TUNJI GOMEZ V. CHERUBIM AND SERAPHIM SOCIETY-2009

TUNJI GOMEZ V. CHERUBIM AND SERAPHIM SOCIETY

(2009) LCN/3691(SC)

In the Supreme Court of Nigeria

Friday, May 8, 2009


Case Number: SC.67/2005

 

JUSTICES:

NIKI TOBI , JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT

GEORGE ADESOLA OGUNTADE (Lead Judgment), JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT

MAHMUD MOHAMMED, JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT

IKECHI FRANCIS OGBUAGU, JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT

JAMES OGENYI OGEBE, JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT

 

APPELLANTS

1. TUNJI GOMEZ

2. SUPERINTENDENT-GEN. H. OLA HANNU-MOIET)

AND

RESPONDENTS

1. CHERUBIM AND SERAPHIM SOCIETY

2. BOLA ADEWUJA

3. TITLOLA OJIKUTU OSHODE

4. TRUSTEES OF THE CHERUBIM AND SERAPHIM SOCIETY

5. REMI BECKLEY

 

RATIO

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FINAL JUDGMENT AND AN ORDER

“The general principle therefore established in the decided cases is that where the decision does not finally determine the issue or issues between the parties or does not at once affect the status of the parties for whichever side the decision is given, it is interlocutory. In other words a decision between the parties can only be regarded as a final decision when the determination of the Court disposes of rights of the parties in the case. To put it differently, where only an issue is the subject matter of an order or appeal, the determination of that Court which is a final decision on the issue in question or issues before it, which does not finally determine the rights of the parties, is in my view, interlocutory decision.” Per M.Muhammed,J.S.C.

 

