OGBORU & ANOR v. UDUAGHAN & ORS (2014)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Monday, the 26th day of May, 2014

SC.18/2012(R2)

Before Their Lordships

WALTER SAMUEL NKANU ONNOGHEN Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

BODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

CLARA BATA OGUNBIYI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

CHIEF GREAT OVEDJE OGBORU & ANOR –Appellant

AND

EMMANUEL E. UDUAGHAN & ORS –Respondent

…………………….A…………………….

WALTER SAMUEL NKANU ONNOGHEN, J.S.C. (Delivering The Lead Ruling): From the facts revealed in this case, this is about the third time the applicant is approaching this court for an order setting aside the decision of this court on the 2nd day of March, 2012.

Secondly, applicant is contending that the provision of section 285(1) of the land constitution as amended was not validly enacted and as such the court ought not to have applied same on striking out the consolidated appeals.
It is very clear that this court has no jurisdiction to set aside the earlier ruling delivered by the court being the final court of the land.

If the provisions of section 285(7) of the land constitution is not validly made or unconstitutional, this court has no original jurisdiction to entertain an action in that respect.

Applicant is therefore advised to approach the High Court for a declaration to that effect; as far as the matter is concerned, subject of this application, the matter had been fully laid to rest in our earlier decision on the matter.

In conclusion, the application is a gross abuse of the process of this court and is consequently dismissed with costs of N2,000,000 against applicant and in favour of each set of the respondents payable by Dr. Dickson D. I. Osuala personally.
Motion filed on 21/8/2013 is hereby dismissed.

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD, J.S.C.: We find this motion very incompetent as it has been presented severally. We cannot alter the provision of the Constitution. It is for the National Assembly. We do not sit as a 1st instance Court to entertain such action.[2] We cannot re-visit this application as we find it a gross abuse of court process.
N2,000,000.00 [two Million Naira] costs to each of the four sets of respondents. The application should not rear its head again in this Court.
Application refused.

BODE RHODES-VIVOUR, J.S.C. This is about the fourth time this type of application is coming up. It is a gross abuse of process. It is accordingly dismissed with costs as proposed in the Leading Ruling.

NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA, J.S.C.: I read in draft the lead ruling just delivered by my learned brother, Onnoghen, JSC and I agree that the notion is devoid of merit. I desire to add a few observations.

Learned Counsel for the applicants has issues with certain provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered). He impugned the validity of Section 285(7) of the Constitution (supra) His reliefs are predicated on what he called the Courts misapprehension of the validity of section 285(7) of the Constitution. His Ground I for the applicants reads:

“(1) On the 2nd day of March, 2012 the consolidated Appeal SC.18/2012 and SC.18A/2012 was struck out by this Honourable Court under a misapprehension of the validity of Section 285 (7) of the 1999 Constitution as purportedly inserted by Section 29 (7) of the First Alteration Act, 2010, and Section 9 (7) of the Second Alteration Act, 2010.”

Apart from the fact that the same motion, under different guises, was brought and dismissed twice previously, the relief sought is not within the competence of this Court to entertain, either in its appellate or original jurisdiction. It is not a matter pronounced upon by the Court of Appeal or any Court for that matter. It is outside the appellate jurisdiction of this Court as specified in Section 233 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federation (as amended); nor does it come within the original jurisdiction of the Court as per Section 232 of the Constitution (supra).

The Court, particularly, the Presiding Justice, took pains to explain to learned Counsel that his motion smacked of abuse of the judicial process, but the explanations fell on deaf ears. Even the hint that the honourable way to go was to withdraw the motion was not appreciated by learned Counsel who appeared to have checked his ethics at the door to the hallowed chambers of justice.

I think it is time to remind learned Counsel that verbal dexterity and strong opinion when employed in pursuit of a hopeless and frivolous case constitute a vice rather than a virtue in the administration of justice.

The motion and its pursuit constitute a gross abuse of process bordering dangerously on contempt of Court and ought to be dismissed with substantial costs.

Accordingly, I also dismiss the motion and I adopt the order for costs of N200,000 to each set of Respondents. I also order that the total costs of N8 million be paid personally by learned Counsel for the applicant.

Motion dismissed. Costs of N8 million to be paid by counsel.

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI, J.S.C.: Application is not well taken as there is no jurisdiction in this court to do what Applicant is asking. Application is dismissed with N2 Million Naira to each set of Respondents to be paid by Applicant’s counsel, Dr. Osuala.

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA, J.S.C.: I have had the opportunity of reading the lead ruling just delivered by my learned brother, Onnoghen, JSC. I am in agreement with the reasoning and conclusion arrived thereat.

Application is an abuse of court process and is liable to dismissal. It is dismissed by me.

I abide by the consequential orders including the order on costs, to be paid personally by counsel to the applicants.

CLARA BATA OGUNBIYI, J.S.C.: From the facts revealed, this is about the third time that this application is before us. The applicant is challenging the provision of the constitution. This court has no original jurisdiction to entertain the validity of section 285(7). Applicant should approach the High Court. The application is a gross abuse of court process.

N2,000,000.00k costs awarded to each set of respondents to be paid by the applicants’ counsel himself as it is insulting.

Appearances

Dr. Dickson Osuala, with him: Prof. J. N. Mbadugha, Chief N. O. Imoh, E. Ugbowo, D. Obiuweubi, R. Mirikwe for the Applicants For Appellant

AND

Chief Wole Olanikpejun SAN, Dr. Alex Izinyon SAN, K. E. Mozia SAN with L. O. Fagbemi, V. O. Graunt, Esq., E. Ohworosiole Esq, T. Alabi, F. O. Izinyon, Esq. for 1st respondent.

Adebayo Adenipekun SAN with J. Ikomi, Esq., Ayo Asala, Esq., Kehinde Ogunwumiju, Esq., Mrs. Olamide Adekunle, Miss I. A. Nwokocha, Mrs. E. Y. Adenipekun for 2nd respondent.

Dr. O. Ikpeazu, SAN with J. Mba, Esq. for the 3rd Respondent.

T. A. Gazali, Ese. PSC AGF’s Chambers, with Abibat Ajana, (Miss) SCS, A. O. Akinde (Miss) SC for 4th respondent. For Respondent.

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