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Mogaji vs. N.E.P.A.

MAIWADA MOGAJI

V

NATIONAL ELECTRIC POWER AUTHORITY

COURT OF APPEAL

( ABUJA DIVISION )

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD, JCA ( Presided )

ZAINAB ADAMU BULKACHUWA, JCA

ALBERT GBADEBO ODUYEMI, JCA (Read the Lead Judgment)

CA/A/139/2001

WEDNESDAY, 27TH NOVEMBER, 2002

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Abuse of court process - What amounts to - Circumstances which may give rise to

COURT - Court of co-ordinate jurisdiction - Duty on to decline jurisdiction on matters decided by another court

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Declaratory order - Discretionary nature of -  Implication

JURISDICTION - Decision of a court - Jurisdiction of a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction in respect of

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Declaratory order - Nature of - Whether granted as of right

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Matter already litigated upon and decided by the court - Whether proper to bring the same matter before another court of co-ordinate jurisdiction

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Abuse of court process - What amounts to - Circumstances which may give rise to

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Re-litigation - When improper Issue:

Whether the order sought by the plaintiff/appellant at the Niger State High Court amounted to a review of the judgment earlier delivered by the Kwara State High Court wherein plaintiff’s claims were dismissed and if so, whether the Niger State High Court has jurisdiction to entertain the same.

Alternatively

Was the lower court right in declining jurisdiction over a matter which called for further pronouncement on the final judgment of a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction.

Facts:

The appellant was plaintiff in an action commenced at the High Court of Kwara State in which he claimed against the defendant a declaration that his purported dismissal by the defendant was wrongful, null and void and payment of his salary and allowances accruing from the date of the purported dismissal all amounting to N11,370.50k. In his judgment, the learned trial Judge faulted the dismissal of the plaintiff on the ground that the administrative panel set up by the defendant which recommended the dismissal could not sit over a purely criminal matter. On the issue of special damages, the learned trial Judge found the claim not proved as a result of which he dismissed the claim.

About 12 years later, the same plaintiff took out an originating summons against the defendant at the Niger State High Court praying the court to determine whether or not he was entitled to his unpaid salaries and/or emoluments from the date of his suspension. He subsequently claimed for an order mandating the defendant to pay him all his unpaid salaries and/or emoluments from the date of his suspension from office till date.

The defendant by a motion on notice applied to the court to strike out the summons for lack of jurisdiction on the ground inter alia that the court was not competent to sit on appeal over the judgment of a competent court of coordinate jurisdiction.

In a considered ruling, the learned trial Judge granted the defendant’s application and dismissed the plaintiff’s summons. Aggrieved by the ruling, the plaintiff appealed.