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JURISDICTION MAY BE RAISED AT ANYTIME

Dictum

Equally, true is the fact that the issue of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of a proceeding up to the final determination of an appeal even by the highest court of the land. A trial court and, indeed, an appellate court may raise it suo motu at any stage of a proceeding, but must invite the parties to address it on the issue before it takes its decision thereupon.

– Iguh, JSC. Oshatoba v. Olujitan (2000)

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ALLEGATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION IS ENOUGH TO TRIGGER THIS COURT JURISDICTION

In the case of His Excellency Vice-President Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana v. Republic of Sierra Leone.-SUIT NO: ECW/CCJ/APP/38/16 and JUD NO: ECW/CCJ/JUD/19/17 (At page 14 of the judgment); the court held that: “Indeed Allegations of violations of Human Rights by an Applicant is sufficient to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court. This is distinct from the issues of the veracity of the allegation.”

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JURISDICTION OF COURT – JURISDICTION CAN BE RAISED AT ANY TIME

I have found that ground (1) is premised on the jurisdiction of the lower court. It is the law that even where a court of law does not pronounce whether it has jurisdiction to try a matter or not, once the establishing law or other statutes or the subject matter or party before the court has divested that court of jurisdiction, then jurisdiction does not reside in the court. The ground is properly taken by the appellant in this appeal as issue of jurisdiction can be raised at any level of the proceedings of a court even at appeal levels. See: Nigeria Eng. Works Ltd. v. Denap Ltd. (2001) 18 NWLR (Pt.746) 726.

— T. Muhammad, JSC. VAB Petroleum v. Momah (2013) – SC.99/2004

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WHERE COURT LACKS JURISDICTION, IT CANNOT DETERMINE ANY ISSUE

Kekere-Ekun JSC in the case of James v INEC Supra, at Page 583-584 Para H-A: “…it is clear that where a court lacks jurisdiction to entertain a cause or matter, it lacks jurisdiction to determine any issue arising within that cause or matter. To attempt to do so would amount to delving into the merit of the case, which would amount to a nullity in the event that the court lacks jurisdiction to determine the suit.”

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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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FEDERAL HIGH COURT HAS JURISDICTION IN MATTERS OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY

The very fact that the operation and interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution affecting the powers and functions of a Federal Government agency is the main subject of this case, the 1st Respondent, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation as the Chief Law Officer of the entire Federation appointed under Section 150 of the same Constitution, who is therefore not only the guardian of the Constitution but also the protector of the same, the Appellant’s action which sought to protect the violation of the provisions of the Constitution, is certainly not only regarded as an action against the National Judicial Council whose powers and functions were subject of the violation but also against the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation whose role in protecting the provisions of the Constitution from being violated, was in issue in the case. These features of this case are what brought the case within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.

– Mahmud, JSC. Elelu-Habeeb v. A.G Federation (2012)

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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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