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Iweka v. S.C.O.A. Nig. Limited

DR. M. G. O. IWEKA

V

S.C.O.A. NIGERIA LIMITED

COURT OF APPEAL

( ENUGU DIVISION )

JUSTIN THOMPSON AKPABIO, JCA ( Presided )

EUGENE CHUKWUEMEKA UBAEZONU, JCA

SULE AREMU OLAGUNJU, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

CA/E/32/91

THURSDAY, 20TH DECEMBER, 2001

CONTRACT - Repudiation of contract - Offer to repudiate by respondent in the instant case - Rejection of same by the appellant - Whether still keeps the contract between the parties alive to warrant grant of specific performance in favour of the appellant - Okongwu vs. NNPC (1989) 4  NWLR (Pt.  115) 296

JUDICIAL PRECEDENT - ‘Stare decisis’ - Application of - Condition precedent thereto

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - ‘Ratio decidendi’ - Application of - When inappropriate

Issues:

1.            Whether the contract was kept alive following the rejection by the plaintiff/appellant of the repudiation by the defendant/ respondent.

2.            If the answer to the above is in the positive, whether the contract should be specifically enforced or damages in lieu of specific performance awarded; when is the assessment of damages to be made? what is the measure? and was the plaintiff/appellant under any obligation to mitigate the damage?.

Facts:

The plaintiff/appellant filed an action against the defendant/ respondent at the Anambra State High Court, Onitsha claiming specific performance and the sum of N750,000.00 as damages for breach of contract and or detention of the car, the subject-matter of the contract.

In May, 1984, the defendant/respondent agreed to supply the plaintiff/ appellant with a Peugeot 504 GR air-conditioned Saloon Car within one month at the purchase price of N11,850.  The defendant/respondent could not supply the agreed car up till June 1986 when it suggested to supply a Peugeot 505 Saloon Car to the plaintiff/appellant instead of the agreed brand with payment of additional N5,820. This was promptly rejected by the plaintiff/appellant.  By a letter dated 25th July, 1986, the defendant/ respondent offered to refund the plaintiff/appellant’s money already paid since it could not supply the agreed car.  This offer was equally rejected by the plaintiff/appellant who insisted on taking the agreed brand of car.

Failure of the defendant/respondent to eventually fulfil the obligation under the contract led to the action at the  Onitsha High Court.  At the close of trial, the trial Judge dismissed the plaintiff’s/appellant’s claims for specific performance and damages but was however awarded a total of N16,766.00 as special and general damages.

Being aggrieved with the said judgment, the plaintiff/appellant brought the appeal.