ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION v. ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF LAGOS STATE (2017)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 27th day of January, 2017

SC.50/2011(R)

Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR  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
MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMADJustice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
CLARA BATA OGUNBIYI  Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE  Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
AMIRU SANUSI  Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION  -(Appellant)

AND

THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF LAGOS STATE  -(Respondent)                                                           …………………….A…………………….
MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD, J.S.C. (Delivering the Lead Ruling): The plaintiff/respondent took out a civil summons dated 3rd March 2011 invoking the original jurisdiction of this Court against the defendant/objector. On the 10th October, 2016, the latter gave notice of preliminary objection pursuant to Order 2 Rule 29 of the Supreme Court Rules 1999 (as amended), Section 232(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and under the inherent jurisdiction of this Court seeking the following orders:-
(1) An order striking out this suit as this Honourable Court lacks the requisite original jurisdiction to entertain same.
(2) An order striking out this suit as the plaintiff/respondent lacks the locus standi to institute this action.

(3) And for such further order or orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.
The objection is predicted on the grounds that:-
1. This Honourable Court lacks Original jurisdiction to entertain causes or matters between the Federal Government and a State Government as in the instant case;
2. The Honourable 
Court cannot exercise Original jurisdiction in causes or matters purely on ownership of land.
3. The Plaintiff/Respondent, having divested its interest in the subject matter of this Suit, lacks the locus standi to institute this action.

At the hearing of the preliminary objection, parties adopted and relied on their already filed and exchanged written addresses as their respective arguments.
The three issues distilled by the defendant/objector as having arisen for the determination of his preliminary objection read:-
(i) Whether this Honourable Court has Original jurisdiction to entertain causes or matters between the Federal Government and a State Government; and
(ii) Whether this Honourable Court has Original Jurisdiction in land matters.
(iii) Whether Plaintiff/Respondent, having divested its interest in the subject matter of this Suit, with special reference to No. 10, Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State, has the locus standi to institute this action.

The three similar issues formulated by the plaintiff/respondent read:-
1. Whether the dispute in the present action does not fall within the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Section 232 of the Constitution;
2. Whether as presently constituted, the present action is a land matter;
3. Whether the Plaintiff does not have the locus standi to institute the present action.

It appears to me that the first issue in controversy between the parties herein is whether the suit to which the preliminary objection relates, as constituted, comes within the purview of Section 232 of the Constitution to entitle this Court, as established under Section 230 of the same Constitution, assume jurisdiction.
There is the need also to consider and resolve whether or not the plaintiff/respondent has the locus standi to maintain the instant matter and the effect of a negative answer to the enquiry on the jurisdiction of this Court in such a situation.
On the 1st and 2nd issues, learned counsel to the defendant/objector submits that whereas Section 230 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) establishes the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Section 232(1) of the very Constitution and Section 1(1) of the Supreme Court (Additional Original jurisdiction) Act enacted pursuant to Section 232(2) of the 1999 Constitution provide for the Court’s Original Jurisdiction. Whether or not plaintiff/respondent suit as constituted comes within the purview of this Court’s original jurisdiction as provided under Section 232(1) and the 2002 enabling Act, learned counsel submits, depends on the claim therein. By Paragraph 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of plaintiff’s amended statement of claim, it is contended, the action is basically a land matter that does not come within the contemplation of the original jurisdiction of the Court as conferred by the Constitution and the law. Relying on the decision of this Court in Olufo v. Idodo (2010) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1225) 545; Attorney-General of Lagos State v. Attorney-General of the Federation (2014) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1412) 217 at 257 and Obi v. INEC (2007) 11 NWLR (Pt. 1046) 565 at 629, learned counsel submits, the suit which does not come within the purview of the Court’s original jurisdiction be struck out.
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On the 3rd issue, learned defendant/objector contends that the plaintiff has failed by his originating process to show the interest it has in the lands in respect of which it seeks to invoke the Court’s jurisdiction. An examination of Paragraphs 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of plaintiff’s amended statement of claim, it is submitted, shows clearly that the plaintiff’s respondent has divested its interest in the subject matter of the suit to another party. Relying on the cases of AG, Kaduna State v. Hassan (1985) 2 NWLR (Pt. 8) 483; Central Bank of Nigeria & Ors v. Kotoye (1994) 3 NWLR (Pt 330) 66 at 73; Owodunni v. Registered Trustee of CCC(Pt. 675) 315 and Ejura v. Idris (2006) 4 NWLR (Pt. 971) 538, learned counsel submits that the plaintiff who has not shown any nexus to the claim, being devoid of any locus standi, is incapable of maintaining the action. Accordingly, it is further submitted, the action should be struck out.
Responding, learned counsel to the plaintiff/respondent agrees that the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is provided for by and in pursuant of Section 232(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)respectively. The provisions, contends learned counsel, confer on the Court original jurisdiction in respect of any dispute between the Federation and a State on any question on which the existence of a legal right depends provided such dispute is not grounded in crime. References to the Governor of Lagos State in the plaintiff’s claim, it is submitted, pertains the Governor in his capacity as the Head of the State of Lagos. By virtue of Section 176 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 3 of the Land Use Act, it is submitted, the Governor being the trustee of lands in Lagos State exercise control of the land in State the Constitution and the law confers on him on behalf of the State. In the same vein, submits learned counsel, the President in his capacity as the Head of the Federation by virtue of Section 130 of the 1999 Constitution, Section 1, 49 and 51(2) of the Land Use Act, being a trustee, exercises powers over all Federal lands within the territory of any State in Nigeria including Lagos State. The dispute in the instant suit, learned plaintiff/respondent counsel contends, is about general control and management of Federal land within Lagos State particularly the re-issuance of certificate of occupancy, granting consent or exercising rights of ownership by the defendant/respondent in breach of Section 49 and 59(2) of the Land Use Act 1978. The dispute, submits learned counsel, is real and constitutional since Lagos State continues to interfere with the powers of the Federation over Federal lands in the State. What the plaintiff requires in the suit, it is further submitted, is a declaration by the Court that Federal lands are, by law, exempt from the powers and control of the Lagos State. A community reading of Section 1, 59 and 51(2) of the Lands Use Act learned counsel submits, shows that the land to which the instant suit relates inheres in the President who is the head of the Government of the Federation. It is only the President that can enforce the rights of the Federation in the lands. Relying on AG, Federation v. AG, Abia State (2001) 11 NWLR (Pt. 725)0 80, learned counsel urges that the facts of plaintiff’s case being distinguishable from those the Court contended with inter-alia in AG Lagos State v. AG Federation supra and AG, Kano State v. AG, Federation (2007) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1029) 164 and AG Anambra State v. AG, Federation (2007) 12 NWLR (1047), the authorities do not, therefore, apply to the plaintiff’s suit.
On the 3rd issue, learned plaintiff/respondent’s counsel submits that the defendant/objector’s postulations thereunder are misconceived. It is not true that the paragraphs in plaintiff’s/respondent amended statement of claim dwelt upon by the objector show that the plaintiff has dis-invested its right in No. 10 Gerald Road Ikoyi, or any other Federal land in Lagos. Beyond No. 10 Gerald Road Ikoyi, the plaintiff’s claim is for a declaration in respect of all lands vested in the plaintiff that are situate in Lagos State. It cannot be said, argues learned plaintiff/respondent’s counsel, that from his claim the plaintiff has not outlined the platform to maintain the suit. On the whole, it is submitted that the objection be overruled.
Now, it certainly cannot be over-emphasized that the issue of jurisdiction in our adjudication process is a fundamental one. This explains the practice evolved by the Courts of allowing the issue to be raised even for the first time on appeal purposely to stop the waste of time not only of the litigants but that of the Court which decision, if arrived at without jurisdiction, will be a nullity notwithstanding how well the proceedings leading to it were conducted. See Timitimi v. Amabebe & Ors 14MWACA 374 Madukolu v. Nkemdilim (1962) 1 SCNLR 34 and Adesola v. Abidoye (1999) 14 NWLR (Pt. 637) 28.
Again, parties herein are right that jurisdiction is statutorily conferred and where the issue as to a Court’s jurisdiction arises, it is determined by the plaintiff’s claim and the reliefs he seeks. See Adeyemi v. Opeyori(1976) 9-10 SC Page 18, Obiuweubi v. CBN (2011) 2-3 SC (Pt 1) 46 and Goldmark Nigeria Ltd & Ors v. Ibafon Company Ltd & Ors LPELR 9349 (SC).

