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  • North-South Petroleum (Nig.) Ltd. v. F.R.N.
  • 143
  • 2003-02-24
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North-South Petroleum (Nig.) Ltd. v. F.R.N.

NORTH-SOUTH PETROLEUM NIGERIA LIMITED

V

1. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA

2. CHIEF OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

( President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria )

3.   ALHAJI RILWAN LUKMAN

( Special Adviser on Petroleum Resources )

4.   DR. ABOKI ZHAWA

( Permanent Secretary on Petroleum Resources )

5.   MR. W. F. DUBLIN-GREEN

( Director, Department of Petroleum Resources )

6.   DR. CHRISTOPHER KOLADE

( Chairman, Presidential Panel on the Review of Contracts, Appointments & Licences)

7.   ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION

& MINISTER OF JUSTICE

COURT OF APPEAL

( ABUJA DIVISION )

DAHIRU MUSDAPHER, JCA ( Presided )

MUHAMMAD SAIFULLAHI MUNTAKA-COOMASSIE, JCA 

ZAINAB A. BULKACHUWA, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

CA/A/95/2000

THURSDAY, 21ST MARCH, 2002

APPEAL - Fresh issue - Fresh issue of jurisdiction - Whether can be raised on appeal without leave - Order 6 rule 3(1) Court of Appeal Rules

APPEAL - Issue for determination  - Need to flow from a ground of appeal -  Failure to formulate same from ground of appeal - Effect

APPEAL - Notice of preliminary objection - Failure to file same in strict compliance with Order 3 rule 15(1), Court of Appeal Rules - When excusable

APPEAL - Preliminary objection to the hearing of appeal - How raised Combined effect of Order 3 rule 3(1) and Order 3 rule 15(1)(3) of the Court of Appeal Rules - Whether the filing of a preliminary objection in the respondent’s brief simpliciter without argument is regular

JURISDICTION - Fresh issue of jurisdiction - Whether can be raised on appeal without leave of court - Effect of Order 6 rule 3(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Interlocutory application  - Application for interlocutory injunction - Need to be decided without going into the main issues in the substantive matter

Issues:

1.            Whether the learned trial Judge stepped beyond the limits allowed in the consideration of an application for an interlocutory injunction.

2.            What is the proper approach to raising a preliminary objection to the hearing of an appeal under the Court of Appeal Rules?

Facts:

The plaintiff/appellant commenced this action by way of originating summons before the Federal High Court seeking the determination of several questions relating to the existence, validity and operation or cancellation of a contract by which the 1st defendant did not allocate to the plaintiff a discretionary allocation of oil prospecting licence in respect of OPC 326. The reliefs sought by the plaintiff include a declaration that there is a valid and inviolable contract between the 1st defendant and the plaintiff in respect of OPC 326; and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from interfering in any way whatsoever with the contract including reallocation of the subject-matter of this suit.

The plaintiff/appellant filed a motion on notice seeking for an interlocutory injunction against the defendants/respondents to restrain them from interfering in any way whatsoever with the contract including the reallocation of the subject-matter of the suit pending the determination of the substantive suit. The motion was opposed by the defendants/respondents. After hearing arguments, the learned trial Judge found that the plaintiff was entitled to the grant of interlocutory injunction, but the court further ordered the plaintiff to deposit the sum of $20,010.500 (Twenty million, Ten thousand Five hundred US Dollars) or its equivalent in Naira in the Federal High Court Account, Lagos pending the determination of the originating summons or the substantive suit.

Aggrieved with the decision or order to deposit the said sum of money, the plaintiff filed this appeal.

The Court of Appeal considered the proper procedure for raising a notice of preliminary objection to the hearing of an appeal under Order 3 rule 3(1) and Order 3 rule 15(1)(3) of the Court of Appeal Rules. It is pertinent to reproduce Order 3 rule 15(1)(3) of the Court of Appeal Rules thus:

(1) “A respondent intending to rely upon a preliminary objection to the hearing of the appeal shall give the appellant three clear days notice thereof before the hearing, setting out the grounds of objection, and shall file such notice together with seven copies thereof with the Registrar within the same time.

(3) If the respondent fails to comply with this rule the court may refuse to entertain the objection or may adjourn the hearing thereof at the cost of the respondent or may make such other order as it thinks fit.”