G. A. OGUNTADE, JSC (Lead Judgment): The applicants in this application are also the respondents in an appeal brought before this Court by the respondents. Before the Federal High Court Lagos in suit No. FHC/4/CS/651/97 the applicants were the plaintiffs. They had brought their suit to challenge the enthronement of two persons who were in succession proposed to be the head of the Cherubim and Seraphim Society, that is, the 1st respondent in this application. The case was allowed to stagnate, and the present applicants believing that the respondents might do the act which they had sought to restrain by their suit filed in succession three applications praying for interlocutory injunction. These applications were not heard. However on 10-6-2000, at a time when the suit and the applications filed by the applicants were still pending, the respondents ordained and installed the 2nd respondent in this application as the head of the 1st respondent church. In reaction, the applicants brought yet another application on 21-06-2000 praying for an order that the ordination of the 2nd defendant/respondent as the spiritual head of the 1st defendant/respondent be set aside. In reaction the defendant’s respondents brought an application that the said application filed by the plaintiffs be struck out. The trial court partially acceded to the request of the defendants/respondents. The applications filed by  PAGE| 10 the plaintiffs/respondents were struck out. The 1st plaintiff/respondent was dissatisfied with the ruling of the trial court. He brought an appeal before the court below. The court below in its judgment allowed the appeal and concluded its judgment in these words:        “When it is realized that the main aim of an application for interim injunction is to protect the plaintiff against injury by violation of his right for which he could not be compensated in damages then an application praying for an order of court to restrain any ordination of a Supreme Head before cannot but be regarded as proper and not an abuse of court process. If regarded otherwise, the substra-tum of any case would have been destroyed before trial. It is for this reason that I am of the firm view that issue No. 2 must be answered in the negative and I so answer it. The result is that this appeal is in my view, very meritorious. It is allowed. The ruling of the court below delivered on 7th December, 2000 is hereby set aside. In its place having reviewed the printed evidence I am clear in my mind that the 2nd defendant/respondent be restrained and he is hereby restrained from parading himself or acting in anyway as the spiritual head of the 1st defendant/respondent until the afore-mentioned motions struck-out which are hereby re-listed are heard.”   It is worth mentioning here that the plaintiffs/applicants suit wherein they contested the right of the defendants/respondents to choose a spiritual head for the 1st respondent has not been heard. What the court below decided in the appeal before it was the issue whether or not it was proper for the trial court to strike out the applications by the plaintiffs/applicants seeking to restrain the respondents from filling the position of the spiritual head of the 1st respondent while the suit remained to be determined. In the discussion of the issues in this application, it ought therefore to be borne in mind that the cause of the dispute between the parties has not been pronounced upon. The effect of the judgment of the court below was to protect the Res in dispute. The respondents in this application are the appellants in the appeal before the Court, which appeal is for getting a reversal of the judgment of the court below given in an interlocutory appeal to it. The  PAGE| 11 applicants/respondents who were the plaintiffs in the trial court by their present application wish that the said appeal be struck out. The grounds relied upon for bringing the application read:   “(a) Wherein section 27(2)(a) of the Supreme Court Act Cap.815 Laws of the Federation 2004 provides thus:         ‘The periods prescribed for the giving of notice of appeal or notice of application for leave to appeal are:   (a) In an appeal in a civil case, fourteen days in an appeal against an interlocutory decision and three months in an appeal against a final decision.’   (b) This being an appeal against an interlocutory order of the Court of Appeal made on the 29th day of April, 2003, the Notice thereof ought to have been filed within Fourteen Days of the order.”   Now, the judgment of the court below appealed against before this court was given on 29-04-03. The appeal was filed on 11-07-03. If the appeal of the respondents/appellants was from an interlocutory decision of the court below, it ought to have been brought within 14 days of the judgment of the court below. But this appeal was brought after 14 days on the basis that the judgment of the court below was a final order.   The simple issue to be decided on this application is whether the judgment of the court below was final or interlocutory having regard to section 27(2)(a) of the Supreme Court Act, Cap 515, Laws of the Federation, 2004.   PAGE| 12 The applicants’ counsel, Mr. A. O. Okeaya-Ineh SAN argued that his objection was premised on the decision of this Court in Owoh & Ors v. Chief Kingston U. Asuk & Anor. [2008) 4-5 S. C. (Pt. 1) page 155. He urged us to strike out the appeal as incompetent. Dr O.F Ayeni, of counsel for the respondent referred us to Akinsanya v. UBA [1986] 4NWLR (Pt. 35) 275; Iwueke v. Imo Broadcasting Corporation [2005] 17 NWLR (Part 955) 447 at 468-469 and Western Steel Works Ltd. & Anor. V. Iron and Steel Workers of Nigeria [1986] 3 NWLR (Pt.30) 617 and urged us to dismiss the application.   