In the case at hand, Section 232(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) pursuant to which the plaintiff sues provides:-
232.(1) The Supreme Court shall, to the exclusion of any other Court, have original jurisdiction in any dispute between the Federation and a State or between States if and in so far as that dispute involves any question (whether of law or fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends.
In interpreting the foregoing, this Court in many of its decisions has specified the criteria that brings a plaintiff’s claim within the purview of its original jurisdiction as constitutionally conferred. The emphasis in these decisions is that the dispute in respect of which the Court exercises its original jurisdiction must be one between the Federation and the State rather than one between the governments of both, States inter-se or their agencies. In AG, Lagos State v. AG Federation (2014) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1412) 217 at 260-261, the Court held thus:-

Plaintiff’s grouse as captured inter-alia in the foregoing paragraphs is about a dispute between the Federal Government and the Government of the State rather than between the Federation and the various States. It is also a dispute pertaining to the operation of an agency of the Federal, Federal inland Revenue Service (FIRS) vis-a-vis an agency of the plaintiff. I do not have the slightest doubt that any dispute on all or any of these comes squarely within the purview of the jurisdiction the makers of the Constitution specifically provided the Federal High Court under Section 251(a)(b) and (q) of the Constitution which provision tampers and conditions the original jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to Section 232(1) of the same
                                                           …………………….C…………………….
Constitution. The plaintiff whose claim clearly relates to the revenue of the government of the Federation, consequent upon the taxes one of its agencies levies is at the wrong Court. This Court must decline jurisdiction. I so hold.
See also AG, Kano State v. AG, Federation (2007) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1029) 164; AG, Federation v. AG, Imo State (1983) 4 NCLR 178; AG, Bendel State v. AG, Federation (1982) 3 NCLR; AG Lagos State v Ag Federation (2004) 18 NWLR (Pt. 904) 1 referred to 1.
Mahmud Mohammad the Hon. CJN (as he then was) at pages 293-294 of the law report concurred as follows:-

The criteria as stated in those cases before the original jurisdiction of this Court is invoked are that-
(a) There must be a justiciable dispute involving any question of law or fact.
(b) The dispute must be-
(i) Between the Federation and a State in its capacity as one of the Federating constituent units of the Federation; or
(ii) Between the Federation and more States that are in their capacity as members of the constituent units of the Federation; or
(iii) Between the States in their capacities as members of the constituent units of the Federation
Since the reliefs claimed by the plaintiff particularly the injunctive relief is against the Federal Government of Nigeria, its servants and its agencies, the relief not being against the Federation of Nigeria or any  State or States of the Federation
 as constituent units of the Federation, is not within the purview of Section 232(1) of the 1999 Constitution to confer original jurisdiction on this Court.

