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LAWS ARE MADE FOR MEN, NOT MEN FOR LAWS

Dictum

Laws are made for men and not men for laws. The administration of justice involves the administration of the purest principles of law among men for the good of men in its fairest conception. Man is fallible, so are the thoughts of man. This fallible nature of man demands that whenever the errors of thoughts and thought processes surface and are exposed and brought to the attention of its authors, there should be power or jurisdiction to depart from the errors and tread the correct path.

— Obaseki, JSC. Odi v Osafile (1985) – SC.144/1983

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THE LAW IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSON

I can safely say that here in Nigeria even under a Military Government, the law is no respecter of person, principalities, government or powers and that the courts stand between the citizens and the government alert to see that the state or government is bound by the law and respects the law. Under our law, it is the court that has the jurisdiction and power to declare the Respondent, Chief Emeka Ojukwu a trespasser on the premises situate at No. 29 Queen’s Drive Ikoyi after due hearing on relevant evidence.

– Oputa, JSC. Military Governor v. Ojukwu (1986) – SC.241/1985

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IGNORANCE OF LAW NOT EXCUSE – IGNORANCE TO APPRECIATE UNLAWFUL NATURE OF A TRANSACTION

If all the facts which make the transaction unlawful were known to the parties, as I think they were, ignorance of the law will not excuse them: see Churchill v Walton ([1967] 1 All ER 497 at 503, [1967] 2 AC 224 at 237). That case was one of criminal conspiracy, but it seems to me that precisely similar principles must apply to a conspiracy for which a civil remedy is sought. Nor, in my opinion, can the fact that their ignorance of, or failure to appreciate, the unlawful nature of the transaction was due to the unfortunate fact that they were, as I think, erroneously advised excuse them (Cooper v Simmons, and see Shaw v Director of Public Prosecutions, where the appellant had taken professional legal advice).

— Buckley LJ. Belmont v Williams [1980] 1 ALL ER 393

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RULE OF LAW NECESSARY FOR DEMOCRACY SUSTAINABILITY

If our democracy must be sustained and grow, everybody must abide by the rule of law and ensure that all procedures laid down for taking any action are scrupulously complied with.

– AKA’AHS, J.S.C. Danladi v. Dangiri (2014)

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SELF-HELP CANNOT OPERATE WHERE RULE OF LAW OPERATES

In the area where rule of law operates, the rule of self help by force is abandoned. Nigeria being one of the countries in the world even in the third world which proclaim loudly to follow the rule of law, there is no room for the rule of self help by force to operate. Once a dispute has arisen between a person and the government or authority and the dispute has been brought before the court, thereby invoking the judicial powers of the state. it is the duty of the government to allow the law to take its course or allow the legal and judicial process to run its full course.

– Obaseki, JSC. Military Governor v. Ojukwu (1986) – SC.241/1985

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SELF-HELP IS FORBIDDEN – FOLLOWING DUE PROCESS OF LAW – REGAINING POSSESSION

Oputa, JSC in his judgment in Ojukwu’s case (1986) 17 NSCC 304 at 322 referred to Lord Denning’s dicta in the case of Agbor v. Metropolitan Police Commissioner (1969) 1 WLR 703 at page 707 where the learned Lord Justice stated that:- “The plain fact here is that Mr & Mrs Agbor claim as of right to be entitled to possession of the ground floor of this house. They occupied it on February 4. They entered by stealth. They used a key that had been left behind. But they did it under a claim of right. It may be that they had no such right as they claimed. But, even so, the proper way to evict her was by application to the courts of law. No one is entitled to take possession of premises by a strong hand or with a multitude of people. That has been forbidden ever since the Statute of Richard II against forcible entry. This applies to the police as much as to anyone else. It applies to the government departments also. And to the Nigerian High Commission. If they are entitled to possession, they must regain it by due process of law. They must not take the law into their own hands. They must apply to the courts for possession and act only on the authority of the courts.”

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LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IS ITEMISED IN THE EXCLUSIVE LIST

In Nigeria, the operation of legislative powers by the national assembly and House of Assembly of a State is itemized in two list; the Exclusive Legislative list and Concurrent list, these vest powers on the legislature to legislate upon certain items. The exclusive list is the exclusive preserve of the National Assembly which has 68 items. The item Traffic on Federal Road” is provided for under item 63 2nd schedule part I in the Exclusive legislative list. Study of part I of the 2nd Schedule, Item 63 i.e “Traffic on Federal Trunk roads” gave rise to the promulgation of Federal Road safety Commission (Establishment) Act, 2007 by the National Assembly for the maintenance and security of public safety and order.

— A.O. Obaseki-Adejumo, JCA. FRSC v Ehikaam (2023) – CA/AS/276/2019

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