The question whether an order appealed against is a final or interlocutory for the purpose of determining the period of time within which an appeal against it is to be brought as provided under Section 27(2)(a) of the Supreme Court Act Cap. 515 Laws of he Federation 2004 is always a difficult one. It has in the process of time attracted conflicting decisions. In Owoh & Ors. v. Asuk & Anor. (supra) on which the applicant’s counsel relied, the facts were these:   The appellants were the plaintiffs in an action they instituted at the High Court of Rivers State. They had sought some declaratory and injunctive reliefs in respect of a Chieftaincy dispute. The appellants in the course of the hearing of the case indicated that they were no longer pursuing their claim as parties had agreed on terms of settlement. Counsel for the parties filed the terms of settlement. The learned trial judge refused to make the terms of settlement the judgment of the court as the same was signed not by the parties themselves but by their counsel. He ended by striking out the suit. The defendants were dissatisfied with the order. They brought an appeal against it before the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and entered judgment in accordance with the terms of settlement filed by the parties. The plaintiffs were dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal and they brought an appeal before this Court. They raised as their first issue the question whether or not the appeal to the Court of Appeal was timely brought since as contended by them, it was an interlocutory appeal and not a final appeal. PAGE| 13   This Court in the lead judgment per Mohammed JSC reasoned that since the order of the trial court had not made a final pronouncement on the rights of parties in accordance with the claims brought before the court by the plaintiffs, the order striking out the appeal was interlocutory order and that an appeal against it should have been brought within 14 days. On this basis this Court allowed the appeal and came to the conclusion that the judgment of the Court of Appeal was given without jurisdiction. This Court at pages 167-169 reasoned thus-        “Therefore, the interpretation given to the words ‘interlocutory’ or ‘final’ in several decisions of this court is that if the order, decision or judgment of a court finally and completely determines the rights of the parties in the case, it is a final decision. However, where the order, decision or judgment of a court does not finally and completely determine the respective rights of the parties submitted for determination by the court in the case, it is an interlocutory decision only. These cases have also generally decided that in order to determine whether the decision is final or interlocutory, the decision must relate to the subject matter in dispute between the parties and not the function of the court making the order or decision. In other words, the determining factor is not whether the court has finally determined an issue but it is whether or not it has finally determined the rights of the parties in the claim before the court. See Oguntimehin v. Omotoye [1957] 2 FSC 56; Afuwape v. Shodipe [1957] SCNLR 265; Ude v. Agu [1961] 1 All NLR 65, Ebet v. Kassim [1966] NMLR 123; Omonuwa v. Oshodin [1985] 2 NWLR (Pt. 10) 924; Akinsanya v. U.S.A. Ltd. [1986] 4 NWLR (Pt. 35) 273; Ifediora v. Ume [1988] 2 NWLR (Pt 74) 5 and Igunbor v. Afolabi [2001] 5 S.C. (Pt. 1) 105; [2001] 11 NWLR (Pt. 723) (2001) 6 SCM, 77, 148 at 165, where Karibi-Whyte, stated the position of the law in this respect as follows:-  ‘A final order or judgment at law is one which brings to an end the rights of the parties in the action. It disposes of the subject matter of the controversy or deter-mines the litigation as to all parties on the merits. On the other hand, an interlocutory order or judgment is one given in the process of the action or cause, which is only interme-diate and does not finally determine the rights of the parties in the action. It is an order which determines some preliminary or subordinate issue or settles some step or question but does not adjudicate the ultimate rights of the parties in the action. However, where the order made finally determines the rights of the parties, as to the particular issues disputed, it is a final order even if arising from an interlocutory application. For instance, an order of committal for contempt arising in the course of proceedings in an action is a final order — see Toun Adeyemi v. Theophilus Awobokun (1968) 2 All NLR 318.’        Returning to the present case where the dispute between the parties that was before the trial court for determination involves chieftaincy surrounding the appointment, installation and coronation of the 1st defendant as Okan-Ama Paramount Ruler of Asarama Community of Andoni in Rivers State whose appointment was being challenged by the plaintiffs/appellants on the ground that he was not qualified to fill the vacant stool, while the defendants/respondents were asserting that the 1st defendant/respondent was qualified for the appointment, the question of whether the decision of the trial court striking out the case was final or interlocutory needs very close examination of the facts giving rise to that decision. It is not in dispute that pleadings had been duly filed and exchanged between the parties and the plaintiffs/appellants’ case had been fixed for hearing before the issue of settlement of the matter out of court cropped up. Although the terms of settlement drawn upon and signed by the learned counsel to the parties was duly filed on behalf of the parties for adoption by the trial court as the judgment of the court as agreed by the parties, the learned trial Judge who was not satisfied with the said terms of settlement which was not executed by the parties involved in the dispute but by their learned counsel, rejected the document and proceeded to accede to the earlier application  PAGE| 15 of the learned counsel to the plaintiffs/appellants to withdraw the case as instructed by his clients and accordingly struck-out the action. Relevant part of this ruling has been earlier quoted in full in this judgment. The ruling of the trial court delivered on 3rd April, 1996, refusing to adopt the terms of settlement as judgment of the trial court and merely striking out the action filed by the appellants against the respondents, did not touch anything on the subject matter of controversy in the chieftaincy dispute between the parties not to talk of any determination of the respective rights of the parties in the action before the trial court finally and on the merit.        