Does the plaintiff/respondents claim satisfy the foregoing criteria enunciated by this Court to entitle the Court assume jurisdiction over his cause? I say yes and no to the question. This ambivalence is readily explained from an examination of the plaintiff/respondent’s amended statement of claim Paragraphs 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of which inter-alia constitute the essence of the claim. Paragraphs 22, 23, 24 and 25(1)(5) and (6)-(10) are particularly hereinunder reproduced for their aptness:-
22. The Plaintiff states that the issue of 10 Gerrard Street Ikoyi, also called Trenchard Place is merely taken up as a Test Case out of thousands of cases of Regularization of Consent demanded by the Defendant, which has pitched the Plaintiff against the Defendant with respect to whether the Governor of Lagos State can grant consent to transactions on land vested in the plaintiff, Federal Government, within Lagos State.
23. The plaintiff shall contend that all lands, whether developed or underdeveloped, vested in the Plaintiff in the territory of the Defendant, are excluded from the management and control of the State Governor.
24. The plaintiff shall further contend that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or a Minister designated by him has power to the exclusion of the Defendant Governor of Lagos State to Consent to any transaction in any land vested in the Federal Government in Lagos State under the Land Use Act.
25. WHEREOF THE PLAINTIFF claims against the Defendant as follows:
(1) A DECLARATION that the acts of re-issuing of Certificates of Occupancy, granting of consent or exercising rights of ownership, control and management by the Defendant over the land held and vested in the Plaintiff within the territory of the Defendant, upon which the plaintiff has been exercising rights of ownership, control and management, contrary to 
Sections 49 and 51(2) of the Land Use Act, Cap L5, Laws of Nigeria, 2004, are illegal, null and void.
(5) A DECLARATION that the Defendant’s consent is not required for the Plaintiff to convey valid title to persons that acquired title through it, either by way of alienation of right of occupancy, consent to assignment, mortgage, transfer of possession, sublease or otherwise in all the transactions of lands vested in the Plaintiff upon which the plaintiff has been exercising rights of ownership, control and management within the Lagos State territory and that any such requirement of consent is null and void.
(6) AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the Defendant, either by its Governor or through its Commissioners, Directors other staff, servants, agents, privies, assigns or other persons howsoever called, forthwith from re-issuing of Certificates of Occupancy, demanding or granting consent to any alienation of right of occupancy, assignment, mortgage, transfer of possession, sublease or exercising rights of ownership, control and management or otherwise over lands held and vested in the Plaintiff, the Federal Government of Nigeria, 
within the territory of the Defendant.
(7) AN ORDER directing the Defendant to account for all Public Revenues it has received from 1967 till date from its dealings with the PLAINTIFF’S Lands within its territory.
(8) ORDER setting aside all Certificates of Occupancy and consents issued by the Defendant over the Plaintiff’s LANDS IN IT’S TERRITORY INCLUDING 10 Gerrald Road Ikoyi.
(9) ORDER OF RECTIFICATION of the Records of the Defendant’s Lands Registry, by expunging entries in respect of the plaintiff’s lands in the Defendant’s territory including that of 10 Gerrald Road Ikoyi.
(10) PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the Defendant from granting Rights of Occupancy, issuing of Certificates of Occupancy and granting Consent in respect of transaction on the Plaintiff’s lands within the Defendant’s territory.

It is evident from the foregoing that the dispute between the plaintiff and the defendant pertains to land. I agree with learned counsel for the plaintiff/respondent that by the combined effect of Sections 1, 49 and 52(2) of the Land Use Act title to Federal and State lands are
                                                           …………………….D…………………….
vested in the Federal and State Governments for the President and the State Governor to hold same in trust for the Federation and the people of the State respectively. In the case at hand, where the plaintiff asserts interference with the title in lands under its management and control by the defendant, a dispute between the two, the Federation and the State, appears discernible to warrant the invocation of this Court’s original jurisdiction pursuant to Section 232(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. But that is not all for this Court has persisted on the principle that when a party’s standing to sue is in issue, as it is in the instant case, the question is whether the person whose standing is in issue is a proper party to request an adjudication of a particular issue and not whether the issue itself is justiceable. See Oloriode v. Oyebi (1984) 5 SC 1; Owodunni v. Reg Trustees of CCC (2000) 6 SC (Pt III) 60 and Itsekiri Trustees v. Warri Divisional Planning (1972) II SC 235.
The strongest wicket of the defendant/objector is that the plaintiff has failed to show, given the averments in its amended statement of claim, that it has a standing to maintain the suit. Plaintiff’s real grouse, it is contended and rightly too, relates to the Regularization consent the Defendant insists persons who acquired Federal lands must obtain from it before title effectively vested in the transferees. No. 10 Gerald Road by the plaintiff himself is a test case out of thousands of such lands title to which, having been already transferred to others no longer inheres in the plaintiff. In Senator Abraham Adesanya v. President of Nigeria and Anor (1981) 1 ALL NLR 1 the Court per A. Fatayi Williams CJN (as he then was) stated thus:
It is only when the civil rights and obligation of the person who invokes the jurisdiction of the Court are in issue for determination that the judicial powers of the Courts may be invoked. In other words, standing will only be accorded a plaintiff who shows that his civil rights and obligations have been or are in danger of being violated or adversely affected by the act complained of.
In the instant matter, it is thus not enough for the plaintiff to assert that the control and management of Federal lands exclusively vests in the President who holds same in trust for the federation but to further show that defendant’s act of interference persists inspite of the plaintiff’ persisting exclusive title to the land. Having transferred its title in the lands to others, it is untenable for the plaintiff herein to assert that the very title that ceases to vest in it is adversely threatened by defendant’s interference. The plaintiff who lacks the standing to sue, the learned counsel to the defendant is right, cannot invoke the original jurisdiction of this Court to assert a title he no longer has. It will be academic and hypothetical for the Court to proceed on the matter. It never does. See Dr. Irene Thomas & Ors v. Reverand T.O Olufosoye (1986) 1 All NLR Vol. 1 (Pt. 1) 215 and Professor Bolaji Idowu v. Reverand G.A. Bamgbose(1986) 4 NWLR (Pt. 37) 632.
For the foregoing, defendant’s preliminary objection which is well taken is hereby sustained and plaintiff’s action accordingly struck out.
Parties to bear their respective costs.
OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR, J.S.C.: I read a draft copy of the leading Ruling delivered by my learned brother, Muhammad, JSC. I agree with His Lordship that the Preliminary objection succeeds and the plaintiff’s action is accordingly struck out. I propose to add only a few observations. By virtue of Section 232 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to hear and determine any matter between the Federation and a State or between States, once the dispute involves questions of law or fact on which the existence or the extent of a legal right depends.
The Supreme Court also has original jurisdiction as might be conferred by an Act of the national Assembly, provided that no original jurisdiction can be conferred on the Supreme Court with respect to criminal matters.
Before this Court exercises original jurisdiction in a civil case between the Federal and a State/s or between States there must be-
(a) a dispute between the Federation and a State or States;
(b) the dispute must involve a question of law or fact or both ; and
(c) the dispute must pertain to the existence or extent of a legal right.
See; AG Bendel State v AG. Federation & Ors (1981) 12 NSCC p. 314
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word dispute as the act of arguing against, controversy, debate and contention as to rights, claims and the like or on a matter of opinion.
To my mind, under Section 232 of the Constitution there is a dispute where the suit raises question of law and, or fact on which the existence or extent of legal right depends. The dispute must be suitable for judicial consideration and determination.
My lords, since the plaintiff transferred title in the land to someone else, the plaintiff no longer has locus standi. There is in the circumstances no dispute appropriate for judicial consideration. In the light of this development the dispute in this appeal clearly does not satisfy the above conditions and so does not fall within the original jurisdiction conferred on the Supreme Court by Section 232 of the Constitution.
For this, and the more detailed reasoning in the leading Ruling, the Preliminary Objection succeeds and the Plaintiff’s action is hereby struck out.
MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI, J.S.C.: I am at one with the Ruling just delivered by my learned brother, Musa Dattijo Muhammad JSC and to record my support I shall make some remarks.
The defendant/applicant, Attorney-General of Lagos State raised this Preliminary Objection filed on the 10/10/2016 praying this Court to strike out this suit on the ground that the Supreme Court lacks the requisite original jurisdiction to entertain the same.
Also that the plaintiff/Respondent lacks the locus standi to institute this action.
The plaintiff/respondent had commenced this suit by Civil Summons dated the 3rd day of March, 2011 while the defendant/applicant filed its statement of defence on the 28th day of January, 2013 and on the 11th day of April, 2013 the plaintiff/respondent sought to amend his statement of claim and it was granted by this Court.
The defendant/applicant has however come before this Court with a Notice of Preliminary Objection as earlier stated.
On the 31st day of October, 2016, date of hearing, Mrs S.Y. Kolawole, Director Legal Drafting of the Ministry of Justice, Lagos State of counsel for the defendant/applicant adopted the written address attached to this Preliminary Objection aforesaid in which were raised three issues for
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determination, viz:-
i) Whether this Honourable Court has original jurisdiction to entertain causes or matters between the Federal Government and a State Government; and
ii) Whether this Honourable Court has original jurisdiction in land matters.
iii) Whether plaintiff/respondent, having divested its interest in the subject matter of this suit, with special reference to No. 10, Gerald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State, has the locus standi to institute this action.

