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  • Ahmadu v. Governor, Kogi State
  • 122
  • 2002-09-30
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Ahmadu v. Governor, Kogi State

1.      ALHAJI IBRAHIM AHMADU

( The Nakorji of Budon )

2.      ALHAJI ALIYU AHMADU

( The Marafa of Budon )

V

1.      THE GOVERNOR OF KOGI STATE

2.      THE HON. ATTORNEY-GENERAL, KOGI

STATE AND COMMISSIONER FOR JUSTICE

3.      ALHAJI MUSA ABUBAKAR

( The Agankyu of Kakanda, Budon )

COURT OF APPEAL

( ABUJA DIVISION )

DAHIRU MUSDAPHER, JCA ( Presided )

MUHAMMAD S. MUNTAKA-COOMASSIE, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment ) 

ALBERT GBADEBO ODUYEMI, JCA

CA/A/123/2000

THURSDAY, 15TH NOVEMBER, 2001

CHIEFTAINCY MATTERS - Section 4(4) Law No. 7 of 1992 Kogi State Whether a signified chief need to pay a deposit before he can challenge his suspension thereunder

COURT - Need for courts to limit themselves to the duty of interpretation of statute

FAIR HEARING  - Need to allow parties access to court to prevent judgment from being rationed

INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES - Act of parliament - How construed Principle guiding same

INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES - Need for courts to limit themselves to the duty of interpretation of statute

INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES - Taxing legislation - How construed

INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES - Words in legislation - How interpreted LEGISLATION - Act of parliament - How construed

PARTIES - Need to allow same access to court to prevent judgment from being rationed

STATUTES - Chiefs (Appointment Deposition and Establishment of Traditional Councils) Law No. 7 of 1992 Kogi State, section 4(4) thereof  - Whether a suspended chief need to pay a deposit before he can challenge his suspension thereunder

Issues:

1.            Whether in interpreting the clear provision of section 4(4) of Law No. 7 of 1992 of Kogi State, the court was correct in holding that there must exist a vacancy in the chieftaincy as a result of death, resignation or deposition of a chief before section 4(4) becomes applicable.

2.            Whether there is a particular class of ‘appointment’ and or ‘suspension’ that fall within section 4(4) of Law No. 7 of 1992  of Kogi State.

3.            Whether the disciplinary provisions of section 7 of Law No. 7 of 1992 of Kogi State belong to a special class distinct from similar provision in section 4(4) of same law.

4.            Whether appointment in an acting capacity does not amount to appointment covered by section 4(4) of Law No. 7 of 1992 of Kogi State.

5.            Whether ‘suspension’ does not amount to a form of discipline of a chief under Law No. 7 of 1992 of Kogi State.

6.            Whether the trial court was correct in holding that the plaintiff/ respondent is not required to pay the mandatory deposit created under section 4(4) of Law No. 7 of 1992 of Kogi State before filing a case in court challenging his suspension and the appointment of 3rd defendant/appellant as Acting Agankyu of Kakanda.

Facts:

The 3rd respondent, as plaintiff, instituted this action at the High Court of Justice Kogi State against the defendants/appellants and 1st and 2 nd defendants/respondents challenging his suspension as a Chief (i.e. The Angankyu of Kakanda, Budon).  Pleadings were filed and exchanged.  The defendants/appellants then filed a preliminary objection asking the court to strike out the suit on the ground that it was incompetent.  The appellants argued that by the nature of the claim, the plaintiff ought to comply with section 4(4) of the Kogi State Law No. 7 of 1992 which  provides thus, “in case of any dispute in the appointment, approval or deposition of a Chief an aggrieved party shall pay the sums specified in schedule VII into the State Treasury as deposit before filing a suit in the court challenging such appointment, approval or deposition.”  The trial court ruled that plaintiff is not required to pay the mandatory deposit under section 4(4).  The matter is therefore competent.

Aggrieved, the appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.  The Court of Appeal considered the provision of section 4(4) of the Kogi State Law No. 7 of 1992.