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CASE SUMMARY OF:
Inspector General Of Police v. All Nigeria Peoples Party & Ors (2007) - CA
1. Inspector General Of Police
1. All Nigeria Peoples Party
2. National Conscience Party
3. Peoples Redemption Party
4. National Democratic Party
5. Democratic Alternative
6. All Progressives Grand Alliance
7. Progressives Grand Alliance
8. Peoples Salvation Party
9. United Nigeria Peoples Party
10. Nigerian Peoples Congress
11. Movement For Democracy And Justice
12. Community Party Of Nigeria
(2007) 18 NWLR (Pt.1066) 457 C.A;
Court of Appeal
LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, J.C.A
LAWYERS WHO ADVOCATED
FOR THE APPELLANT
- Mr. Assam
FOR THE RESPONDENT
- Mr. Femi Falana
The scenario leading to instituting the action before the lower court was that the Respondents being registered political parties requested the defendant/appellant the Inspector General by a letter dated 21st May 2004 to issue police permits to their members to hold unity rallies throughout the country to protest the rigging of the 2003 elections. The request was refused, there was a violent disruption of the rally organised in Kano on the 22nd of September 2003 on the ground that no police permit was obtained.
In the circumstance, the police based the reason for the performance as violence and breach of the peace which may occur at the holding of the rally.
The germain issues before the trial court over which both parties made vigorous submissions are whether the provisions of the Public Order Act, Cap. 382, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990, particularly section 1(2), (3), (4), (5) and (6), and sections 2, 3 and 4 are inconsistent with fundamental rights to peaceful assembly and association as guaranteed in sections 39 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Article II of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, Cap. 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 on the one hand, and whether there is any provision of the Public Order Act which authorizes the Inspector General of Police to grant permit before holding rallies or to disrupt rallies. That the fundamental rights guaranteed by sections 39 and 40 of the Constitution. On the other hand, the African Charter can only be violated during a state of emergency properly declared under section 45 of the 1999 Constitution.
At the trial court, judgement was given in favour of the respondents. Hence, the appellants not satisfied with the ruling has appealed this decision before the Court of Appeal.
1. Whether in view of section 45(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the provision of the Public Order Act are not inconsistent with the said 1999 Constitution.
2. Whether it is not ultra vires for the trial court to declare the entire Public Order Act unconstitutional when the court only considered section 1, (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6), 2, 3 and 4 of the Act alleged to be inconsistent with the 1999 Constitution.
3. Whether the defendant is competent under the Public Order Act or any other law whatsoever to stop the holding of any assembly, meeting, procession or rally without permit or licence.
The Court of Appeal gave judgement in favour of the respondents, and went ahead to hold, "In the final analysis, this court has no legally justifiable reason to deem it necessary to interfere with the decision of the lower court. The appeal lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed."
On issue 1 and issue 2, the Court of Appeal, held,
"The Constitution should be interpreted in such a manner as to satisfy the yearnings of the Nigerian society. The 1999 Constitution is superior to other legislations in the country and any legislation which is inconsistent with the constitution would be rendered in operative to the extent of such inconsistency. Section 1 subsections (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), and Sections 2, 3, 4 of the Public order Act are inconsistent with the constitution - they are null and void to the extent of their inconsistency."
On issue 3, the Court of Appeal held,
"On a proper perusal of the provisions particularly Section one sub-section 1- 6, and Sections 2 - 4 there is no where the name of the Inspector General is mentioned in connection with the issuance of permit for the purpose of conducting peaceful public assemblies. Such application is to be forwarded to the governor within forty-eighty hours of holding such. The governor may delegate his powers under the Act to the commissioner of police of the state or any superior police officer of a rank not below that of a chief superintendent of police as applicable to this cases in hand."
Order 3 rule 15(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2002;
Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution;
Section 45(1) of the 1999 Constitution;
Order 3 rule 15(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2002 which stipulates as follows:
"15(1) A respondent intending to rely upon a preliminary objection to the hearing of the appeal shall give the appellant three clear days notice thereof before the hearing, setting out the grounds of objection, and shall file such notice together with twenty copies thereof with the Registrar within the same time.
(3) If the respondent fails to comply with this rule, the court may refuse to entertain the objection or may adjourn the hearing thereof at the cost of the respondent or may make such other order as it thinks fit."