Babatunde Ogungbamila of counsel for the plaintiff/respondent adopted their written response filed on 28/10/2016 which was settled by Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN. He had formulated three issues for determination which are thus:-
1. Whether the dispute in the present action does not fall within the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Section 232 of the Constitution.
2. Whether as presently constituted, the present action is a land matter.
3. Whether the plaintiff does not have locus standi to institute the present action.

I shall utilize Issue No. 1 as crafted by the applicant as an answer to that question raised would show whether or not this Court can venture further.
ISSUE NO.1
Whether this Honourable Court has original jurisdiction to entertain causes or matters between the Federal Government and a State Government.

Canvassing the stance of the applicant, learned counsel referred to Section 230 and 232 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and contended that, this is not a matter for the invocation of the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. That from the plaintiff’s Amended Statement of Claim, the subject matter of the suit is land which has been deceptively presented as a constitutional matter between the Federation and a State so as to agitate the original jurisdiction of the Apex Court. That the amended pleadings of the plaintiff would show the exact nature of the suit. Learned counsel cited Attorney General of Lagos v Attorney General of the Federation (2014) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1412) 217 at 257; Olofu v Itodu (2010) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1225) 545.

That this Court lacking the jurisdiction for what the plaintiff is calling on it to do, the matter should be struck out. He referred to Obi v INEC (2007) 11 NWLR (Pt. 1046) 565 at 629.
Learned counsel for the plaintiff/respondent responded that the stand of the defendant/applicant does not represent the correct state of the law. That the action is well stated within the purview of Section 232 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 49 and 51(2) of the Land Use Act.
That the plaintiff commenced this action in protection of Federal lands within the territory of the defendant. He cited Attorney-General Federation v Attorney General Abia State (2001) 11 NWLR (Pt. 725).

What really is the dispute between the parties in the application of the plaintiff to amend its pleading and the attack on it by Preliminary Objection of the Defendant that in fact, the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to grant the application to amend the statement of claim nor even the main jurisdiction to entertain the suit in its original jurisdiction? In this regard, a foray into the Constitutional provisions on which this Court derives its powers in the appellate form and its original jurisdiction status. I shall confine myself to the area containing the prescriptions in the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. I shall quote Section 232 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and, viz:-
Section 232(1) provides that:
The Supreme Court shall, to the exclusion of any other Court, have original jurisdiction in any dispute between the Federation and a State or between States 
if and in so far as that dispute involves any question (whether of law or fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends.
Section 232(2) however provides that:
In addition to the jurisdiction conferred upon it by Subsection (1) of this section, the Supreme Court shall have such original jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by any Act of the National Assembly.
Pursuant to the above provision, the National Assembly on 22nd April, 2002 enacted the Supreme Court (Additional Original Jurisdiction) Act, 2002. Section 1(1) of the Act provides that:
In addition to the original jurisdiction conferred upon the Supreme Court of Nigeria by Section 232 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, the Supreme Court shall, to the exclusion of any other Court, have original jurisdiction in any dispute between-
(a) the National Assembly and the President;
(b) the National Assembly and any State House of

                                                           …………………….E…………………….
Assembly; and
(c) the National Assembly and a State of the Federation in so far as that dispute involves any question (whether of law or fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends.
In the interpretation of the above constitutional provisions, this Court had stated what the exact position of this Court is when confronted with a suit invoking this Court’s powers of original jurisdiction.
In the case of Attorney-General of Lagos State v Attorney-General of the Federation (2014) 9 NWLR (pt. 14122) 217 at 257, this Court held thus:
Section 232(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 provides for the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court which is exclusive to it in respect of any dispute between the Federation and a State or between State inter se where the determination of such dispute involves a resolution of any question, whether of fact or law, on which the existence or extent of the legal right being asserted in dispute depends. By the section, once a dispute is between the Federation and a State or between States themselves, and the determination of the dispute requires resolution of any question, whether of fact or law in relation to the claim raised, the Supreme Court and no other Court has jurisdiction over such dispute. However, the section does not empower the Supreme Court to hear and determine disputes between the governments of the Federation and a State, or the Governments of the States inter se.

