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  • Minister for Works and Housing v. Tomas (Nig.) Ltd
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  • 2002-10-14
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Minister for Works and Housing v. Tomas (Nig.) Ltd

HONOURABLE MINISTER FOR WORKS

AND HOUSING

V

TOMAS NIGERIA LIMITED

BABIL NIGERIA LIMITED

STRAGRET INDUSTRIES NIGERIA LIMITED

A. B. NIGERIA LIMITED

SURF NIGERIA LIMITED

KEY WEST PROPERTIES LIMITED

A. I. P. LIMITED

GAVA CORPORATION LIMITED

WASA INVESTMENT NIGERIA LIMITED

KINDWAY ENTERPRISES LIMITED

MASUID NIGERIA LIMITED

BAFARAWA NIGERIA LIMITED

JIN VENTURES LIMITED

BEJIK NIGERIA LIMITED

TOGISCANL NIGERIA LIMITED

GOLOYE NIGERIA LIMITED

COSMOS ENG. NIGERIA LIMITED

BUSUTUM NIGERIA LIMITED

GENERAL LOGISTICS LIMITED

BELAWU NIGERIA LIMITED

PROSPECTORS MARKETING LIMITED

RANIFF INTERNATIONAL LIMITED

LABSON NIGERIA LIMITED

UMAR YUSUF NIGERIA LIMITED

HARDEL AND ERIC NIGERIA LIMITED

V

HONOURABLE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF

THE FEDERATION AND MINISTER

OF JUSTICE

INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE

COURT OF APPEAL

( ABUJA DIVISION )

DAHIRU MUSDAPHER, JCA ( Presided )

MUHAMMAD SAIFULLAHI M. COOMASSIE, JCA

ZAINAB ADAMU BULKACHUWA, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

CA/A/82/2000

FRIDAY, 6TH JULY, 2001

ACTION - Discontinuance of action - When and why leave is mandatory therefor

ACTION - Substantive action in the lower court - Withdrawal of same Effect of on appeal

ACTION - Withdrawal or discontinuance of action - Whether a plaintiff can withdraw or discontinue his claim without leave of court

APPEAL - Ground of appeal - Purport of

APPEAL - Substantive action in the lower court - Withdrawal of same -

Effect of on appeal

COURT - ‘Abuse of process of court’ - What constitutes same

COURT - Competence of - Determining factors

COURT - Impropriety of court indulging in academic exercise

EVIDENCE - Presumption of legality - Whether every judicial proceeding is presumed legal

JURISDICTION - Jurisdiction of court - What determines same

JURISDICTION - Want of jurisdiction - Effect of

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Court’s indulgence in academic exercise -  Impropriety of

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Withdrawal or discontinuance of action -  Whether a plaintiff can withdraw or discontinue his claim without leave of court

Issues:

1.            Whether having regard to the substance of the claim in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1/99 now pending before the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, the subsequent institution of Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/104/2000 before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja by the plaintiff/respondents constitutes an abuse of process of court.

2.            Whether having regard to the provisions of section 251 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to entertain a suit the subject-matter of which are the contracts for management and control of Toll Plazas by the plaintiff/respondent.

3.            Whether the court below was right to have delivered its ruling, now appealed against in chambers.

Facts:

The plaintiffs/respondents initiated an action in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/ 104/2000  against the defendant/appellant claiming declaratory, injunctive and other reliefs in respect of an attempt by the defendant to take over the management and control of toll plazas nationwide from the plaintiffs/ respondents who are operators of the Toll Plazas.

The plaintiffs/respondents obtained exparte orders of injunction restraining the appellant from taking over possession of the toll gates on 8 /5/2000. The plaintiffs/appellants thereafter filed preliminary objection on the grounds of lack of competence or jurisdiction of the trial court to deal with the matter and also that the suit was an abuse of the process of court since the contract; the issues; the matters and matters for determination in the said suit are the same as the issues and matters for determination in suit no FHC/L/CS/1/99 then pending before the Federal High Court, Lagos.