Striking out of the plaintiffs/appellants’ action certainly does not finally determine the respective rights of the parties in the action, nor does it adjudicate ultimate rights of the parties in the dispute placed before the trial court for determination. In this situation, where the claims or rights of the parties have not been examined or looked into by the trial court and appropriate findings made thereon resulting in a determination, these claims or rights effectively remain pending and can be revived by any of the parties in any other court of concurrent jurisdiction or even the same court that handed down the striking out order for relisting under the appropriate Rules of the trial court on such terms as may be granted on application.”   Although the cases referred to by this Court in arriving at its decision included Akinsanya v. U.B.A. Ltd. (supra) where the decision in Omonuwa v. Oshodin (supra) was fully discussed, the final conclusion of this Court would appear to be slightly in disharmony with the reasoning in Akinsanya v. U.B.A. (supra).   The test laid down in Bozson v. Allrincham Urban District Council [1903] l.K. B 547 at 548-549 by Lord Alverstone C.J. is that which was put thus:   PAGE| 16      “It seems to me that the real test for determining this question ought to be this: Does the judgment or order as made, finally dispose of the rights of the parties? If it does, then I think it ought to be treated as a final Order, but if it does not, it is then, in my opinion, an interlocutory order.”   Contrasting with the test above is that laid down by Court of Appeal in England in Salamans v. Warner [1891] 1Q.B. 734 & 736 where Fry L.J. said:        “I think that the true definition is this. I conceive that an order is ‘final’ only where it is made upon an application or other proceeding which must, whether such application or other proceeding fail or succeed, determine the action. Conversely, I think that an order is ‘interlocutory’ where it cannot be affirmed that in either event, the action will be determined.”   In Ude & Ors. v, Agu & Ors. [1961] All N.L.R. 66, this Court per Brett F.J. discussing the nature of the difference between the approaches in Blay v. Solomon (supra) and Salaman v. Warner (supra) observed:        “The other as stated in Salaman v. Warner [1891] 1 Q.B. 734 is that an order is an interlocutory order unless it is made on an application of such a character that whatever order had been made thereon must have finally have disposed of the matter in dispute. Thus one test looks at the nature of the proceedings; the other (which is generally preferred) looks at the order made.”          In Blay v. Solomon (1947) 12 W.A.C.A 175, the West African Court Of Appeal followed the test which looks at the order made and in my view it is clearly the proper test for this court to adopt particularly having regard to thefact that there is a constitutional  PAGE| 17 right of appeal against a final decision of a High Court sitting at first instance whereas an appeal against an interlocutory decision is now left to be conferred by legislation…………”   (the underlining mine)   It is to be emphasized here that the test to be used in determining whether an order is final or interlocutory varies depending on the order of which court – the court of trial or an appellate court is being considered. Obviously in the High Court, orders made on applications for extension of time to file processes, applications to serve by substitution, applications for account, etc. are interlocutory in nature and I do not think there is room for difficulty as to their true characterization. This is because whatever orders are made on such application, the particular substantive suit still remains pending before the trial court. However, some applications which on a first look appear interlocutory in nature may turn out to be one upon which final orders are pronounced. Under the test applicable in Nigeria i.e. the Bozson test, if an application is made that a suit be struck out on the ground that plaintiff has failed to take a procedural step, and if the court grants the application and strikes out the proceedings, the order made is final, notwithstanding that it is made on an interlocutory application. On the other hand if the application is refused, the order as made becomes interlocutory. Under the Salaman v. Warner test, the order is to be classified in either case as interlocutory because it was made upon an interlocutory application.   InAkinsanya v. U.B.A. Ltd. [1986J4 NWLR (Pt. 35) 273 at pages 295-296 this Court per Eso JSC brilliantly discussed the applicability of the two tests in these words:        “In the English case (supra) Lord Denning’s application of the Salaman test made a difference to the case. If the Bozson test had been applied, the order appealed from, that is, refusing a new trial would have been final and not interlocutory as the Salaman Test, when  PAGE| 18 applied, made it. But that is England. And this is the type of problem that would arise if the two tests are kept afloat in this country I can appreciate learned counsel Chief Williams’ concern therefore for asking the Courts in this country to keep to one test only — and that is the one suggested in Bozson v. Allrincham, for as this court said in Omonuwa v. Oshodin (supra), despite the elusive impression of decided cases, the ideal is to provide a workable test for the determination of the issue when it arises. And a workable test, to my mind, ought to be certain. I think, to leave it fluid, as it is done in England, would provoke decisions like that of Lord Denning M.R. in Salter Rex & Co. v. Ghosh (supra) or Technistudy Ltd. v.; Killand (1976) 3 AH E.r. 632 when in the latter the Master of the Rolls suggested ‘rumaging’ through the Practice Books to see what has been done in the past! And I am of the opinion, with respect to the learned Master of the Rolls in England that such attitude would make an already difficult problem only the more compounded. For indeed, this is what it does in England.        