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OUT OF NOTHING, NOTHING CAN ARISE; NOTHING CAN COME FORTH OF A JUDGEMENT THAT IS A NULLITY

Dictum

The aforesaid attempt by respondents’ counsel to influence this court, consisting of a different panel of Justices, by the previous but nullified conclusions-even though described as opinions-of its predecessors in respect of the same appeal is, in my view, a novel and an improper one. As rightly submitted by learned Counsel for the appellants a judgment set aside as a nullity ceases to have any effect whatsoever, for it is non-existent and as if it had never been given. I therefore agree with the conclusion of appellants’ counsel that such judgment “cannot constitute an opinion of the court that gave it, for out of nothing, nothing can arise.” Reference was specially made to the cases of Akpene v. Barclays Bank (1977)1 S.C. 47 at 59 where the Supreme Court adopted the view of Lord Denning in Macfoy v. United African Company Ltd. (1961) 3 W.L.R. (P.C.) 1405 at 1409, to the effect that: “You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse.”

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

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JUDGEMENT CONFINED TO ISSUE RAISED

It is a well settled principle of judicial adjudication that the judgment in a lis must be confined to the cause of action and the issues raised on the pleadings See: Ochonma v. Asirim Unosi (1965) NMLR 321. The court cannot grant remedies or reliefs not claimed by the parties. – Karibe-Whyte JSC. Awoniyi v. AMORC (2000)

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JUDGEMENT MUST BE CONFINED TO PARTIES ISSUES

This is because it is a fundamental principle of the determination of disputes between parties that judgment must be confined to the issues raised by the parties and it is not competent for the court to make a case for either or both of the parties and then proceed to give judgment on the case so formulated contrary to the case of the parties.

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

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A CONCURRING OPINION HAS EQUAL WEIGHT AND FORCE AS A LEAD JUDGEMENT

It is settled law that a contributory or concurring judgment has equal weight as the lead judgment. It is part of the lead judgment and therefore has the same force and binding effect. The mere fact that a concurring or contributory judgment contains what is not in the lead judgment will not whittle down its binding effect. Thus in Olufeagba & Ors v. Abdur Raheem (2009) LPELR-2613(SC), my Lord Fabiyi, JSC said: “A concurring judgment, has equal weight with or as a lead judgment. A concurring judgment compliments, edifies and adds to the lead judgment, when the justice, add to it certain aspects which the writer of the lead judgment did not remember to deal with. In so far as a concurring judgment performs same or all the above functions, it has equal force with or as the lead judgment in so far as the principles of stare decisis are concerned.”

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. APM v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/04/2023

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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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DISSENTING JUDGEMENT IS NOT BINDING

Learned counsel for the Appellant has urged this Court to adopt the dissenting view of Agbaje JSC as it is more in accord with the law that creates trust. In alternative learned counsel invited this Court to look further into this matter and if necessary depart from the relevant holding, especially the dictum of Olatawura JSC. I wish to state clearly that the views expressed by my lord Agbaje JSC was raised in a dissenting judgment. A dissenting judgment, however powerful, learned and articulate is not the judgment of the Court and therefore not binding. The judgment of the Court is the majority judgment which is binding. See Orugbo v Una (2002) 16 NWLR (Pt. 792) 175 at 208 Paragraphs B-C. The law under which the case of Ogunola & Ors v Eiyekole (supra) was decided, that is the Land Use Act 1978, has not been repealed or altered. It is still the extant law that regulates land administration in this country. The call therefore on this Court to depart from the said decision is without merit.

— P.A. Galumje, JSC. Huebner v Aeronautical Ind. Eng. (2017) – SC.198/2006

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JUDGEMENT IN REM

In Oni & Anor V Oyebanji & Ors( SC/CV/398/2023 on 6-4-2023) this court Per Agim JSC restated the law on this concept thusly “As this Court held in Ogboru & Anor v. Uduaghan & Ors (2011) LPELR-8236 (SC) “A judgement in rem may be defined as the judgement of a court of competent jurisdiction determining the status of a person or thing as distinct from the particular interest of a party to the litigation. Apart from the application of the term to persons, it must affect the “res” in the way of condemnation, forfeiture, declaration, status or title. (a) Examples are judgment of a Court over a will creating the status of administration. (b) Judgment in a divorce by a Court of competent jurisdiction dissolving a marriage declaring the nullity or affirming its existence. (c) Judgment in an election petition. The feature of a judgment in rem is that it binds all persons – 36 whether a party to the proceedings or not. It stops anyone from raising the issue of the status of persons or persons or things, or the rights or title to properly litigated before a competent Court. It is indeed conclusive against the entire world in whatever it settles as to status of the person or property. All persons whether party to the proceedings or not are stopped from averring that the status of persons is other than the Court has by such judgement declared or made it to be.” Okpalugo vs. Adeshoye (t996) 10 NELR pt. 476, pg. 77, Fan trades Ltd. vs Uni Association Co. Ltd. (2002) 8 NWLR Pt. 770, pg. 699., Ogbahon vs. Reg. Trustees CCCG (2002) 1 NWLR Pt. 749, pg. 675, Olaniyan vs Fatoki (2003) 13 NWLR pt. 837, Pg. 273.

— E.A. Agim, JSC. Oyetola v INEC & Ors. (2022) – SC/CV/508/2023

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