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JURISDICTION CAN BE RAISED AT ANYTIME BY THE COURT

Dictum

The law is well settled that the issue of jurisdiction is so fundamental to adjudication that it can be raised at any stage of the proceedings and even for the first time on appeal to this court. See Usman Dan Fodio University v. Kraus Thompson Ltd (2001) 15 NWLR (Pt. 736) 305; Elabanjo v. Dawodu (2006) All FWLR (Pt. 328) 604, (2006) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1001) 76 115-116 G-A ; PDP v. Okorocha (2012) All FWLR (Pt. 626) 449, (2012) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1323) 205. The issues are therefore competent before this court.

— Kekere-Ekun, JSC. Nyesom v. Peterside (SC.1002/2015 (REASONS), 12 Feb 2016)

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COURT OF LAW SHOULD EXERCISE JURISDICTION WHERE

It is well settled, that a Court of law or tribunal is deemed competent to entertain and determine a matter or action before it if: (a) It is properly constituted in regard to numbers and qualification of the member thereof, and no member is disqualified for any reason whatsoever; (b) The subject matter of the case is within its jurisdiction, and there is no feature therein preventing the Court from exercising its jurisdiction; and (c) The case is initiated by due process of law, and upon satisfying any condition precedent to the exercise of jurisdiction. See Madukolu v. Nkemdilim (1962) 1 All NLR 587; (1962) 2 SCNLR 341; Mark v. Eke (1997) 11 NWLR (Pt. 529) 501; SLB Consotium Ltd v. NNPC (2011) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1252) 317, (2011) 5 SCM 187.

– I.M.M. Saulawa JSC. Ihim v. Maduagwu (2021)

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JURISDICTION IS A THRESHOLD MATTER

Jurisdiction is a threshold matter. Once raised all proceedings abate until it is resolved. Proceedings conducted without jurisdiction amount to a nullity. There is nothing as useless as conducting a trial flawlessly only to find out that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter. That explains why the issue of jurisdiction can be taken at any stage of the proceedings, at trial, on appeal and even in the Supreme Court for the first time.

– Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Olabomi v. Oyewinle (2013) – SC.345/2012

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FOR FEDERAL HIGH COURT TO HAVE JURISDICTION, PARTY OR CLAIM MUST FALL WITHIN SECTION 251 CFRN

In Kakih v PDP (2014) 15 NWLR (Pt.1430) p.374, in support of N.E.P.A. v Edegbero supra. I said that: “The claim of the party and the reliefs must be within Section 251 (1) of the Constitution before the Federal High Court can have jurisdiction. Furthermore, where an agency of Federal Government is a party, the principal reliefs must be directed against the Federal Government or any of its agencies before a Federal High Court can have jurisdiction.”

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EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION IS ON FHC WHERE ANY OF ITS AGENCIES IS A PARTY

ADEGBITE & ANOR. v AMOSU (2016) LPELR 40655 (SC); wherein it was held that: “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) has conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the Federal High Court in a matter in which the Federal Government or any of its agencies is involved. (Section 251(1) (p), (q), (r) and (s).” Per Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, J.S.C (p. 16).

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JURISDICTION OF COURT CANNOT BE GIVEN BY RULES OF COURT

The law is settled that the jurisdiction of a Court of record, in its broad and substantive sense, cannot be conferred by the Rules of Court. The Rules of Court are only made, pursuant to the powers conferred on the heads of Courts by the Constitution to make Rules, to regulate practice and procedure in their respective Courts. The Rules they make are only to regulate the practice and procedure in their respective Courts. The Rules do not confer jurisdiction on the Court to entertain causes or matters. Rather, the jurisdiction of Courts in Nigeria is either conferred or vested by the Constitution or the enabling statute establishing the Court.

– E. Eko JSC. Mailantarki v. Tongo (2017) – SC.792/2015

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IT IS PARAMOUNT TO DECIDE ISSUE OF JURISDICTION FIRST

The issue of jurisdiction is the bedrock of adjudication by a Court of law and as such, it is basically considered expedient to resolve same before proceeding to consider the main issues presented to the Court for adjudication on the merit. It goes without saying that the determination of a suit by a Court is null and void if done without jurisdiction notwithstanding how well or proper the proceeding was conducted. The jurisdiction of a Court to entertain a matter is therefore fundamental to the extent that if a Court has no jurisdiction to hear and determine a case, the proceedings is a nullity ab initio. See Madukolu v. Nkemdilim (1962) 2 SCNLR 341; A.G. Lagos State v. Dosunmu (1989) 6 SC (Pt. II) page 1; A.G. Rivers State v. A.G. Akwa Ibom State (2011) 8 NWLR (Pt. 1248) 31; Ajao v. Alao (1986) 5 NWLR (Pt. 45) 802; Galadima v. Tambai (2000) 6 SCNJ 190.

— S.C. Oseji, JCA. Access Bank v Edo State BIR (2018) – CA/B/333/2015

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