To determine whether or not a Court has jurisdiction, this Court in the case of Olofu v Itodo (2010) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1225) SC held that:
Also settled is the principle of law that in order to determine whether a Court before which a matter pends has the jurisdiction to entertain same, the Court has to look at the plaintiff’s statement of claim before it and not the defence put forward by the defendant to the action. The claim of the plaintiff in an action includes the originating summons and the affidavit(s) in support of same where the action is instituted by originating summons as was decided by this Court in the case of Inakoju v Adeleke (2007) 4 NWLR (Pt. 1020) 427 at 588-589.

The crux of the matter is as couched in the Amended Statement of Claim of the plaintiff, Paragraph 14
precisely thus:-
14. One of the many cases reported to the plaintiff by a land owner seeking clarification on Regulation of consent granted by the defendant, is a property situate at No. 10, Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State and registered as No. LO 4842 at the Federal Lands Registry, Ikoyi by the plaintiff. Based on the unlawful regularization practice of the Defendant, subject matter of this suit, the same property was required and is also registered as No. 28 at Page 29 in Volume 2038 at the Lagos State Lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja.

The stand of the plaintiff is that the dispute being questions of law on which the existence and extent of legal rights of the Federation and Lagos State depends and in this instance the matter of the ownership of land situate in Lagos State and covered by the Land Use Act. I shall recast Sections 1, 49 and 51 (2) of the said Act as follows:-
1. Subject to the provisions of this Act, all lands comprised in the territory of each State in the Federation are hereby vested in the Governor of that State and such land shall be held in trust and administered for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
49. Nothing in this Act shall affect any title to land whether developed or undeveloped held by the Federal Government or any agency of the Federal Government at the commencement of this Act and, accordingly, any such land shall continue to vest in the Federal Government or the agency concerned.
51(2) The powers of a Governor under this Act shall in respect of land comprised in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, or any land held or vested in the Federal Government in any State, be exercisable by the President or any Minister designated by him in that behalf and references in this Act to Governor shall be construed accordingly.

Mindful of the concern this Court had expressed in A.G Federation v. A.G Abia State (2001) 11 NWLR (Pt. 725) on a venture to have agitated its original jurisdictional power, it had held that the dispute must involve a legal right of the Federation.” The federation as plaintiff must show that it has such right or interest which is affected or is likely to be affected by the active complained of.
In delving into those rights or interests of the Federation, the Supreme Court cannot carry along matters of land dispute between it and a State of the Federation as a community reading of Sections 230 and 232 of the 1999 Constitution read alongside the Land Use Act, Section 39, 41 and 51(2) would show that the land disputes have not the canopy covering of those actions upon which once the Federal Government is affected would have the Supreme Court jumping into the adjudication in its original jurisdiction. That power has not yet been donated to this Court by the Constitution.
Fortunately, for an easier understanding, I wish to state that I had the privilege of having participated in the case of A.G Lagos State v AG Federation (2014) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1412) 217 which was a dispute relating to the operation of an agency of the Federal Government, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against an agency of Lagos State Government which the Federal Government contended accrued to it. This Court had no difficulty in holding firmly that the Court’s original jurisdiction cannot be so invoked when the dispute is not between the Federation as an entity against a State or between a State against another or others or the National Assembly and the President; the National Assembly and any State House of Assembly, and the National Assembly and a State of the Federation.
I abide by the consequential orders made.
                                                           …………………….F…………………….
OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA, J.S.C.: I was obliged before now with a copy of the lead ruling of my learned brother, Dattijo Muhammad, JSC just delivered. I am in complete agreement with the reasoning and conclusion that the defendant’s preliminary objection is sustained and plaintiff’s action accordingly struck out. The action is hereby struck out by me.
I abide by the consequential orders in the said lead ruling including the orders on costs.
CLARA BATA OGUNBIYI, J.S.C.: I read in draft the lead Ruling just delivered by my brother Musa Dattijo Muhammad, JSC. I agree that the preliminary objection raised by the defendant herein is sustained and the entire suit is hereby struck out; the plaintiff herein lacks the locus standi to institute the action.
The notice of preliminary objection and the three grounds predicating same are all well reproduced clearly in the lead Ruling. I do not need to replicate same. Suffice it to say however and re-iterate that the defendant/objector by its notice of preliminary objection is seeking to challenge the jurisdiction of this Court as well as the locus standi of the plaintiff/respondent to institute this action.
Section 232(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court wherein it says:-
The Supreme Court shall, to the exclusion of any other Court, have original jurisdiction in any dispute between the Federation and a State or between States if and in so far as that dispute involves any question (whether of law or fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends.
Section 232(2) however provides that:-
In additional to the jurisdiction conferred upon it by Subsection (1) of this Section, the Supreme Court shall have such original jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by any act of the National assembly.
In keeping and consonance with the foregoing therefore, the National Assembly on 22nd April, 2002 enacted the Supreme Court (Additional Original jurisdiction) Act, 2002 wherein Section 1(1) of the Act provides thus:-
In addition to the original jurisdiction conferred upon the Supreme Court of Nigeria by Section 232(1) of the 1999 Constitution the Supreme Court shall, to the exclusion of any other Court have original jurisdiction in any dispute between
(a) The National Assembly and the President:
(b) The National Assembly and any State House of Assembly; and
(c) The National Assembly and a State of the Federation in so far as that dispute involves any question (whether of law or fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends.
From the community reading of the provisions supra, it is clear that the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court can be invoked only in courses or matters between:-
(i) The Federation and a State:
(ii) Between States;
(iii) The National Assembly and the President;
(iv The National Assembly and any State House of Assembly; and
(v) The National Assembly and a State of the Federation
See the case of Attorney-General of Lagos v. Attorney General of Federation (2014) 9 NWLR (Pt 1412) 2117 at 257.

