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N.F.C.A. v Laloko

1.      NIGERIAN FOOTBALL COACHES ASSOCIATION

2.      MR. AUSTIN AKOSA 

V

1.      MR. KASHIMAWO LALOKO

2.      NIGERIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

3.      MR. PAUL HAMILTON

COURT OF APPEAL

( LAGOS DIVISON )

SULEIMAN GALADIMA, JCA ( Presided )

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD, JCA

C. M.CHUKWUMA-ENEH, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment ) CA/L/334/2000

MONDAY, 16 TH DECEMBER,  2002

ACTION - Cause of action - Definition of

ACTION - Commencement of action - Action not commenced in a representative capacity - Whether can metamorphose into same without amending the statement of claim

ACTION - Improperly constituted action - Whether court can adjudicate on

ACTION - Party other than a natural person - Action by or against same When can be brought

ACTION - Representative action - When court will allow - When same will not be permitted

ACTION - Representative capacity - Action commenced in representative capacity - Need for same to be expressed on the writ

ACTION - Wrong done to company or association - Action in respect of  Proper plaintiff

COURT - Unincorporated association - Whether court can accord status of legal personality thereto - Need for court to consider relevant statute that created same

LEGAL PERSONALITY - Association of persons - How can sue or be sued

LEGAL PERSONALITY - Company or Association - Action in respect of wrong done to - Proper plaintiff

LEGAL PERSONALITY - Natural person - Party other than a natural person -  When action can be brought by or against same

LEGAL PERSONALITY - Unincorporated association - Whether court can accord status of legal personality thereto - Need for court to consider relevant statute that created same

LEGAL PERSONALITY - When impliedly conferred on a body or office

LOCUS STANDI - Plaintiff’s statement of claim - Where discloses no locus standi - Effect

PARTIES - Proper person to sue - The question of whether plaintiff is the proper person to sue - How determined

PLEADINGS - Plaintiff’s statement of claim - Where discloses no locus standi - Effect

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Amendment - Action not commenced in a representative capacity - Whether can metamorphose into same without amending the statement of claim WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Cause of action’ - Meaning of

Issues:

1. Whether the learned trial Judge was right in holding that the 1 st appellant cannot sue and be sued in its name; and 2. Whether the learned trial Judge was right in holding that the 2 nd appellant cannot maintain this action independently.

Facts:

The 2nd respondent, Nigerian Football Association directed the professional bodies including the 1st appellant - Nigerian Football Coaches Association - to conduct election under the 2nd respondent’s observation, as the Governing Board of N.F.A. was to be reconstituted. The 3rd respondent was taken on board of 2nd respondent as having emerged from the election to represent the appellants who felt dissatisfied with the exercise. The appellants however commenced this action as plaintiffs at the High Court of Lagos challenging the audacity of the 2nd respondent to conduct an election and an order amongst other claims nullifying the appointment of the 3rd respondent as the representative of 1st appellant in the proposed board of N.F.A.

Respondents however filed an application praying for the dismissal of the entire suit contending that the 1st appellant was a non-juristic person. In a considered ruling, the trial court held that the 1st appellant an unincorporated association could not sue or be sued in its own name. And that logically the 2nd appellant is representative of the 1st plaintiff on the N.F.A. Board of 2nd respondent and was incapable of maintaining an action independently. The action was consequently struck out. Dissatisfied, appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal considered Nigerian Football Association Decree No. 101 of 1992, section 1(2)(a) & 3(2) which provides:

Section 1(1) There is hereby established an association to be known as the Nigerian Football Association (in this Decree referred to as “the Association”).

(2) The Association

(a)          Shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and

(b)          May sue and be sued in its corporate name.

Section 3 (1) There is established for the Association a board which shall be known as the Nigerian Football Association Governing Board (in this Decree referred to as “The Board”)

(2)        The Board shall consist of the following members, that

is -

(a)          One person to represent each of the following

bodies, that is -

(i)             The Armed Forces of the Federation;

(ii)           The Nigeria Police Force

(iii)         The Nigerian Inter-Collegiate Sports Association;

(iv)         The Nigerian Schools Sports Association

(v)           The Nigerian Referees Association

(vi)         The Nigerian Football Coaches Association (vii) The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria

(viii)     The Nigerian Association of Physical and

Health Education and Recreation; and

(ix)         Four Nigerians to be appointed on merit by the National Sports Commission.

(b)          One person to represent the National Sports Commission,

(c)          Eight other persons to represent the Amateur and Professional Football Clubs to be selected from the Zones, which may, from time to time, be established by the National Sports Commission, provided that no re-zoning shall take effect until after three years of the first zoning under this paragraph; and

(d)          The Secretary-General of the Association.