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STATEMENT OF CLAIM HAS TO BE SCRUTINIZED TO DETERMINE LOCUS STANDI

Dictum

It cannot be disputed that the question whether or not a plaintiff has a locus standi in a suit is determinable from a totality of all the averments in his statement of claim. In dealing with the locus standi of a plaintiff, it is his statement of claim alone that has to be carefully scrutinized with a view to ascertaining whether or not it has disclosed his interest and how such interest has arisen in the subject-matter of the action. Where the averments in a plaintiffs statement of claim disclose the rights or interests of the plaintiff which have been or are in danger or being violated, invaded or adversely affected by the act of the defendant complained of, such a plaintiff would be deemed to have shown sufficient interest to give him the locus standi to litigate over the subject-matter in issue.

– Abba Aji JSC. CITEC v. Francis (2021) – SC.720/2017

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WHETHER PERSON STANDING TO SUE IS THE PROPER PERSON TO REQUEST AN ADJUDICATION

When a party’s standing to sue is in issue in a case, the question is whether the person whose standing is in issue is a proper party to request an adjudication of a particular issue and not whether the issue itself is justiciable. See Oloriode v. Oyebi (1984) 1 S. C. N. L. R. 390, 392 Senator Adesanya v. President of Nigeria AND ANOTHER {1981) 2 N. C. L. R. 358. Thomas v. Olufosoye (1986) 1 N. W. L. R. (pt. 18) 669.

— Obaseki, Ag. CJN. Adebanjo v Olowosoga (1988) – SC 134/1986

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DEFINITION OF LOCUS STANDI

In B.B. Apugo & Sons Ltd V. OHMB (2016) LPELR-40598(SC) per Kekere-Ekun, JSC 23, B-E, defined locus standi thus: “Locus standi is the legal right of a party to an action to be heard in litigation before a Court or tribunal. The term connotes the legal capacity of instituting or commencing an action in a competent Court of law or tribunal without any inhibition, obstruction or hindrance from any person or body whatsoever. It is also the law that to have locus standi to sue, the plaintiff must have sufficient interest in the suit. For instance, one of the factors for determining sufficient interest is whether the party seeking redress would suffer some injury or hardship from the litigation…”

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PETITION ON BEHALF OF VICTIMS MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH THEIR CONSENT

Para 16: “Where a petition is submitted on behalf of a victim, it must be with their consent, unless submitting it without their consent can be justified. Such justification would be the case of serious or massive violations pursuant to article 58 of the African Charter or a documented and well-reasoned problem for the victims in doing so themselves.”

— Osaghae v Nigeria (2017) – ECW/CCJ/JUD/03/17

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WHO IS A VICTIM IN INTERNATIONAL LAW? – (ECOWAS Court)

In essence; “A victim is anyone who suffers individual or collective harm (or pain) such as physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss, or generally any impairment of human rights as a result of acts or omissions that constitute gross violations of human rights, or serious violations of humanitarian law norms.” See The Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Survivors of Violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, GA RES 60/147, PMBL, SEC IX, UN DOC A/RES/60/147 (MARCH 21, 2006).

— The Registered Trustees of Jama’a FOUNDATION v FRN ECW/CCJ/JUD/04/20 para. 65

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NATURE OF LOCUS STANDI

Locus standi has been defined as the legal capacity to institute an action in a court of law. Where a plaintiff lacks locus standi to maintain an action, the court will lack the competence to entertain his complaint. It is therefore a threshold issue which affects the jurisdiction of the court. See Daniel v. I NEC (2015) LPELR – SC.757/2013; Thomas v. Olufosoye (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt. 18) 669, (1986) 1 NSCC 323; Opobiyi and Anor. v. Layiwola Muniru (2011) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1278) 387 at 403- F. It is also trite that in determining whether a plaintiff has the necessary locus to institute an action, it is his pleadings that would be considered by the court. The claimant must show sufficient interest in the subject matter of the dispute. See Emezi v. Osuagwu (2005) All FWLR (Pt. 259) 1891, (2005) 12 NWLR (Pt. 93) 340; Momoh and Anor. v. Olotu (1970) 1 All NLR 117; Attorney-General, Anambra State v. Attorney-General, Federation and Ors. (2005) All FWLR (Pt. 268) 1557, (2005) 9 NWLR (Pt. 931) 572.

— Kekere-Ekun, JSC. Nyesom v. Peterside (SC.1002/2015 (REASONS), 12 Feb 2016)

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IF PLAINTIFF RIGHT IS AFFECTED THERE IS LOCUS STANDI

ALEX OLADELE ELUFIOYE & ORS VS IBRAHIM HALILU & ORS (1993) – SC. 310/1989:
“Once the civil rights and obligations of the plaintiffs as individuals are affected, as I hold they are here the courts in exercise of their judicial power set out above can look into such rights and obligations, and for that purpose the plaintiffs have a locus standi before them.”

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