The determination of this objection would require that the subject matter of this action be satisfied. This is because it is the claim that determines jurisdiction. As rightly submitted by the learned counsel for the defendant/objector, I subscribe to his argument that the present action relates squarely to No. 10 Gerald Road, Ikoyi and not a dispute between the Federation and a State as it is sought to argue on behalf of the plaintiff/respondent. It does not therefore properly come within the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as spelt out under Section 232 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) supra. Furthermore and again, contrary to the submission and misgivings by the plaintiff/respondent, the dispute at hand does not involve questions of law on which the existence and extent of the legal rights of the Federation and Lagos State is dependant.
For the confirmation of the subject matter of the suit before the Court, Paragraph 14 of the plaintiff/respondent’s amended Statement of Claim is evident and centers on No. 10 Gerald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State. Same is reproduced here under as follows:-
14. One of the many cases reported to the plaintiff by a land owner seeking clarification on Regularization of consent granted by the defendant, is a property situate at No. 10, Gerald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State and registered as No.LO4842 at the Federal Lands Registry, Ikoyi by plaintiff. Based on the unlawful regularization practice of the defendant, subject matter of this suit, the same property was required and is also registered as No. 28 at page 29 in volume 2038 at the Lagos State Lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja.

By any stretch of imagination there can be no original jurisdiction conferred on this Court in causes or matters relating land no matter how deceptively couched; the combined effects of Sections 39, 41 and 51(2) of the Land Use Act are all evident and in support. The claim of the plaintiff/respondent as rightly submitted by the defendant/objector is basically a land matter which is not within the contemplation of the Constitution to be entertained by this Court in its original jurisdiction. The decision in the case of Attorney-General of Lagos State v. Attorney-General of the Federation (supra) is very clear on the extent of the original jurisdiction of this Court as provided by Section 232(1) of the Constitution, and for purpose of re-stating its position, the following remark was made:-
However, the section does not empower the Supreme Court to hear and determine disputes between the governments of the Federation
                                                           …………………….G…………………….
and a State, or the Governments of the States inter se.

Furthermore and with the conclusion arrived there at supra, the effect of the purported action is that same is not justiciable as rightly submitted by the learned counsel for the defendant/objector. The suit also has no foundation, especially wherein the plaintiff having divested its interest in the subject matter of the case did not have locus standi or legal right to institute same.
With the few words of mine and while relying more particularly on the lead reasoning and conclusion arrived at by my learned brother, Dattijo Muhammad, JSC, I also make an order that the suit be struck out in terms of the lead ruling and abide by the order made as to costs.
CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE, J.S.C.: My Lords, I find it rather intriguing that the ascertainment of matters within the original jurisdiction of this Court could still be a subject of forensic disputation. This matter be so because this Court has, admirably, rescued this question from the realm of recondity. I need only cite one or two of such decision here, AG Bendel State v AG, Federation and Ors  (1981) 10 SC (Reprint) 32; AG. Kano State v. AG, Federation (2007) 6 NWLR (Pt 1029) 164, 182-183; AG, Anambra v AG Federation (2007) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1047) 42-43; AG, Lagos State v AG, Federation (2014) LPELR- 22701 (SC); Plateau State of Nigeria and Anor v AG, Federation (2006) LPELR- 2921 (SC).
Be that as it may, I take the liberty of this contribution to reiterate, for the umpteenth time, that in order to invoke the original jurisdiction of this Court there must be a dispute, that is, a controversy, a contention as to rights, claims e.t.c between the Federation and a State or States; such a dispute must involve a question of law or fact or both and such a dispute must appertain to the existence or extent of a legal right, AG of Bendel State v AG of Federation and Ors (1981) (supra); AG of Federation v. AG of Abia State and Ors (2001) 7 SC (pt. 1) 32; (2001) 89 LRCN 2413, 2432; AG of Federation and Ors v AG Imo State and Ors (1983) 4 NCLR 178.
Accordingly, like the leading Ruling, I hereby enter an order sustaining the Preliminary Objection to the Plaintiff’s action herein. In consequence, the action shall be, and is hereby, struck out.
AMIRU SANUSI, J.S.C.: Filed before this Court by the plaintiff (Appellant), is an application invoking the original jurisdiction of this Court against the present defendant (hereinafter to be referred to as Respondent/Objector. The suit basically relates to a land known and identified as No. 10, Gerald Road, Ikoyi Lagos, The defendant/Objector and challenged the competence of the suit on the ground that the subject matter of the action being a land matter, is not one of the subject matters which the original jurisdiction of this Court could be invoked. As a corollary, the learned counsel for the defendant raised preliminary objection challenging the competence of the suit filed in this Court for the invocation of its original jurisdiction.
The Preliminary objection raised by the defendant/objector was anchored on three grounds as mentioned below:-
1. That this Court lacks original jurisdiction to entertain causes or matter between the Federal Government and a State Government as in this instant action.
2. This Honourable Court can not exercise Original jurisdiction in causes or matters purely on ownership of land.
3. The Plaintiff/Respondent having divested its interest in the subject matter of this suit, lacks the locus standi to institute this action.

The defendant/objector filed its argument on the preliminary objection on 10th October, 2016, wherein it identified three issues for the determination of its Preliminary Objection which are as follows:-
(1) Whether this Honourable Court has original jurisdiction to entertain causes or matter between the Federal Government and State government.
(2) Whether this Honourable Court has original jurisdiction in land matters.
(3) Whether plaintiff/Respondent having divested its interest in the subject matter of this suit with special reference to No.10, Gerald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State, has the locus standi to institute this action.

