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RIGHT VS PRIVILEGE

Dictum

I hold that when a claim of right metamorphoses into one of supplication, it ceases to wear the clothe of a right but a mere privilege. In this case the appellant was literally begging the respondent for mercies.

– Pats-Acholonu, JSC. ADECENTRO v. OBAFEMI (2005)

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CORPORATE BODIES HAVE THE RIGHT TO SUE FOR INFRINGEMENT OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

In Okechukwu vs. EFCC (2015) 18 NWLR (Pt 1490), the Court of Appeal held as follows – “Assuming a limited liability company is involved in a case where it was denied fair hearing, it has the right to sue for breach of its fundamental right to fair hearing. Again if the processes filed by the appellants were couched in such a way to show that the 1st Appellant’s ordeal and unwarranted arrests and detention was based primarily on the fact that he is the Managing Director of the 2nd appellant, then the 2nd appellant has a right to sue for the infringement of the fundamental rights of its managing Director.’

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COURT SHOULD PROVIDE REMEDY WHERE THERE IS A RIGHT

Both lower courts agreed that the factual situation in the transaction between the parties reveals a right vested in the appellant. The law is that the court must provide a remedy where the plaintiff has established a right. The court is also to look into the substance of an action and not the form. The appellant is entitled to a remedy and justice.

— O.O. Adekeye, JSC. BFI v. Bureau PE (2012) – SC.12/2008

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TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT – GARBA’S CASE

As the students were wrong in going on a rampage, the University Authorities will on their own part be wrong in using means other than those allowed them by law in dealing with the disturbance. Two wrongs, they say, do not make one right. – Oputa, J.S.C. Garba & Ors. v. The University Of Maiduguri (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt.18) 550

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CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF ONE PARTY CANNOT DEPRIVE ANOTHER OF HIS CONTRACTUAL RIGHT

It is unfortunate that the 2nd defendant/respondent felt satisfied with the conviction for stealing the N9,600 and failed to file notice of appeal against the judgment. There is no doubt that from the facts on record in Exhibit ‘T’, he would have secured an acquittal and discharge from the High Court in its appellate jurisdiction. The failure to take advantage of his constitutional right of appeal cannot deprive the appellant of his contractual rights.

— Obaseki, JSC. Osagie v. Oyeyinka & Anor. (1987) – SC.194/1985

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WHAT IS A LEGAL RIGHT?

In the case of AG of Lagos State Vs. AG FEDERATION (2004) LPELR – SC 70/2004, this Court aptly postulated: What is legal right? A legal right in my view, is a right recognisable in law. It means a right recognised by law and capable of being enforced by the plaintiff. It is a right of a party recognised and protected by a rule of law, the violation of which would be a legal wrong done to the interest of the plaintiff; even though no action is taken. The determination of the existence of a legal right is not whether the action will succeed at the trial but whether the action denotes such a right by reference to the enabling law in respect of the commencement of the action. Per Niki Tobi, JSC @ 97-98 paragraphs G — B.

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WHEN IS THERE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE FEDERATION & A STATE

In Attorney-General of the Federation v Attorney-General of Imo State (1983) 4 NCLR 178, it was held that before the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court can be invoked under section 212 of the 1979 Constitution, the following criteria must be satisfied:- “(1) There must be a justiciable dispute involving any question of law or fact. (2) The dispute must be:- (a) between the Federation and a State in its capacity as one of constituent units of the Federation; (b) between the Federation and more States than are in their capacities as members of the constituent units of the Federation; or (c) between States in their aforesaid capacities, and the dispute must be one on which the existence or extent of a legal right of a State in its aforesaid capacity is involved.” (Relied on in AG Kano State v AG Federation (2007) – SC 26/2006)

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