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Comptroller N. P. S. v. Adekanye (No. 2)

COMPTROLLER NIGERIAN PRISONS SERVICES

DEPUTY CONTROLLER, IKOYI PRISON

ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION

V

DR. FEMI ADEKANYE

USMAN ABUBAKAR

IFEANYI ARTHUR

R. K. OSAYAMEH

MUFTAU BALOGUN

EYO EFFIOM

SOLOMON ASEMOTA

CHUKA KESHI

IBOOK EYO

KINGSLEY B. EFFIOM

EME EYO

INYANG EFFIOM

MONDAY ODIYE

DR. O. A. FOLORUNSHO

ABUBAKAR GABI

ELENDU C. C.

AGABI JOE I.

ETIM UDO

PHILIP OGUNSANYA

RASHINDI SULAIMAN

BABATUNDE AKINGBAGBE

OLAWALE AFOLABI

BABATUNDE AKINYEMI

EDWIN ERINMWINGBOVO

KINGSLEY IGBOGBO

GODWIN OGBONNA 

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

SALIHU MODIBBO ALFA BELGORE, JSC ( Presided )

IDRIS LEGBO KUTIGI, JSC

SYLVESTER UMARU ONU, JSC

ALOYSIUS IYORGYER KATSINA-ALU, JSC

AKINTOLA OLUFEMI EJIWUNMI, JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

SC. 184/1999

FRIDAY, 12TH JULY, 2002

APPEAL - Appellate court - Duty of to consider only issues based on grounds of appeal filed therebefore - Rationale therefor

APPEAL - Grounds of appeal - Ground of law - Whether leave of court is required to file and argue same

APPEAL - Issues for determination - Issue raised suo motu by appellate court - Appellate court determining matter on same without hearing parties - Impropriety of - Effect

APPEAL - Issues for determination - Need for to be a combination of one or more grounds of appeal - Counsel forming 13 issues out of 9 grounds of appeal - Impropriety of

ATTORNEY-GENERAL - Attorney-General of the Federation - Power of to prosecute person charged under Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpratices in Banks Decree - Whether can properly delegate same to private legal practitioners

COURT - Appellate court - Duty of to consider only issues based on grounds of appeal filed therebefore - Rationale therefor

COURT - Appellate court - issue raised suo motu thereby - Determination of matter on same without hearing parties - Impropriety of - Effect

PARTIES - Party to a suit - Right of to a legal practitioner of his choice

STATUTE - Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Decree No. 18 of 1994 - Person charged thereunder - Power of Attorney-General of the Federation to prosecute same - Whether the Attorney-General can properly delegate same to private legal practitioners

Issues:

1.            Whether Fidelis Nwadialo SAN and Emeka Ngige had the competence to prosecute the respondents/cross-appellants for the various offences they were charged before the Miscellaneous Tribunal created by the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Decree No. 18 of 1994.

2.            Whether the Court of appeal was right to have relied on Cap. 10  in its decision when the judgment of the trial court appealed against made no reference to or relied in anyway on any of the provisions of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification Enforcement) Act Cap. 10 of the Laws of the Federation.

Facts:

The respondents herein were charged before various Tribunals set up under the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices Decree No. 1994. At the beginning of trial each of them was granted bail under the condition laid down in section 26 of the said Decree.

Due to their inability to fulfil the conditions of the bail, they were all kept in prison custody while their trial went on. However, the trials in the various Tribunals were not concluded within the 21 days stipulated in section 4(1)  of the Decree. They therefore took a writ of Habeas Corpus for their release. The appellants filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the High Court to entertain the application. The objection was overruled and the appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal against the ruling. Meanwhile the appellants’ application to the High Court for stay of proceedings was also refused. The appellants subsequently applied for stay of proceedings at the Court of Appeal. The said application was granted by the Court of Appeal..

Inspite of that, the High Court went ahead with the hearing of the writ of Habeas Corpus and adjourned its ruling till 12th February, 1999. On 8th of February, the appellants applied to the Court of Appeal for arresting or suspending the delivery of that ruling. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Dissatisfied, the appellants appealed to the Supreme Court.