BEST LAW REPORT SUBSCRIPTION PRICE!!

  • NEPA v. Edegbero
  • 139
  • 2003-01-27
  • ₦ 200
  • Buy Now

NEPA v. Edegbero

NATIONAL ELECTRIC POWER AUTHORITY

V

MR. B. EDEGBERO

MR. J. O. ERUE

MR. J. O. EMORDI

MR. U. A. ONWUBULU

MR. A. O. KADIRI

MR. A. J. EMORERHI

MR. B. M. JENYO

MR. O. AJAYI

MR. M. E. CHILAKA

MR. T. ELEGUNMI

MR. B. O. ENIOLORUNDA

MR. U. CHUKWUOBI

MR. J. OFFOR

MR. B. OBALOKUN

MR. KEHINDE JIMOH

MR. M. OMOTOSHO

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

MUHAMMADU LAWAL UWAIS, CJN ( Presided )

MICHAEL EKUNDAYO OGUNDARE, JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

SYLVESTER UMARU ONU, JSC

ALOYSIUS IYORGYER KASTINA-ALU, JSC

NIKI TOBI, JSC

SC.37/2001

FRIDAY, 13TH DECEMBER, 2002

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979 , section 230(1)(q)(r)(s) - Proviso thereto - Purport and effect of vis-a-vis the jurisdiction of Federal High Court - Whether ousts jurisdiction of State High Court

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, section 230(1) of 1979 - Construction of vis-a-vis determination of when Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, section 230(1) 1979 - Administration and management in relation thereto - Definition of

COURT - Federal High Court - Whether paragraphs (q)(r) and (s) of section 230(1) 1979  Constitution confers exclusive jurisdiction on in matters in which the Federal Government or any of its agencies is a party

COURT - High Court of State - Whether paragraphs (q)(r) and (s) of section 230(1) 1979 Constitution ousts jurisdiction of in matters in which the Federal Government or any of its agencies is a party

JURISDICTION - Federal High Court - Whether paragraphs (q)(r) and ( s) of section 230(1) 1979 Constitution confers exclusive jurisdiction on in matters in which the Federal Government or any of its agencies is a party

JURISDICTION - High Court of State - Whether paragraphs (q)(r) and (s) of section 230(1) 1979 Constitution ousts jurisdiction of in matters in which the Federal Government or any of its agencies is a party

MASTER AND SERVANT - Contract of employment - Where entered into with an employee - Whether a business relationship within section 230(1)(q)  of Decree 107 of  1993

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Administration’ and ‘management’ in relation to section 230(1) 1979 Constitution - Meaning of

Issue:

Whether the High Court of Niger State had jurisdiction to hear and determine the action brought before it by the plaintiffs, in view of the Constitution (Suspension and Modification) Decree 107 of 1993.

Facts:

The plaintiffs were former employees of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), the defendant. Following an industrial action by the workers of NEPA embarked upon in August 1994, the plaintiffs, among others had, by a letter dated 10th August, 1994, their appointments terminated.

On 17th August, they instituted various actions claiming in each:

“(i) A declaration that the purported termination of the plaintiffs vide a letter dated 10th August 1994, from the services of the defendant is irregular, wrongful, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

(ii)         An order reinstating the plaintiffs with the defendant and the payment of plaintiffs’ salaries, allowances and entitlements from the purported day of termination till reinstatement.

(iii)       A perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from harassing, intimidating and violating the plaintiffs’ right.”

At the trial court, the matter was resolved against the defendant. Counsel for the defence raised the issue of jurisdiction of the trial court contending that by virtue of Decree 107 of 1993 amending section 230(1) of the 1979 Constitution, a State High Court had no jurisdiction to adjudicate in the matter before the court. This issue however was resolved against the defendant.

Being dissatisfied with this judgment, the defendant appealed to the Court of Appeal raising again the issue of jurisdiction of the trial court, the appeal was dismissed.

Still not satisfied, the defendant has further appealed to the Supreme Court contending that the two courts below were wrong on the issue of the jurisdiction of the trial court.

The Supreme Court considered the provisions of section 230)1)(q),(r) ,(s) of the 1979 Constitution as amended by Decree 107 of 1993.

“230(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this constitution and in addition to such other jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly or a Decree, the Federal High Court shall have and exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of any other court in civil causes and matters arising from -

(q)          the administration or the management and control of the Federal Government or any of its agencies;

(r)            subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the operation and interpretation of this Constitution in so far as it affects the Federal Government or any of its agencies: and

(s)           any action or proceeding for a declaration or injunction affecting the validity of any executive or administrative action or decision by the Federal Government or any of its agencies:

Provided that nothing in the provisions of paragraphs ( q), (r) and (s) of this subsection shall prevent a person from seeking redress against the Federal Government or any of its agencies in an action for damages, injunction or specific performance where the action is based on any enactment, law or equity.”