In Becker v. Marvin City Corpn. PC (1977) A.C. 271 a Privy Council appeal from Australia, Lord Edmund Davies, delivering the decision of the Board, noted the frequent difficulty given (sic) rise to by the situation of enquirying whether a decision is final or interlocutory. In Hunt v. Allied Bakeries Ltd. (1956) 1 W.L.R. 1326 Lord Evershed M.R. had to adjourn, make enquiries as to the practice of the court and also consult the other divisions of the Court of Appeal before deciding whether an order was final or interlocutory. In re Page (1910) 1 Ch. 489 Buckley L. J. felt some difficulty especially as the order in the case would put an end to the matter and logically, per adventure, that would have been final. He said –   ‘To my mind, it would be reasonable to say that this is a final order’   But then, he continued –   PAGE| 19 ‘I am not prepared to differ from the view taken by the other members of the Court. I yield my judgment to them without saying that I am completely satisfied……’        Such is the difficulty. Such is the uncertainty! There is no doubt that I see nothing obnoxious in the Salaman v. Warner test, as a test; but I think it is. more, practicable and more certain to keep to just one test — the Bozson v. Altrincham test which has been preferred in this country for so long.        Very recently, this court, in Western Steel Works Ltd. andAnor. V. Iron & Steel Workers Union (1986) 3 NWLR 17 at p. 625 Obaseki, J.S.C., tended to agree with the observation of Lord Denning M.R. as stated above in the two cases. I have referred to, when the learned Master of the Rolls said it was impossible to lay down any principles about what is final and what is interlocutory. Obaseki J.S.C went on and said-’           ‘Whenever the question of jurisdiction of any court is raised, it is a question that touches the competence of the court that is raised. It does not raise any issue touching the rights of the parties in the subject matter of the litigation or dispute.’        It is to be observed, with all respect, that, once the nature of the Order test is accepted, the order is final if, in the words of Brett M.R., in ex Parte Moore, in re Faithful (supra) the court orders something to be done according to the answer to the enquiries, without any further reference to itself.’        In other words, if the court of first instance orders that a mater before it be terminated (struck out) for it has no jurisdiction to determine the issue before it, that is the  end of all the issues arising in the cause or matter and there is no longer, any issue between the parties in that cause or matter that remains for determination in that court. But it would be interlocutory if its order is that it has jurisdiction for there will be reference of the remaining issues in the case to itself. When a Court of Appeal rules and orders that a court of first instance had no jurisdiction in a cause which has been brought before it that is the end of the matter in so far as that particular litigation goes between the parties in that Court of Appeal. There is no further reference to the Court which has made the order in either case. And that has determined the rights of the parties in both cases before the court making the order. And applying that test to the instant case, if the order made by the majority of the Court of appeal had been made by the trial court itself that that trial court had no jurisdiction that is final. And according to the nature of that order, there is no further reference to that court of trial. If the order had been by the trial court that it had juris-diction, that is interlocutory according to the nature of the order made as there are issues still to be determined. The result will not be the same if the nature of the proceedings or application test is followed.”    In the light of what has been said above it seems to me that the order as made in this case by the court below is made in this case is primarily an interlocutory order. The trial court had ordered that the plaintiff/applicants’ three applications be struck out. But on appeal the court below in its judgment set aside the order striking out the plaintiffs/applicants’ application and granted an interlocutory injunction. With that order, the court below sent the dispute brought before it back to the High Court for further hearing. It did not determine the suit finally. In the same manner, the order made by the trial High Court striking out the plaintiffs/applicants three applications was an interlocutory order because notwithstanding that order, the trial High Court still had before it to decide the plaintiffs/applicants’ substantive suit. See Omonuwa v. Oshodin [1985] 2 NWLR (Pt. 10) 924.   PAGE| 21 The facts in Omonuwa v. Oshodin (supra) are in some ways similar to those in the present appeal. The appeal in that case to the Court of Appeal was upon an interlocutory order. This Court per Karibi-Whyte J.S.C. at page 938-939 of the judgment said:        “All the cases cited agree on the proposition that a decision between the parties can only be regarded as final when the determination of the Court disposes of the rights of the parties, (and not merely an issue) in the case. Where only an issue is the subject matter of an order or appeal the determination of that Court which is final decision on the issue or issues before it, which does not finally determine the rights of the parties, is in my respectful opinion interlocutory. The issue before the Court of Appeal in this appeal arose from an interlocu-tory matter and does not lose that character because it is an appeal. The inconvenience and anomaly in the result of the nature of the order test is that an otherwise interlocutory application ends up as a final decision of the Court of Appeal. If this is