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An objection which challenges the competence of the ground of appeal and the issue raised therefrom cannot be discarded as a minor one. Any issue of competence challenges the jurisdiction of court to hear and determine that particular aspect of the appeal. A ground of appeal which does not arise from the judgment of the lower court must also be discountenanced by this court and consequently struck out as an issue for the determination of an appeal must flow from the ground of appeal, while the ground filed in the appeal must be complaints against the ratio decidendi in the cases. - Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, J.C.A. Inspector General Of Police v. All Nigeria Peoples Party & Ors (2007)
I must explain at this stage that a document such as the Nigerian Constitution, which is written, cannot be interpreted following judicial decisions based on principles of common law or judicial decisions that interpreted Statutes or Constitutions which are not in materia with the provisions of the constitution. However judicial decisions based on foreign Statutes and Constitution with similar or identical provisions as the Nigerian Constitution carry some measure of weight and persuasive effect, but they lack binding effect on Nigerian principle of stare decisis. - Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, J.C.A. Inspector General Of Police v. All Nigeria Peoples Party & Ors (2007)
The constitution of any country is the embodiment of what the people desire to be their guiding light in governance, their supreme law the groundnorm of all their laws. All actions of the government in Nigeria are governed by the Constitution and it is the Constitution as the organic law of a country that declares in d formal (sic), emphatic and binding principles the rights, liberties, powers and responsibilities of the people both the governed and the government. - Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, J.C.A. Inspector General Of Police v. All Nigeria Peoples Party & Ors (2007)
The Constitution cannot be strictly interpreted like an act of the National Assembly, and it must be construed without ambiguity as it is not supposed to be ambiguous. All its provisions must be given meaning and interpretation even with the imperfection of the legal draftsman. All cannons of Constitution must be employed with great caution. A liberal approach must be adopted. Where the provisions of a statute are clear and unambiguous effects should be given to them as such unless it would be absurd to do so having regard to the nature and circumstance of the cases. The court of law is without power to import into the meaning of a word, clause or section of the Constitution or Statute what it does not say. Indeed it is a corollary to the general rule of construction that nothing is added to a statute and nothing is taken from it unless there are grounds to justify the inference that the legislature intended something which it omitted to express. The court must not or is not concerned with the result of its interpretation that is it is not the courts province to pronounce on the wisdom or otherwise of the Statute but to determine its meaning. The court must not amend any legislation to achieve a particular object or result. - Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, J.C.A. Inspector General Of Police v. All Nigeria Peoples Party & Ors (2007)
The constitutional power given to legislature to make laws cannot be used by way of condition to attain unconstitutional result.
The power given to the Governor of a State to issue permit under Public Order Act cannot be used to attain unconstitutional result of deprivation of right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. - Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, J.C.A. Inspector General Of Police v. All Nigeria Peoples Party & Ors (2007)
Freedom of speech and freedom of Assembly are part of democratic rights of every citizen of the Republic; our legislature must guard these rights jealously as they are part of the foundation upon which the government itself rests. - Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, J.C.A. Inspector General Of Police v. All Nigeria Peoples Party & Ors (2007)
The Constitution should be interpreted in such a manner as to satisfy the yearnings of the Nigerian society. - Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, J.C.A. Inspector General Of Police v. All Nigeria Peoples Party & Ors (2007)
The African charter on Human and People's Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 is a statute with, international flavour. Being so, therefore, if there is a conflict between it and another statute its provisions will prevail over those of that other statute for the reason that it is presumed that the legislature does not intend to breach an international obligation. - Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, J.C.A. Inspector General Of Police v. All Nigeria Peoples Party & Ors (2007)
The name of the appellant has been omitted from the Public order Act where there is a gap in a statute the proper remedy is an amendment of the statute by the legislature. The court can not add to or subtract from the law as enacted by the legislature under the guise of interpretation of a statute which the appellant is quietly asking this court to do. - Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, J.C.A. Inspector General Of Police v. All Nigeria Peoples Party & Ors (2007)
In present day Nigeria, clearly Police Permit has outlived its usefulness certainly in a democracy; it is the right of citizens to conduct peaceful processions, rallies or demonstrations without seeking and obtaining permission from anybody. It is a right guaranteed by the 1999 constitution and any law that attempts to curtail such right are null and void and of no consequence. - Rabiu Danlami Mohammad, J.C.A. Inspector General Of Police v. All Nigeria Peoples Party & Ors (2007)
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