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James vs. I.G.P.

VALENTINE JAMES

AMAKA JAMES

V

THE INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE

THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, LAGOS STATE COMMAND

THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION

MR. G. N. OKAFOR (D.P.O. OKOTA POLICE STATION)

MR. SANI ZAKARI (DCO I OKOTA POLICE STATION)

MR. OKECHUKWU OKEYIKA

COURT OF APPEAL

( LAGOS DIVISION )

AYO ISA SALAMI JCA (Presided and Read the Lead Judgment)

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD JCA

MOHAMMED LAWAL GARBA JCA

CA/L/6/99

MONDAY, 18TH APRIL, 2005 

ACTION - Cause of action - Applicable law to

ACTION - Reliefs - Claims for damages/compensation and money had and received -  Distinction between

APPEAL - Issues for determination - Impropriety of raising issue not covered by relief sought

APPEAL - Issues for determination - Need to relate to grounds of appeal

APPEAL - Preliminary objection - Nature of objection envisaged by

Order 3, rule 15(1), Court of Appeal Rules, 2002

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Constitution (Modification and Suspension) Decree No. 107, 1993 - Supremacy of  over unsuspended part of 1979 Constitution

COURT - Provisions of a Decree - Duty of court to enforce

INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES - Principles of

INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES - Statutes taking away vested rights -  How construed

JUDICIAL PRECEDENT - Rule in Smith vs. Selwyn (1914) 3 KB 98 Purport of and applicability of to the Nigerian system of adjudication

LEGISLATION - Expropriatory legislation - How determined

MAXIM - ‘Ubi jus ibi remedium’ - Effect of

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Preliminary objection - Nature of objection envisaged by Order 3, rule 15(1), Court of Appeal Rules, 2002

STATUTE - Constitution (Modification and Suspension) Decree No. 107, 1993 - Supremacy of  over unsuspended part of 1979 Constitution

STATUTE - Court of Appeal Rules, 2002, Order 3, rule 15(1) - Nature of preliminary objection envisaged thereunder

STATUTE - Court of Appeal Rules, 2002, Order 1, rule 19(1) - Purport of

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Damages/compensation’ and ‘money had and received’ - Distinction between

Issues:

1.              Whether having found as a fact that the respondents infringed upon the fundamental rights of the appellants, the learned trial Judge was correct in her decision that the appellants are not entitled to damages and or compensation in the circumstances of this case.

2.              Whether the learned trial Judge was right in declining jurisdiction to grant the reliefs sought in paragraphs 4 and 5 of the claim on the ground inter alia that a criminal trial connected therewith was pending before a court of competent jurisdiction.

Facts:

The 4th and 5th respondents at the instance of the 6th respondent searched the home of the appellants and forcefully caused the 1st appellant to part with N29,000 (twenty-nine thousand naira) at home and a further sum of N290,000 (two hundred and ninety thousand naira) which he was forcefully taken to the bank to withdraw. On realising their error, the 1st to 5 th respondents sought an out of court settlement of the matter and asked the 6th respondent to refund the money collected from the appellant, which the 6th respondent failed to do. The 6th respondent was therefore charged with various offences including theft and giving of false information to the police before the Magistrate’s Court.

The appellants in the High Court brought an action pursuant to the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 1979 for the enforcement of their fundamental rights, as guaranteed under sections 31, 32 , 33 and 40 of the 1979 Constitution and sought consequential reliefs in the nature of declarations, injunction and damages for unlawful and unconstitutional arrest and detention of applicant/appellant’s car and damages for loss of use of applicant/appellant’s commercial vehicles.

After joining issues with appellants in their respective counteraffidavits, counsel addressed the court on the application and the court held that the respondents had infringed upon the appellants’ fundamental rights, but the appellants were not entitled to compensation or award of damages in view of the revocation of section 32 of the 1979 Constitution.

Dissatisfied, the appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.