BEST LAW REPORT SUBSCRIPTION PRICE!!

  • Morenikeji vs. Adegbosin
  • 163
  • 2003-07-14
  • ₦ 200
  • Buy Now

Morenikeji vs. Adegbosin

CHIEF EMMANUEL OLATUNDE LAKANMI

V

PETER ADEBAYO ADENE

DR. E. O. AKINDELE

DR. OLUITAN

DR. F. ADERO

( Practising as Skyline Specialist Hospital )

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

SALIHU MODIBBO ALFA BELGORE, JSC ( Presided )

SYLVESTER UMARU ONU, JSC

UMARU ATU KALGO, JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

SAMSON ODEMWINGIE UWAIFO, JSC

AKINTOLA OLUFEMI EJIWUNMI, JSC

SC. 25/1999

FRIDAY, 25TH APRIL, 2003

APPEAL - Appellate court - Where found that trial court had no jurisdiction to try matter on appeal - Proper order to make

COURT - Appellate court - Where found that trial court had no jurisdiction to try matter on appeal - Proper order to make

EVIDENCE - Onus of proof - Relevant Decrees or Edicts or the order of forfeiture which divest appellant of his right to his property - Onus of proving invalidity or illegality of - Whether lies on the appellant

EVIDENCE - Published legal enactment or instrument - Whether need to be pleaded or tendered before it can be considered by the court

GOVERNMENT - Western State Government - Whether had any right to dispose of appellant’s property

INTERPRETATION OF STATUTE - Forfeiture of assets - Public officer within the meaning of section 13(1)(d) of Investigation of Assets ( Public Officers and other Persons) Decree No. 37 of 1968 whose assets could be investigated and confiscated or forfeited to the

Government of Western Nigeria under Edict No. 5 of 1967 of Western State of Nigeria - Whether appellant qualified as

JURISDICTION - Appellate court - Where found that trial court had no jurisdiction to try matter on appeal therebefore - Proper order to make

JURISDICTION - Importance of - Effect of court adjudicating on a matter in which it had no jurisdiction

PUBLIC OFFICER - Public officer within the meaning of section 13(1)(d) of Investigation of Assets (Public Officers and other Persons) Decree No. 37 of 1968 whose assets could be investigated and confiscated or forfeited to the Government of Western Nigeria under Edict No. 5 of 1967 of Western State of Nigeria - Whether appellant qualified as

STATUTE - Forfeiture of Assets etc (Validation) Decree No. 45 of 1968 Effect of repealing same vide Decree 105 of 1979 vis-a-vis section 6(1)  of Interpretation Act (Cap. 192) Laws of Federation  1990

STATUTE - Repeal of an enactment within section 6(1) Interpretation Act

( Cap 192), Laws of the Federation - Scope of

Issues:

1.            Was the Court of Appeal right to decide on issues not properly raised before it, if the answer is in the negative whether the appellant has discharged the onus of proof that the forfeiture order was invalidly made having not complied with

Investigation of Assets Edict, 1967.

2.            Was the Court of Appeal right in relying on WSLN 99 of 1967 in giving judgment for the respondents when it was never pleaded and the instrument which forfeited the appellant’s property was never tendered in court?

3.            Was the Court of Appeal right to hold that the trial court has no jurisdiction to entertain the case and yet proceeded to affirm the judgment of the High Court?

Facts:

The plaintiff who was a civil servant in the first Republic was found

by the military government which succeeded that Republic to have fraudulently enriched himself. The confiscation was done by the Public Officers and other Persons (Investigation of Assets) Edict 1967 issued by the then Military Government of Western Region. That Edict was subsequently reinforced and validated by two Decrees made by the Federal Military Government, viz, the Investigation of Assets (Public Officers and Other Persons) Decree No. 37 of 1968 and the Forfeiture of Assets etc. ( Validation) Decree No. 45 of  1968.

Plaintiff at that time challenged the forfeiture of his said property at the High Court. He lost and on appeal to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court held that the Military Government did not have sufficient authority to effect the forfeiture and allowed the appeal. Consequently, the Federal Military Government promulgated the Federal Military Government (Supremacy and Enforcement Powers) Decree No. 28 of 1970 to nullify the judgment of the Supreme Court. The Decree actually made it clear that no court would have jurisdiction to entertain the plaintiff’s claim to it. This then meant that the forfeitures were revived and were validly made. Following this, the Western State Government advertised the property in the newspaper and subsequently conveyed same to the 1st respondent through a deed of conveyance.

Sometime in 1979, Decree No. 105 of 1979 was promulgated repealing Decree No. 28 of 1970 thereby lifting the embargo on the Supreme Court judgment in favour of the appellant. Appellant recently brought this action to re-possess the said property from those to whom the government sold it. The trial court at the conclusion of hearing, dismissed the action. On appeal to the Court of Appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the trial court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit and affirmed the judgment of the trial court. Appellant subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeal.