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Daudu vs. University of Agric., Markurdi

ARCH. VICTOR S. DAUDU & 13 ORS.

V

UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE, MARKURDI & 4 ORS.

COURT OF APPEAL

( ABUJA DIVISION )

M. S. MUNTAKA-COOMAISSIE, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

ZAINAB ADAMU BULKACHUWA, JCA

ALBERT GBADEBO ODUYEMI, JCA

CA/A/42/2001

THURSDAY, 6TH JUNE, 2002 

ACTION - Statute-barred action - Legal consequences of

APPEAL - Findings of fact of trial court - Attitude of appellate court thereto

LIMITATION OF ACTION - Action statute-barred - Legal consequences of

PUBLIC OFFICER - Findings of fact of trial court - Attitude of appellate court thereto

PUBLIC OFFICER - Public Officers Protection Law - Extent of acts of publc officer protected thereby

PUBLIC OFFICER - Public Officers Protection Law - Motive - Whether a relevant consideration in the applicability of

PUBLIC OFFICER - Public Officers Protection Law - Scope of applicability of - Whether restricted to action carried out under a particular law or intended execution of a particular law

PUBLIC OFFICER - Public Officers Protection Law - Whether applies to artificial person

STATUTE - Public Officers (Special Provisions) Decree No. 17 of 1984 -  A servant who is dismissed or whose employment is terminated thereunder - Whether court can entertain claims of

STATUTE - Public Officers Protection Law - Extent of acts of publc officer protected thereby

STATUTE - Public Officers Protection Law - Motive - Whether a relevant consideration in the applicability of

STATUTE - Public Officers Protection Law - Scope of applicability of Whether restricted to action carried out under a particular law or intended execution of a particular law

STATUTE - Public Officers Protection Law - Whether applies to artificial person

Issue:

Whether the claims of the appellants were statute-barred by virtue of section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Act.

Facts:

The appellants were employees in the employment of the 1st respondent. However, between 1995-1999, the 1st to 3rd respondents on the authority and orders of the 5th respondents dismissed the 7th - 15th appellants, issued warning letter to the 1st appellant while the 4th, 5th and 6 th appellants’ employment were terminated. The 1st - 3rd appellants were placed on suspension. In addition, some fundamental administrative changes were effected by the said 1st - 3rd respondents under the authority of the 5th respondent. It was after these events had happened between 19951999 , that the appellants commenced an action in the lower court by way of originating summons challenging the legality of the actions of the 1st - 3rd respondents, the respondents were served with the originating summons in respect to which motion on notice dated the 15th November, 2000 was filed praying the court amongst others for an order striking out the plaintiffs claims on the grounds that the cause of action accrued in all cases more than 3 months before the originating summons was taken out which is statutebarred by virtue of section 2(a) Public Officer Protection Act. Both parties were heard on the application, and the trial Judge, in his ruling upheld the objection and accordingly dismissed the appellants’ claim. It is against this ruling that the plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal considered section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Act which provides as follows:

Where any action, prosecution, or other proceedings is commenced against any person for any act done in pursuance of/or execution or intended execution of any Act or Law or of any public duty or authority, or in respect of any alleged right or default in the execution of any such Act, law, duty or authority the following provisions shall have effect:-

(a) The action, prosecution, or proceedings shall not lie or be instituted unless it is commenced within three months next after the act, neglect or default complained of, or in case of continuance of changes or injury, within three months next after the leasing thereof.”