On the other hand, the plaintiff/respondent also formulated three similar issues for determination of the preliminary objection as reproduced below:-
(a) Whether the dispute in the present action does not fall within the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Section 232 of the Constitution.
(b) Whether as presently constituted the present action is a land matter,
(c) Whether the plaintiff does not have locus standi to institute the present action?

                                                           …………………….H…………………….
On the first issue, the learned counsel for the defendant/objector relied on Section 232 of the 1999 Constitutionand also submitted that in order to determine whether this Court has jurisdiction or not to entertain the matter, the statement of claim will be relevant, which in effect, clearly shows that the suit relates to land matter and therefore this Court lacks jurisdiction. Learned counsel referred to the case ofOlofi vs Itodu [2010]10 NWLR (pt.1225) 595. He argued that the plaintiff/respondent is trying to mislead the Supreme Court to believe that this action is a constitutional matter or one between Federal and State in order to invoke the jurisdiction of the Court, but stated that a close examination of Paragraph 14 of the plaintiff’s Statement of Claim shows that it is a land matter. He further submitted that this Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the matter and urged us to strike out the suit vide the decision in Obi vs. INEC (2007) 11 (Pt. 565) 62 Para A-B.

On issue No. 2, the defendant/objector’s learned counsel argued that even if there is land dispute between the Federal and State Government on land matters, the combined effect of Sections 31, 41 and 51[2] of the Land Use Act does not confer original jurisdiction on the Supreme Court to entertain the suit. He submitted that there is no provision in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 that vests this Court with original jurisdiction to entertain, hear and determine land matters at first instance. The learned counsel further argued that from Paragraphs 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of the plaintiff’s right statement of claim, it clearly shows that the action is basically a matter which is not within the contemplation of the Constitution to be entertained by this Court.
With regards to the third issue for determination on locus standi, the defendants/objector contended that issue of locus standi does not depend on the success or merit of the case, but rather, on whether the plaintiff has sufficient interest on the subject matter. The defendant/objector again referred to Paragraphs 14, 15, 16, 17 18 and contend that the plaintiff/Respondent having totally divested its interest in the subject matter of the suit to another party, does not have locus standi to institute this action. He finally urged this Court to resolve all the three issues in the defendant’s/objector’s favour and to sustain the preliminary objection.
As I posited supra, the plaintiff/Respondent also raised three issues which are moreorless identical to those raised for determination to the corresponding issues raised in the Defendant’s/objector’s issues.
In arguing its issue No. 1, the learned counsel for the plaintiff/Respondent submitted that this Court always assumes jurisdiction when it is clear, as in this instant case, that the legal rights of the Federation or State is affected or likely to be affected regardless of how the claim is. He distinguished the case of AG Lagos State vs AG of the Federation cited supra by the defendant, with the instant case where the action was about dispute pertaining to the operation of an agency of Federal Government FIRS vis a vis an agency of Lagos State Government. He argued that from the totality of the plaintiff’s claim, this matter falls within the original jurisdiction of this Court under Section 232 of the 1999 Constitution.
Arguing its issue No.2, the learned plaintiff’s/respondent’s counsel submitted that the Defendant misconstrued the nature of the dispute in this action. He contended that this action is not about land known as No.10 Gerald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, but about continued interference of Lagos State government with the powers of the Federation over Federal land in the State. He argued further, that even if the suit is a land matter, it is a matter between the Federation and the State and as such original jurisdiction, is vested on the Supreme Court by virtue of Section 232 of 1999 Constitution which takes pre-eminence over Sections 39 and 40 of the Land Use Act, which are provisions on land matters generally.
On Issue No.3 having to do with locus standi, the learned plaintiff’s/Respondent’s counsel denied the defendant counsel’s assertion that it had totally divested its interest. He argued that there was nowhere in the plaintiff’s statement of claim, where it was mentioned that it divested itself of its radical title on the property situate at No.10, Gerald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos or on any Federal land in Lagos State. He finally argued that the plaintiff has the necessary locus standi to institute this action before this Court. He urged us to resolve the three issues in plaintiffs favour.
From the issues for determination raised by both parties supra and the argument proffered by learned counsel to the parties, one can safely say that the first and second issues raised in the preliminary objection by defendant/objector and the responses to same by the plaintiff/respondent revolve on matter of jurisdiction in two ways. That is to say, whether this Court has original jurisdiction to entertain, hear and determine the suit by invoking its original jurisdictional powers and the question whether the plaintiff/respondent had locus standi to bring the action in the first place, which is also an issue of jurisdiction.
There is no gainsaying that issue of jurisdiction is radical and a crucial point which when raised, is challenging the competence of the Court to hear and determine the case. Any proceedings conducted by a Court which does not have jurisdiction, no matter how well or brilliantly it was conducted is a nullity. See Dapianlong vs Dariye (2007) 8 NWLR (pt. 1036) 332. That is the more reason why when Court’s jurisdiction is challenged, the Court must first of all assume jurisdiction to decide whether in very clear and unambiguous terms, it has or lacks jurisdiction. See State Dosunmu Mainson vs Halliborton Energy Services Ltd (2007) 2 NWLR [pt.108) 211; Nwonye v Anyichie(2005) 2 NWLR (pt. 910) 623.
Also, where jurisdiction of a Court is challenged over a matter or suit, that Court must consider the averments of the plaintiff in his statement of claim filed before it, in order to decide whether it has jurisdiction to entertain it or not.

