force or authority. (See Black’s Law Dictionary (6ed) page 673.) The latinism means in practice the idea that the specific duties and functions that an officer was legally empowered and charged to perform have now been wholly accomplished and thus the officer has no further authority or legal competence based on the original commission. This is because the thing which originally had life becomes dead or moribund after the performance of the duty or function by the authority. In our context, a Judge who has decided a question brought before him is functus officio, and cannot review his decision. (See also Sanusi v Ayoola (1992) 9 NWLR (Part 265) 275; Onwuchekwa v CCB (1991) 5 NWLR (Part 603) 409; Anyaegbunam v Attorney-General of Anambra State (2001) 6 NWLR (Part 710) 532; INEC v Nnaji (2004) 16 NWLR (Part 900) 473).

— Niki Tobi, JSC. Buhari v. INEC (2008) – SC 51/2008

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COURT IS FUNCTUS OFFICIO IN RESPECT OF MATTERS IT HAS CONCLUDED

The law is trite and well settled too, that a Court becomes functus officio in respect of a matter once it has concluded, accomplished or fulfilled its function in respect to that matter. It thereupon lacks potency to review, reopen, or revisit the matter, as it is thereupon bereft of Jurisdiction to reopen the issue except perhaps in proceedings such as in relation to abuse of Court process. See Ukachukwu vs UBA (2005) 18 NWLR (pt 956)1; Anyaegbunam vs AG Anambra State (2001) 6 NWLR (pt. 710) 532; Mohammed v Husseini (1998)14 NWLR (pt. 584) 108; First Bank of Nigeria Plc vs TSA Industries Ltd (2010) 15 NWLR (pt. 1216) 247.

— A. Sanusi, JSC. FRN v Maishanu (2019) – SC.51/2015

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