There is no doubt, that if a Court of Appeal fails to deliver its judgment within three months, such failure contravenes this provision. Therefore, any judgment becomes null and void if delivered outside the time limit. The question is, who should be blamed since the appellants or the respondents as the case may be, are not responsible for the lateness of the Court of Appeal in delivering its judgment. Where, therefore, should the blame lie, in what appears to be the wrong doing of a panel of judges There is no provision in the law as to who will bear the responsibility for the cost of re-hearing. It therefore appears, that parties to a suit are being punished for the wrong doing which they are not responsible for. It is in this sense that counsel argued forcibly that the construction of the relevant section should not be mandatory but directory. If one accepts the argument that the provision of section 258(1) of the 1979 Constitution is directory, then the question is as to what happens to the judgment delivered in breach of it. Definitely, the judgment violates the provision of the Constitution, because it was delivered out of time. The judgment, therefore, is null and void. The next question is as to what happens to the parties and the judges Except that the judgment becomes null and void, the judges do not suffer any liability. It is quite clear that there is no provision for damnifying judges for such a breach. This section of the Constitution has been specially promulgated to prevent rather undue delayed judgment, which, being capable of being set aside, does not benefit either party to the case or on appeal. When any judgment is unnecessarily delayed, it is not possible for the court of trial to retain observations of the witnesses, and the freshness of the demeanour of a witness is lost. It is, therefore, to save such undue delay that this particular provision has been made. Often in the past, a judgment is set aside and the case is remitted for retrial or re-hearing, because the delay is so long that a trial judge would have lost advantage of observation of a witness and sometimes forgets the sequence. It is the duty of all judges to apply the laws strictly, but it will not be right of them to attempt to wriggle out of such application and defeat its object. It is, therefore, essential that all courts should see to the proper compliance with section 258 (1) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1979. Learned counsel for the appellant emphasised that directory construction should be preferred, because of the helplessness of parties. In a judgment given in violation of section 258(1), one party gains and the other loses. It is only fair that parties be restored to their original status when ordering re-hearing. The purpose of section 258(1) is to give some certainty as to the law determining rights of parties. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance to either the appellant or the respondent that a court, which determines an appeal, does so within the required period. That will lead to the enhancement of the court and the judiciary.

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

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It need be examined the extent of duty and responsibility of the 1st and 2nd respondents as sureties to the 3rd respondent who was standing trial before the Court of trial and that obligation is to ensure that the 3rd respondent attended trial from the inception of trial to judgment delivery and that is what the bail bond entails. Therefore by the effect of the combined provisions of Sections 119, 120, 122, 127, 128, 137, 141 and 143 of the Criminal Procedure Act, the forfeiture of the bail bond is contemplated during the criminal trial and not after a discharge and acquittal of the accused/3rd respondent. This is because once judgment is delivered resulting either in conviction or discharge and acquittal, the obligation of the surety ceases to exist. The implication is that the application for forfeiture which the appellant brought after the judgment which culminated in the discharge and acquittal of the 3rd respondent cannot be explained within any law known in our nation since by that time the exercise of jurisdiction of the trial Court over the matter that had to do with the charge on which the 3rd respondent faced had terminated. What I am trying to say is that the appellant was trying by the Motion for forfeiture of the bail bond to resurrect a dead and buried process which the Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain.

— M.U. Peter-Odili, JSC. FRN v Maishanu (2019) – SC.51/2015

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My Lords, the law is settled, and as rightly stated by learned senior counsel for the Appellant, that the Court below, and other Courts subordinate to this Court, lack the jurisdictional competence and power to sit on appeal over the judgment of this Court. This is the import of Section 235 CFRN 1999 as amended.

– A. Aboki, JSC. Sani v. Kogi State (2021) – SC.1179/2019

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The law is settled that the judgment of any competent Court, once perfected, and not appealed against, is valid and subsisting until it is set aside by competent Court or authority.

– Kekere-ekun JSC. Adegbanke v. Ojelabi (2021)

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Unfortunately, sentiments command no place in judicial adjudication. Orders and judgments of lower courts are meant to be obeyed, and must be obeyed. – Eko JSC. Chemiron v. Stabilini (2018)

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A court of law has the inherent power to set aside its decision or that of a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction under special circumstances, for instance where the decision is taken without jurisdiction, where a misrepresentation is made which influenced the decision, where there is a suppression of material facts or where the order is irregularly granted. Therefore, in appropriate situations, a court can invoke its inherent jurisdiction or power to set aside its judgment or order where it is made without jurisdiction or in appropriate cases where the order or decision is afflicted by another virus capable of rendering the decision or order ineffective null and void. See, UBA PLC VS. MAGAMA NIGERIA LIMITED & ANOR (2013) LPELR – 20685 (CA), OBIMONURE VS. ERINOSHO & ANOR (1966) LPELR – 25301 (SC) and ALAYA VS. ISAAC (2019) LPELR – 46881 (CA). The law is that where a court makes an ex – parte order (as in the present case) without jurisdiction, the same order could be varied or discharged depending on the circumstances of the case, the grounds under which the court could do so as rightly highlighted by the learned counsel to the Respondent are as follows: (i) If the plaintiff has not used his administrative powers that might have resolved the difficulty; (ii) if default has been made in giving security for costs: (iii) if the affidavit has not been filed when the injunction was moved for; (iv) if it was granted on a suppression or misrepresentation of material facts; (v) if it was irregularly granted; (vi) if the plaintiff failed to attend to be cross examined: (vii) if there had been delay in complying with an undertaking to amend the writ by adding a party as plaintiff; (viii) if there is non-disclosure of material facts.

— C.N. Uwa, JCA. FRN v Ozekhome (2021) – CA/L/174/19

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The power to award interest before judgment is based on statute or a right based on the common law or some equitable principle or contract. The nature of this interest makes it mandatory that before an award can be claimed, the facts in support must be pleaded and evidence lead to support the claim. The rate of interest and date to calculate from should be lead in evidence and clear.

– Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009)

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