- Yahaya v. Munchika
- ₦ 200
Yahaya v. Munchika
AIR VICE-MARSHAL MAHMOUD YAHAYA
MAJOR HASSAN T. MUNCHIKA
COURT OF APPEAL
( KADUNA DIVISION )
ISA AYO SALAMI, JCA ( Presided )
RABIU DANLAMI MUHAMMAD, JCA
MAHMUD MOHAMMED, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )
FRIDAY, 3RD MARCH, 2000
ACTION - Cause of action in libel - What constitutes
APPEAL - Omnibus ground in civil appeal - How couched
APPEAL - Raising of fresh points on appeal - How done
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Obstruction of the course of Justice - What amounts to in traffic offence case
DAMAGES - Award of in libel cases - Governing principles
DEFAMATION - Alleged defamatory words - How construed
DEFAMATION - Libel - Essential ingredients of
DEFAMATION - Libel - Publication of alleged libellous statement - How established
DEFAMATION - List of names defamatory material copied not specifically pleaded - Whether defamation proved by merely tending the document in evidence DEFAMATION - Plea of justification - Proof of
JUSTICE - Interference with course of justice by a highly placed citizen Unlawfulness and impropriety of
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Evidence - Need for claim bordering on declaration to be proved strictly by oral evidence
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Pleadings - Statement of Claim - Whether supersedes writ of summons
WORDS AND PHRASES - Publication - Meaning of
Having regard to the state of the appellant’s statement of claim and his evidence, whether the necessary ingredients of libel were established, thereby making the dismissal of the appellant’s suit by the lower court unjustifiable.
By his writ of summons and statement of claim filed in the Kaduna State High Court, the appellant, as the plaintiff, claimed against the respondent who was the defendant as follows:
“Damages against the defendant in the sum of N10,000,000.00 (Ten Million Naira) arising from a libel which the defendant falsely and maliciously wrote and published in a letter titled “PETITION FOR
REDRESS AGAINST AVM. YAHAYA MAHMOOD (RTD) AND SQN. LDR. AMEGO” to the Commissioner for Police, dated 31st of December, 1996 and copied to and concerning the plaintiff in the following manner, amongst others:
‘... from all indications they had put a full stop to the case since they retrieved their car which was barely damaged by the impact ...’
The AVM., who was not the driver of the vehicle, has used his position as a retired Senior Military Officer to see that his son does not face the law as required, and together with Sqn. Ldr. Amego, have violated all procedures of law as laid down in a civil case, of which this is one ...’ Page 5 of the petition.”
At the hearing of the case, the respondent never participated, he neither entered appearance nor filed any defence, and so, the case was decided on the unchallenged evidence of the appellant.
In his judgment delivered on 1/4/98, Abiriyi, J, after reviewing the evidence on record, came to the conclusion that the appellant did not prove his case against the appellant and, therefore, dismissed the claim.
Aggrieved, the plaintiff/appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal. In determining the appeal, the Court of Appeal considered the law relating to libel.