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  • Pam v. Gwom
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  • 2000-06-07
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Pam v. Gwom

DANG PAM

Vs

SALE DANG GWOM

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

SC.17/98

ABUBAKAR BASHIR WALI, JSC ( Presided and Read the leading judgment )

EMMANUEL OBIOMA OGWUEGBU, JSC

OKAY ACHIKE, JSC

UMARU ATU KALGO, JSC

EMMANUEL OLAYINKA AYOOLA, JSC

FRIDAY, 14TH  JANUARY, 2000

APPEAL:- Court of Appeal - Appeal from Customary court of Appeal of a state             when appeal lies - Section 224(1), Constitution, 1979.

APPEAL: - Court of  Appeal – Appellate jurisdiction thereof on a decision on appeal from the Customary Court of Appeal of a State – Scope of whether extended by National Assembly.

APPEAL: - Court of Appeal – Jurisdiction thereof on appeal from decision of Customary Court of Appeal of a state – Constitutional limits of.

APPEAL: - Customary Court of Appeal of a state to Court of Appeal – Right of Appeal – Exercise of – Ground of Appeal raising a question of Customary law – Competency and validity of such appeal.

APPEAL: - Right of appeal from Customary Court of Appeal of a state to Court of Appeal – when exercisable.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: - Customary Court of Appeal of a state – Appellate and supervisory jurisdiction of confined to questions of  Customary law – Section 247(1) of the Constitution, 1979.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: - Court of Appeal - when appeal lies from Customary Court of Appeal of a state – Circumstances when appeal lie circumscribed – Section 224(1) of the Constitution, 1979.

COURT:- Customary Court – Appeal therefrom to Customary Court of Appeal                 of a State - Appeal therefrom to Court of Appeal - Further and final                 appeal to Supreme Court.

COURT:- Customary Court - Decision of  - When in respect of question of

                Customary law

CUSTOMARY LAW: - Definition of

CUSTOMARY LAW: - Decision of Customary Court – When in respect of question of Customary law – When not in respect of question of Customary Law – Explanation of stated circumstances.

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS: - Decision – When in respect of question of Customary Law.

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS: - Decision – When not in respect of question of Customary Law.

JURISDICTION: -Court of Appeal– Appellate jurisdiction thereof on a decision on appeal from the Customary Court of Appeal of a state – Whether not extended by National Assembly.

JURISDICTION: - Court of Appeal  - Jurisdiction thereof on appeal from decision of Customary Court of Appeal of a state – Scope, nature, and extent of circumscribed by Constitution.

WORDS AND PHRASES: -‘Customary Law’ – Meaning of .

ISSUE:

Whether the appellant’s grounds of appeal  from  the  state  Customary Court of Appeal to the Court of Appeal relate to questions of Customary law as to render the appeal valid and competent under S.224(1)of the 1979 constitution.

FACTS:

The  Appellant  (as Plaintiff)  filed  an  action  against  the  Respondent ( as defendant) before the Grade 1 Area Court, Foron-fan, Heipang sitting at Foron, Plateau State. In the action, the appellant claimed against the Respondent recovery of a farm land in Kamangu. After taking the evidence of the parties and having conducted a visit to the locus in quo, the Area Court entered judgment in favour of the appellant. Dissatisfied with the judgment, the Respondent filed an appeal at the Customary Court of Appeal, Jos. After reviewing the evidence of the trial Court, the Customary Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Respondent and set aside the judgment.

Aggrieved, the Appellant appealed to the  Court  of  Appeal, Jos  and in support, filed six grounds of appeal. The Court of Appeal in a considered judgment found that the six grounds of appeal were  invalid in that none of the said grounds raised any question of Customary law as required under s.224 of the 1979  Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The six grounds of appeal having been found by the Court of appeal to be invalid, the appeal was then held to be incompetent  and accordingly struck out. Dissatisfied with the Court of Appeal’s decision, the appellant further appealed to the Supreme Court where it was contended,  inter-alia, that ground 4 of the grounds of appeal raised a question of customary law and, therefore, valid to render his appeal competent.

In determining the appeal, the Supreme Court considered  the provision of S.224(1) of the 1979 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides:

“S.224(1)  An Appeal shall lie from decisions of the Customary Court of Appeal of a State to the Court of Appeal as of right in any civil proceedings before the Customary Court of Appeal with respect to any question of Customary law and such other matter as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.”