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NIGERIAN JUDGEMENTS CAN BE ENTERED IN FOREIGN CURRENCY

Dictum

If there was any doubt that judgment can now be entered in foreign currency as the Court of Appeal had done, the opinion of Ogundare, JSC in Koya v. United Bank for Africa Ltd. (1997) 1 NWLR (Pt. 481) 251, 269 – 289 should, in my opinion, lay such doubt to rest. After a review of several local and English authorities he said at p. 289: “It is my respectful view that courts in this country can claim jurisdiction to entertain and determine cases where sums in foreign currencies are claimed. The old rule in England, as well as in Nigeria, is judge-made and in the light of present day circumstances of extensive international commercial relationships, that rule should give way to a new rule as now in England more so that the difficulties hitherto experienced in enforcing such judgments no longer apply.”

— Ayoola, JSC. Saeby v. Olaogun (1999) – SC.261/1993

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WHAT IS AN EXECUTORY JUDGMENT

An executory judgment or order is one that states the respective rights of the parties and goes the extra mile to order the defendant to act in a particular way or refrain from interfering with the plaintiffs’ rights, e.g. to pay damages or as in this case to stop parading himself as the Eesa of Iragbiji. – Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Olabomi v. Oyewinle (2013) – SC.345/2012

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SOME PRINCIPLES ON THE NATURE OF A COURT’S JUDGMENT

1. A judgment or ruling of a competent court ought not to be illusory, but ought to have its consequences. One consequence of the Order of the Court of Appeal dated 13/11/85 is the restoration of Chief Ojukwu to his residence at No. 29 Queen’s Drive. The applicants by their delaying tactics have so far made that order illusory.

2. A judgment once given should be accepted as correct until the contrary is proved. This can only be done by and in an appropriate higher Court of Appeal – in this case the Supreme Court. This Court has not yet over-ruled or set aside the Order of the Court of Appeal of 13/11/85.

3. He who is in defiant disobedience of the law – here an Order of court – cannot appeal to the same law to help him continue in his disobedience.

4. The Applicants in this Motion are asking the court to exercise its discretion in their favour. The exercise of discretion is equitable and the function of equity is to supplement the law never to counteract or contradict the law.

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

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MAGISTRATE COURT IS TO DELIVER JUDGEMENT WITHIN TIMEFRAME SET BY THE CONSTITUTION

In any case, section 294(1) of the Constitution is intended to ensure that a court delivers its judgment before the lapse of human memory. Those who preside over the Magistrates’ Court have no claim to better and longer memory than the Judges of Superior Courts, nor can there be a double standard of justice delivery, one in the lower and the other in the High Courts.

— Ngwuta JSC. The State v. Monsurat Lawal (SC. 80/2004, 15 Feb 2013)

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COURT CANNOT TAKE JUDICIAL NOTICE OF A NULLIFIED JUDGEMENT NOT PRODUCED BEFORE IT

Whether the record and contents of a nullified judgment ought formally be produced in court or extract thereof be placed before the court before the opinions expressed therein could be countenanced; or whether the Court of Appeal could have taken notice of their existence and contents by the mere fact that the nullified judgment was probably in the archives of the court. In Attorney-General v. Silem L.R. 10 H.L. Cas. 704, it was held that S.26 of the Queens Remembrance Act, 1859, which empowered the Barons of Exchequer to frame rules for making “the process, practice and mode of pleading” on the revenue side of the court uniform with that of the plea side, did not give the Judges the power of entertaining appeals on revenue cases, as they assumed. It is always necessary to exercise powers conferred by an enabling statute within the four comers of the statute: see Australian cases of Tavcar v. Tavcar (1950) A.L.R. 260; White v. White (1947) A.L.R. 342. It therefore appears to me that the power, conferred by S.73(1) of the Evidence Act, for a court to take judicial notice of its course of proceedings and rules of practice cannot rightly be invoked to take judicial notice of the contents of a nullified judgment, which the members had not earlier had an opportunity of seeing. For, true, it existed as a fact, being devoid of any legal consequences, it was then like any other opinion, say, in a textbook. I do not think that anybody can suggest that such a textbook opinion should be judicially noticed.

— P. Nnaemeka-Agu JSC. Gbaniyi Osafile v. Paul Odi (SC 149/1987, 4th day of May 1990)

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FINAL EXERCISE OF JUDGEMENT MUST INVOLVE CONSIDERATION OF ALL THE CORRESPONDENCE ON BOTH SIDES

The final exercise of judgment must of necessity involve a consideration of all the correspondence that is properly put in evidence by both sides, all the correspondence tendered in order to establish the case and all that produced in order to disprove the existence of a contract. It is only after such detailed consideration that a tribunal can fairly come to a conclusion as to whether or not the parties actually arrived at an agreement. See Thomas Hussey v. Horne-Payne (1879) 4 App. Cas. 311. The task of analysing the several letters and attempts to reconcile the one with the other is undoubtedly a very difficult one calling for the most serious examination of each and every one of several documents until the tribunal is able to say whether a contract is indeed established.

— Coker JSC. Shell Bp Petroleum Dev. Co. v. Jammal Engineering (Nigeria) Limited (1974)

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TRIAL COURT HAS POWER TO ENFORCE ITS OWN JUDGEMENT

The judgment subsists and remains binding on the parties until set aside; and it took immediate effect from the date it was pronounced. Section 287(3) of the Constitution enjoins the said trial Court to enforce its own judgment.

— Ejembi Eko, JSC. Oboh & Anor v. NFL (SC.841/2016, January 28, 2022)

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