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  • 2004-05-03
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Musaconi Ltd v. Aspinall

MUSACONI LIMITED

V

MR. H. ASPINALL

COURT OF APPEAL

( ABUJA DIVISION )


GEORGE A .OGUNTADE, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMED, JCA

ALBERT GBADEBO ODUYEMI, JCA

CA/A/138/2001

MONDAY, 9TH JUNE, 2003

COURT -  Jurisdiction of court - How determined - Whether the court can determine by using only the  writ of summons and statement of claim

JURISDICTION - How determined - Whether the court can determine by using only the  writ of summons and statement of claim

JURISDICTION - Issue of - How determined - Whether court can determine on any other evidence than that which is before it

JURISDICTION - Lack of  jurisdiction - Proper time to raise issue of by defendant

JURISDICTION - What determines

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Lack of  jurisdiction - Proper time to raise issue of  by defendant

Issues:

1.             Whether the learned trial Judge was right in law in holding that in the circumstances applicant’s prayer that the case be struck out on ground of want of jurisdiction is premature and it cannot therefore be granted at this stage.

2.             Whether the learned trial Judge adequately considered the affidavit and documentary evidence placed before it by the appellants and/or the parties and the oral submissions of counsel thereon before arriving at the conclusion that there is nothing to show that this court lacks jurisdiction.

Facts:

The respondent was the plaintiff before the Ankpe High Court of Kogi State where in suit AHC/18/2000, he claimed against the appellant as the defendant the sum of sixty thousand United States Dollars (US$60,000.00) or its current naira equivalent being debt owed the respondent arising from a contract of employment between the appellant as employer and the plaintiff as employee or servant.

The plaintiff filed his statement of claim on 10/8/2000. On 23/2/ 2001 , the defendant brought an application praying for amongst other reliefs that plaintiff’s suit be struck out for “being incompetent on ground of lack of jurisdiction.” There was filed in support of the application an 18 paragraph affidavit. The plaintiff filed a counter-affidavit on 2/2/01 and a further counter-affidavit on 8/3/01. The trial Judge after hearing arguments on defendant’s application held that the applicant’s prayer that the case be struck out on grounds of want of jurisdiction is premature and cannot be granted at that stage. He refused the application.

Defendant, dissatisfied with the ruling, appealed against it.