Category Archives: Notable Pronouncements

A Garnishee lacks the power to fight the cause of a Judgement Debtor.

 

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc v. Innoson Nig. Ltd. [2017] 16 NWLR (Pt. 1591) 181 at 203, paras. D-F, per Eko, JSC:

“It is not for a garnishee to fight the cause of a judgment debtor who either accepts the judgment against him and does nothing about it, or who may be indolent to fight his cause. No power in law inheres in the garnishee to make himself a busybody and proceed like Don Quixote, the Knight Errant, to fight the cause of the judgment debtor who is his customer. A judgment debtor whose money or property is seized or attached through garnishee proceedings in excess of the judgment sum has several options in law to deploy to forestall such unwarranted seizure or attachment. It is not for the garnishee to embark on any of such options, which he lacks the locus standi to embark on. The cause of action accruable to the garnishee in a garnishee proceeding is quite a limited one. It does not include his usurping the cause of action of the Judgment Debtor.”

Blogger’s Note:

The Supreme Court by the above statement further reiterated what is otherwise trite principle of law regarding garnishee proceedings. It remains a mystery why the Appellant decided to fight what the apex Court rightly described as a mischievous proxy war against a Judgment that does not concern it. Continue reading A Garnishee lacks the power to fight the cause of a Judgement Debtor.

Heads of court must prevent politicians from abuse of court process.

 

PDP v. Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff & Ors. [2017] 15 NWLR (Pt. 1588) 219 at 279-280, paras. F-B, per Rhodes-Vivour, JSC:

“The 1st respondent and his allies filed over ten suits. The Court of Appeal had this to say. The 1st appellant (i.e. 1st respondent) I agree displayed an infantile desperation to cling to office at all costs. I agree with the observation of the Court of Appeal. The 1st respondent was always driven by the implacable desire to remain in office as chairman at all cost. That desire was explored relentlessly by filing over ten suits within one year to perpetrate himself in office. Most of those suits have been abandoned. They shall forever gather dust in judicial archives and remain dusty reminders of how not to seek judicial remedy. The stakes are very high in political matters. So, if allowed, political office seekers would not hesitate to file multiplicity of suits on the same subject matter, hoping to get a favourable judgment from one court or the other. Their quest for this includes forum shopping. Heads of court must by now be aware of this trend and stop this annoying practice of assigning cases on the same subject matter to different judges, who very likely would render conflicting decisions, ending up making the judiciary a laughing stock. Trial judges must also be on the lookout, and refrain from proceeding with any case when aware that his brother judge is handling a similar matter.”

Ali Modu Sheriff

Blogger’s Note:

The facts of the above case touching on the tussle for the leadership position (National Chairman) of the Appellant party, PDP, are very much in the public domain. We will not bother with that here save to mention that after much controversy, the Supreme Court ousted the 1st Respondent from the position of the National Chairman. Continue reading Heads of court must prevent politicians from abuse of court process.

Notable Pronouncement: Supreme Court condemns trafficking in young girls.

 

Serah Ekundayo Ezekiel v. A. G. Federation [2017] 12 NWLR (Pt. 1578) 1 at 20, paras. C-E, per Nweze, JSC:

“Permit me, however, to add that it is indeed very worrisome that the insatiable allure of filthy lucre could impel a woman to traffic in young girls (whom the trial court, aptly, described as “mothers of tomorrow”) knowing fully well that the end result would be the ultimate debasement of womanhood: how immoral! how disgusting!”

Blogger’s Note:

Notwithstanding that the Appellant was a first offender, Sanusi, JSC, in his contribution, was of the position that the Appellant deserved maximum sentences for the charges. According to him, “the mere offence of trafficking in persons and more so in young persons should not be taken lightly. It is worse than slavery which was thought as an abomination and abolished.” See page 26 of the report.

Human trafficking especially in young girls (for prostitution, forced labour, and other forms of dehumanising servitude and exploitation) has become a huge problem in Nigeria. Recently, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ekweremadu, decried the high rate of the crime in the country. The Federal Government through the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has been fighting this menace (see recent reports). Even so, the situation has attracted foreign aid.

While poverty, among several other factors account for the increase in the level of this crime, Nweze, JSC believes that ‘despicable greed’ and inordinate craving for wealth inspired the Appellant in the instant case. In a seminal pronouncement, his Lordship, one of the finest Justices of the Supreme Court, stated (at page 21, paras. F-H):

“My lords, before I end this very short judgment in this appeal… permit me to avail the appellant, and all persons of her ilk, of one of those arcane insights I gained from my long and fruitful sojourn in the realm of the history of ideas. It is the profound wisdom ingrained in the aphorism which Social Ethicists left behind for an avaricious humanity, namely, amo habemo habendi crescit – the love of having increases with having. In other words, there would be no limit to the cravings for material things unless people rein in their unquenchable appetite for them. After all, they are notable only for their evanescence!”

I join the world in condemning this evil. Parents should be extremely watchful, careful and protective of their children.

Read:

Human Trafficking in Nigeria: Root Causes and Recommendations.

IMADR Briefing Paper for the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children.

Trafficking of Women and Children in Nigeria: A Critical Approach.

See more.

Featured image credit: Tribune.

On the need for our courts to always do justice – Notable pronouncement by Nnamani, JSC

Erisi v. Idika [1987] 18 NSCC (Part II) 1201 at 1208 para 20, per Nnamani, JSC:

“The courts are courts of law but may the day never come when they cease to be courts of justice…”

 

Blogger’s Note:

May that day never come!

It is in keeping with the spirit of justice that the courts are always willing to apply rules of equity whenever necessary. For instance, section 13 of the High Court Law of Lagos State, Ch. H5, Laws of Lagos State 2015 provides that where there is any conflict or variance between the rules of equity and the rules of the common law with reference to the same matter, the rules of equity shall prevail in the High Court so far as the matters to which those rules relate are cognisable by the court.