CASE SUMMARY OF:
Chief Denis C. Osadebay v. The Attorney-general of Bendel State (1991) - SC
by NSA PaulPipAr
AREA OF LAW
- Constitutional Law
Chief Denis C. Osadebay
The Attorney-general of Bendel State
LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
* FOR THE APPELLANT
* FOR THE RESPONDENT
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FACT (as relating to the issues)
The bedrock of the plaintiff's claim in the trial court was the alleged incompetence of the Military Governor to make the Forfeiture order forfeiting the plaintiff's property.
On the Plaintiff's suit to the trial court, the trial court judge held, that the suit is confronted with the provision of section 12 of the Decree No. 37 of 1968 under which the Order forfeiting his property was deemed to have been made, which ousted the jurisdiction of the court in these terms: "12. The validity of any direction, notice or order given or made, or of any other thing whatsoever done, as the case may be, under this Decree or under any enactment or other law repealed by this Decree, or the circumstance under which such direction, notice or order has been given or made or other thing whatsoever done, shall not be inquired into in any court of law, and accordingly nothing in the provisions of chapter 3 of the Constitution of the Federation shall apply in relation to any matter arising out of this Decree or out of any enactment or other law repealed by this Decree."
Hence, the trial court dismissed the suit. The Plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeal which also dismissed the appeal on the jurisdiction issue.
This is a further appeal to the Supreme Court.
1. Whether the Trial Court have the jurisdiction to entertain the suit?
RESOLUTION OF ISSUE(S)
1. THE COURT HELD AGAINST THE APPELLANT BUT IN FAVOUR OF THE RESPONDENT.
i. Accordingly, the Forfeiture Order had the force of law on 1st October, 1979 when the 1979 Constitution came into force and is an “existing law” within the meaning of Section 274(4)(b) of the Constitution. That being the case, by virtue of Section 6(6)(d) of the Constitution, the courts have no power to determine the competence of the Military Governor of Bendel State to make the Forfeiture Order. I have also shown that the main issue for determination in the Plaintiff’s claim revolves on the competence of the Military Governor to make the Forfeiture Order. The Constitution in its Section 6(6)(b) prevented the courts of law from entertaining such issue. Consequently, the Court of Appeal was right in upholding the decision of the trial court that it had no jurisdiction to adjudicate on the issue. For the foregoing reasons, the decision of the Court of Appeal is affirmed and the appeal is dismissed. N500 costs shall be awarded to the defendant.
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The constitutional limitation imposed on the exercise of judicial powers by the courts must not be breached deliberately and consciously or by the use of clever arguments if the Rule of Law is to reign in our society. - Obaseki, JSC. Osadebay v. Bendel (1991)
The end of this brief.
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