                                                           …………………….I…………………….
In this preliminary objection, the defendant/objector contends that this Court lacks jurisdiction to grant the application to amend the statement of claim or even the jurisdiction to entertain the suit in its original jurisdiction. This is, in a nutshell the core point raised in the first issue in the Preliminary Objection and such point revolves on the provisions of Section 232 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and on which both parties anchored or hinged their submissions of arguments. Let us now consider the said provisions and the interpretation earlier given to them in its previous decisions. The provisions are reproduced below:
Section 232(1) of the 1999 Constitution provides thus:-
Section 232 (1) –
“The Supreme Court shall, to the exclusion of any other Court, have original jurisdiction in any dispute between the Federation and a State or between States if and in so far as that dispute involves any question(whether of law or fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends.”
Subsection 2 of Section 232 of the same Constitution reads as below:-
“In addition to the jurisdiction conferred upon It by Subsection(1) of this section, the Supreme Court shall have such original jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by any Act of the National Assembly.”
It is worthy of note, that the National Assembly, apparently in exercise of the powers conferred upon it by Section 232(2) supra, in 2002 enacted the Supreme Court (Additional Original jurisdiction) Act 2002. Section 1 of which provides as below:-
“In addition to the original jurisdiction conferred upon the Supreme Court of Nigeria by Section 232(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the Supreme Court shall to the exclusion of other Courts, have original jurisdiction in any dispute between:-
(a) The National Assembly and the President.
(b) The National Assembly and any State House of Assembly, and
(c) The National Assembly and any State of the Federation in so far as that dispute involves any question (whether of law or fact) which the existence or extent of a legal right depends.”
Thus, from the wordings of the above quoted provisions, the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to the exclusion of any Court in Nigeria, to entertain, hear and determine any dispute between the Federation and State or between States, if and in so far as, such dispute involves any question on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends. In addition, it has original jurisdiction as the National Assembly pursuant to Section 232(2) may confer upon by any Act of the National Assembly. See AG Kano State vs AG Fed {2007} 6 NWLR (pt. 1029)164; AG Lagos State v AG, Federation (2004) 18 NWLR (pt. 904) 1; AG, Federation v AG Imo State (1983) 4 NCLR 178; Kaduna State v President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1981) 2 NCLR 781.

It needs to be stressed here however, that before the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court can be invoked under Section 232(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the following conditions must be met; Those conditions are:-
(i) There must be a justifiable dispute involving any question of law or fact
(ii) The dispute must be;
(a) between Federation and a State in its capacity as one of the constitutional unit of the federation or
(b) between the Federation and more States, that are in their capacities as members of the constituent units of the Federation; or
(c) between States in their aforesaid capacities and
(iii) The dispute must be one on which the existence or extent of a legal right in the said capacity is involved.
See AG, Federation v AG Imo State (supra); AG Lagos State v AG Federation [supra].

As I remarked above, and its even trite, in order to determine whether a Court has jurisdiction to entertain and determine a matter filed before it, that Court must look or refer to the statement of claim filed before it by the plaintiff. See also Olofin v Itodo [supra].
Now looking at Paragraph 14 of the plaintiff/respondents Amended Statement of Claim, the plaintiff deposed as below:-
Paragraph 14 –
“One of the many case reported to the plaintiff by a land owner seeking clarification “Regulation” of consent grant by the defendant is a property situate at No.10, Gerald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State, and registered as No. LO 4842 at the Federal Land Registry, Ikoyi by the plaintiff.  Based on the unlawful regularization practice of the Defendant, subject matter of this suit, the same property was required and is also registered as No. 28 at page 29 in Volume 29038 at the Lagos State Lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja.”
To my mind, from the plaintiff’s deposition in Paragraph 14 of its Amended Statement of claim supra, it is clear as crystal that the suit filed before this Court by the plaintiff pertains to his grouse on alleged unlawful regularization practice of the defendant as it put it, all regarding the subject matter of the suit which is the property situate at No.10, Gerald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Similarly, other depositions in the plaintiff’s claim such as in Paragraphs 15, 16, 17 and 18 also further give credence to the fact that the dispute in the suit revolves purely on land matter. Again Paragraphs 22, 23, 24 and 25 also support the defendant/objector’s assertion that the dispute on which the plaintiff wants to invoke this Court’s original jurisdiction, purely involves land matter, contrary to the stance held by the plaintiff. It is therefore my humble view, that the subject matter of the instant claim/suit falls outside the conditions under which this Court’s original jurisdiction under Section 232(1) of the 1999 Constitution could be invoked.
                                                           …………………….J…………………….
On the issue of whether the plaintiff right from the out set, had locus standi to institute the action, it is not in dispute the plaintiff’s main complaint pertains to the “Regularisation of Consent” which by law a person who acquired a Federal land must obtain from it before title vests in him. The plaintiff had even conceded that title in the land had already transferred to others including the title in respect to the property which is the subject matter of this suit i.e No.10 Gerald Road, Ikoyi Lagos. By the transfer of title of the disputed land to “others” as the plaintiff himself put it, he can not now be heard coming back to claim that the title to the land vests in it. As a corollary therefore, the plaintiff having divested the title to the land to “others,” it lacks locus standi to now approach this Court or file this suit, since it had no locus standi to do so. He also can not, ipso facto, try to invoke the original jurisdiction of this Court to hear the suit/claim in which he lacks locus standi to assert any title to such land which interest it had earlier divested to others.
Finally, as I said above, the subject matter of this suit as filed by the plaintiff does not come within the conditions contemplated by the provisions of Section 232 of the 1999 Constitution under which the original jurisdiction of this Court could be invoked, since same relates to land matter which is outside the conditions under which this Court has original jurisdiction to entertain and adjudicate on.
The preliminary objection raised by the defendant/objector is in my view well taken as it is meritorious.
Thus, in the light of these few comments of mine and for the fuller and detailed reasons given in the lead ruling of my learned brother M. D. Muhammad JSC, which I adopt as mine, I also see merit in the preliminary objection. It is hereby sustained by me and I hereby accordingly strike out the suit for being incompetent. I abide by the consequential order made in the lead ruling, I make no order as to costs.

Appearances

B. Ogungbamila with him, A. Adike  –For Appellant

AND

S.Y. Kolawole (Mrs) (DLD) Lagos State M.O.J with him, J.I Jacobs (PSC), Oluwaseun Sogbesan (SC) and O. Osunsanya SSC  –For Respondent

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