AJAOKUTA STEEL COMPANY LIMITED v GREENBAY INVESTMENT & SECURITIES LIMITED & ORS (2019)

AJAOKUTA STEEL COMPANY LIMITED v GREENBAY INVESTMENT & SECURITIES LIMITED & ORS

(2019) LCN/4619(SC)

In the Supreme Court of Nigeria

Friday, March 8, 2019


Case Number: SC.254/2018

 

JUSTICES:

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD

KUMAI BAYANG AKA’AHS

EJEMBI EKO

JOHN INYANG OKORO

SIDI DAUDA BAGE

 

APPELLANTS

AJAOKUTA STEEL COMPANY LTD

 

RESPONDENTS

1. GREENBAY INVESTMENT & SECURITIES LTD2. FEDERAL MINISTRY OF MINES & STEEL DEVELOPMENT3. CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA4. DEBT MANAGEMENT OFFICE

 

DUTY OF THE COURT WHEN ITS JURISDICTION IS CHALLENGED

“This is so because of the fundamental nature of jurisdiction in the adjudication process. Jurisdiction remains a central issue to any matter before any court. Once challenged, the Court is duty bound to determine whether it has jurisdiction first before proceeding to determine the case. It is long settled that judicial proceedings conducted by a Court that is lacking of the necessary jurisdiction, no matter how well same were otherwise conducted, would be ab initio null and void. See Okike V. L.P.D.C. (NO 2) (2005) 7 SC III 75 and Adesola V. Abidoye & Anor (1999) LPELR-153 (SC) and Madukolu V. Nkemdilim (1962) 1 SCNLR 341.”

 

 

DUTIES OF COURT WHEN THERE ARE INCOMPETENT GROUNDS OF APPEAL

“By the interpretation this Court placed on Section 233 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended in a plethora of its decisions it is long settled that the Court has no jurisdiction to entertain an appeal on ground(s) of fact or mixed law and fact unless leave has been obtained from either the Court of Appeal or the Court. Thus, if indeed the two grounds of the instant appeal are all grounds of fact or mixed law and fact and filed without the necessary leave of either of the two Courts having been sought and obtained, not only the incompetent ground(s) but the issue purportedly distilled from the incompetent ground(s) as well as the appeal sought to be argued on the basis of same, all being incompetent, must be struck out. See Faleye V. Otapo (1987) 4 NWLR (PT. 64) 186, CBN V. Okojie (2002) 8 NWLR (PT 768) 48 SC and Jimoh V. Akande (2009) 5 NWLR (PT 1135) 549”.

 

JUDGEMENT OF COURT

“It is an elementary principle of the determination of disputes between parties that judgment must be confined to the issues raised by the parties. The Court is not competent to suo motu make a case for either or both of the parties and proceed to give judgment on the case contrary to the case of the parties before it. See Benue State & Anor V. Devcon Development Consultants Ltd & Anor (1988) 3 NWLR (Pt 83) 407 And Akanbi Agbeje & Ors V. Chief Agba Akin Joshua Ajibola & Ors (2002) LPELR-237(Sc) And Mathew Okechukwu Enekwe V. International Merchant Bank Of Nigeria Plc (2006) LPELR-1140 (Sc). In Ikenta Best Nigeria Ltd V. Ag Rivers State (2008) 6 NWLR (Pt 1084) 612 At 642 this Court has held:- “A Court can only be accused of raising an issue, matter or fact suo motu, if the issue, matter or fact did not exist in the litigation. A Court cannot be accused of raising an issue, matter or fact suo motu if the issue, matter or fact exist in the litigation. A judge by the nature of this adjudicatory functions, can draw inferences to reverse side of page 41 from stated fact in a case and by such inference, the judge can arrive at conclusions. It will be wrong to say that inferences legitimately drawn from facts in the case are introduced suo motu.”

GROUNDS OF APPEAL

In Ressel L.Y. Dakolo & Ors Vs. Gregory Rewane-Dakolo & Ors (2011) LPELR-915(S) at 34-35 where the Court, on the requirements of the content of a ground of appeal, held per Adekeye JSC as follows: – “[A] ground of appeal should contain precise, clear, unequivocal and direct statement of the decision being attacked. A ground of appeal must give exact particular of the mistake, error or misdirection alleged as parties are bound by their grounds of appeal. Parties are therefore not at liberty to argue grounds which are not related to the judgment appealed against.”(Underlining supplied for emphasis). See also Lawal Abdullahi Buba Wassah & Ors V. Tukshahe & Ors (2014) LPELR-24212 (SC) and Atoyebi V. Govt Of Oyo State (1994) 5 NWLR (PT 344) 296 AT 305.

 

ABUSE OF COURT PROCESS – FEATURE AND EFFECT OF ABUSE OF COURT PROCESS

“The common feature of abuse of Court process is the improper use of judicial process by a party in litigation the most common one being multiplicity of actions on the same issues between the same parties and instituting different actions between the same parties in different Courts. Abuse of the process of the Court may also occur where two similar processes are deployed in the exercise of the same right as in the instant case. Abuse of the process of the Court, where it occurs, constitutes a fundamental defect the effect of which results in the dismissal of the abusive process. See Adesanoye V. Adewole (2000) 9 NWLR (PT 127) 671 and Umeh & Anor V. Iwu & Ors (2008) LPELR-3363 (SC).” –

 

COUNSELS

Oladipo Tolani with him, Kabir Momoh, P. O. Olusuyi and M. M. Baba for the Appellant/1st Cross Respondent.|O. I. Olorundare, SAN with him, E. G. Shaibu, A. Ogbontolu, Anaka lveren lyunana for the 1st Respondent/Cross Appellant.|A. B. Mustapha (Senior State Counsel Federal Ministry of Justice) for the 2nd Respondent/Cross Respondent.|T.A. Gazali (Chief State Counsel Federal Ministry of Justice) with him, Adedayo Ogundele (Senior State Counsel) and Musa Abdul (Senior State Counsel Federal Ministry of Justice) for the 4th Respondent.|The 3rd Respondent-though served was absent unrepresented for Respondent(s)|

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