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STATUTE SHOULD BE READ AS A WHOLE

Dictum

It is important in the construction of a provision to read the statute as a whole. Such a method of construction enables an interpretation which brings into focus related sections which are complementary.

– Karibi-whyte JSC. Idehen v. Idehen (1991) – SC. 271/1989

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COURT WILL CONSIDER ALL DOCUMENTS BEFORE IT WHOLLY

It is settled that in the consideration of an agreement where there are series of correspondences between the Parties, it is the duty of the Court to consider all the correspondences in order to decipher what they are saying with regards to the arrangement see Udeagu V. Benue Cement Co. Plc. (2006) 2 NWLR (Pt. 965) 600.

— A.A. Augie, JSC. Berger v Toki Rainbow (2019) – SC.332/2009

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STATUTE TO BE INTERPRETED IN ORDINARY AND LITERAL MEANING

In any case, the provisions of section 232 of the 1999 Constitution are quite clear. It is now well settled that the duty of this Court and indeed any other court, is to interpret the words contained in the Constitution, and any statute in their ordinary and literal meaning. Certainly, it is not the duty of the court to go outside words used in a statute and import an interpretation which may be or is convenient to it or to the parties or to one of the parties.

— Mohammed JSC. AG Kano State v AG Federation (2007) – SC 26/2006

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READ A STATUTE AS A WHOLE

To ascertain the correct interpretation of the provision of section 34(2) vis that of section 22 of the Act, the Land Use Act is to be read as a whole. Every clause of a statute is to be construed with reference to the context of other clauses of the Act so as far as possible to make a consistent enactment of the whole statute.

– Obaseki, JSC. Savannah v. Ajilo (1989)

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THE PHRASE “IN LIEU OF NOTICE”

I consider it necessary to say something about the phrase “in lieu of notice” which is liable to be misunderstood, in this connection. The phrase has been defined in the Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Language 4th Ed. page 687 as “in the place, instead of “. Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Ed. P.787, also defines the phrase as “instead of, in place of, in substitution of….Thus when the condition of termination of the contract of service is the giving of two months’ notice or the payment of two months’ salary in lieu of notice, it can only mean the payment of two months’ salary instead of, in place, in substitution of the giving of two months notice.

– Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Chukwumah v. SPDC (1993)

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WHERE WORDS ARE UNAMBIGUOUS

According to the canons of interpretation of statutes, it is a cardinal principle that, where the ordinary and plain meaning of words used are clear and unambiguous, effect must be given to those words in their natural and ordinary meaning or literal sense without resorting to any intrinsic aid.

– Tijjani Abubakar, JSC. Nwobike v. FRN (2021)

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HEADINGS OF A STATUTE SHOULD BE LOOKED AT TO CLARIFY AMBIGUITY

My Lords, I am persuaded that we must look at the heading of both sections of the statute to clarify any ambiguity. See OGBONNA v. A. G. IMO STATE (1992) 1 NWLR Pt. 220 Pg. 647, OYO STATE BOARD OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN (2013) LPELR 2215.

— H.M. Ogunwumiju, JSC. UBA v Triedent Consulting Ltd. (SC.CV/405/2013, July 07, 2023)

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