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Jim-Jaja v. C.O.P., Rivers State

GABRIEL JIM-JAJA

V

  1. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, RIVERS STATE
  2. INSPECTOR ALARI (SIIB)
  3. NELSON DOUGLAS

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

MAHMUD MOHAMMED JSC ( Presided )

MUHAMMAD SAIFULLAH MUNTAKA-COOMASSIE JSC

NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD JSC

CLARA BATA OGUNBIYI JSC

SC. 97/2010

FRIDAY, 7 DECEMBER 2012

APPEAL - Ground of appeal - Competence of - Condition precedent to Whether of law, fact or mixed law and fact - Determination of Guiding principles therefor

DAMAGES - Fundamental rights - Matters on breach of - High Court -  Jurisdiction of to deal with - Personal liberty - Constitutionality of right to - Where injury is established - Duty on court to award damages - Common law Principles on award of damages Inapplicability of thereto - Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, sections 35(1) and 46(2) considered

EVIDENCE - Unchallenged credible evidence - Court - Onus on to rely on

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS - Breach of - Matters related to - High Court

  • Jurisdiction of to deal with - Personal liberty - Right to Constitutionality of  - Action for - Party in - What must establish -  Where injury is established - Damages - Court - Duty on to establish - Common law principles on award of damages Inapplicability of thereto - Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, sections 35(1) and 46(2) Considered

JURISDICTION - Fundamental rights - Matters on breach of - High Court - Jurisdiction of to deal with - Personal liberty Constitutionality of right to - Where injury is established - Duty on court to award damages - Common Law Principles on award of damages - Inapplicability of thereto - Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, sections 35(1) and 46(2) considered

STATUTE - Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 , sections 35(1) and 46(2) - Fundamental rights  Breach of Matters related to - High Court - Jurisdiction of to deal with Personal liberty - Right to - Constitutionality of - Action in Party in - What must establish - Injury - Where established Damages - Court - Duty on to award - Common law principles on award of damages - Inapplicability of thereto

Issue:

Whether the Court of Appeal was right to hold that the appellant as applicant did not seek or ask for damages from the available evidence.

Facts:

The applicant was alleged to have borrowed the sum of N1.4million from the 3rd respondent, a registered money-lender and the loan was secured with a certificate of occupancy of a property at No 18, Egede Street, Mile 1 , Diobu, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. When the applicant failed to repay the loan, the 3rd respondent in his attempt to convert the security into cash, claimed that the certificate of occupancy was forged. He then wrote a petition to the police as a result of which the applicant was arrested but was released on bail by the 1st and 2nd respondents on the undertaking to repay the loan. He was subsequently re-arrested and released at the instance of the 3rd respondent. He therefore obtained leave of the High Court of Rivers State to enforce his fundamental rights. The trial court dismissed his claims and aggrieved, he appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal held that his right was violated but that he was not entitled to damages on grounds that it was not sought for. Yet aggrieved, he appealed to the Supreme Court. The 3rd respondent filed a preliminary objection to the appeal.

In determination of the appeal, the Supreme Court considered the following statutes;

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, section 46(2): “...hear and determine any application made to it in pursuance of the provision of this section and may make such order, issue such writs and give such directions as it may consider appropriate for the purpose of enforcing or securing the enforcement within that State of any right to which the person who makes the application may be entitled under this chapter.

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, section 35(6): “Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained shall be entitled to compensation and public apology from the appropriate authority or person...”