accepted the anomalous effect of an appeal on such a ‘decision’ is to enlarge the right of appeal of the appellant from the High Court to the Court of Appeal and to this Court. This is despite the fact that the rights of the parties have still not been finally determined as was in the Automatic Telephone & Electric £o. Ltd. V. F.M.G. (1968) 1 All NLR. and Adegbenro v. Akintola & Aderemi (1962) 1 All NLR. 442 at p. 474. In the Automatic Telephone & Electric Co. Ltd. case was a reference to the High Court from an arbitration. Though the High Court disposed of the issue on reference before it, it did not finally determine the rights of the parties in the arbitration; Similarly, the questions on the interpretation of the constitution to be answered in the Federal Supreme Court in the Adegbenro case. The view that a judgment of the Court on an interlo-cutory matter on appeal before it is final as was held is clearly inconsistent with the principles enunciated in all the decided cases cited in the judgment and with common-sense and experience. As I have said, the test applied in these cases relate to the function of the court in disposing a matter before it, it was not concerned with the determination of the rights of the parties. PAGE| 22        Applying the principles enunciated in both tests, i.e. the nature of the application, and the nature of the order, to this appeal, it is inescapable that the judgment of the Court of Appeal, appealed against is an appeal on an interlocutory ruling before the High Court. It is also incontest-able that the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which remitted the case for trial in the High Court did not finally determine the issues litigated by the parties in the High Court. See Isaacs & Sons v. Salbstein & Anor. (1916) 2KB. 139, 146. In my opinion, an interlocutory order on appeal ranks as an interlocutory appeal. The judgment of the Appeal Court is a judgment on an interlocutory appeal. It can only assume the character of a final judgment when it finally determines the rights of the parties. To determine finally an issue before the court which does not finally determine the rights of the parties , does not rank as determining the rights of the parties in the case and in my opinion is not a final judgment inter parties. In my opinion, the ideal approach is to consider both the nature of the application, and the nature of the order made in determining whether an order or judgment is interlocutory or final in respect of the issues before it as between the parties to the litigation. Thus where the nature of the application does not aim at finally deter-mining the claim or claims in dispute between the parties, but only deals with an issue, both the application and the order or judgment must be interlocutory. See Isaacs & Sons v. Salbstein & anor. (supra) at p. 146. Alaye ofEffon v. Fasan (1958) 3 FSC. 68. However, where an application has the effect by the order therefore of finally determining the claim before the court, the order may properly be regarded as final. -See Afuwape & ors. v. Shodipe (1957) 2 FSC. 62 atp.68. This proposition is clearly consistent with the principles as accords with common sense and the practice of the Courts. The order appealed against in the case before us does not purport and has not finally settled the rights of the parties in the claim before the Court, and is therefore an interlocutory order. The determining factor  PAGE| 23 whether an order or judgment is interlocutory or final is not whether court has finally determine the claim before the court.   I must conclude therefore that the appeal before this Court is interlocutory in nature and the defendants/respondents should have brought it within 14 days. Not having done so, the appeal in my view is incompetent. It is accordingly struck out. I award N3 0,000.00 costs in favour of the plaintiffs/applicants against the defendants/respondents.   NIKI TOBI, JSC: I have read in draft the Ruling of my learned brother, Oguntade, JSC and I agree with him that the appeal filed on 11th July, 2003 is incompetent and should be struck out.   By a motion filed on 7th January, 2009, the plaintiffs as applicants asked for an “Order striking out the Appellants’ Appeal filed on 11th day of July, 2003 being an interlocutory matter. The motion was based on section 27 (2) (a) of the Supreme Court Act. Cap 15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. The subsection provides as follows:        “The period prescribed for the giving of notice of appeal or notice of application for leave to appeal are: in an appeal in a civil case; fourteen days in an appeal against an interlocutory decision and three months in an appeal against a final decision.”   It is the argument of counsel for the applicants that the order made by the Court of Appeal on 29th April, 2003 is an interlocutory order in which appeal lies within fourteen days. On the contrary, it is the argument of the counsel for the appellants that the order is a final order and appeal lies within a period of three months.   PAGE| 24 My learned brother has adequately examined the case law and so I do not intend to repeat the exercise, I also agree with him that “the test to be used in determining whether an order is final or interlocutory varies depending on the order of which court – the court of trial or an appellate court is being considered.   The two expressions of significance and magnitude here are “final” and “interlocutory.” The word “final” in its ordinary signification means last, that which absolutely ends or concludes a matter. The word “interlocutory” in law means not that which decides the cause, but that which only settles some intervening matter relating to the cause. It also means in the meantime or for now. The word also connotes provisional, interim, temporary, and not final.

COUNSELS

A. O. Okeaya-lnneh SAN, (Mr. Ukuwelah Oghie, with him) for the Respondents/Applicants. Dr. O.F. Ayeni (Mr. O Fadare with him) for Appellants/Respondents

 

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