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GARY ENWO-IGARIWEY & ANOR v. DR. ALEX ANOZIE & ORS

(2018) LPELR-45766(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Thursday, the 18th day of October, 2018

CA/IB/M.545/2014(R)


Before Their Lordships

JIMI OLUKAYODE BADA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

HARUNA SIMON TSAMMANI Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

FOLASHADE OJO Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

1. GARY ENWO-IGARIWEY
(President General, Ohaneze Ndigbo)
(For himself and on behalf of OHANEZE NDIGBO)
2. H.R.M; EZE (DR.) C. I. ILOMUANYA, CON.
(Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers,
South East) (For himself and on behalf of
South East Council of Traditional Rulers). - Appellant(s)

AND

1. DR. ALEX ANOZIE
2. CHIEF NDIDI E. NZEAKO
3. CHIEF ALLOY OKWUDILI CHUKWU OBI
4. MR. ADOLF OKOLI
5. CHIEF GABRIEL IHESULO
6. MR. ANDREW DURU
7. MR. JOHN IDOKO
8. MR. FELIX IGBOANUGO - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This is a ruling on an application for leave to appeal as an Interested Party.
FACTS:
By a Motion on Notice dated the 25th day of November, 2014 and filed on the 26th day of November, 2014, the Applicant asked the Court to grant the orders:

1. Extending the time within which Applicants may seek leave of this Honourable Court to appeal as interested parties against the judgment of Honourable Justice M.A.A. Abass of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan delivered on 18th day of February, 2014 in Suit No: I/167/2011.
2. Granting leave to Applicants to appeal as interested parties against the Judgment of Honourable Justice M.A.A. Abass of Oyo State High Court, Ibadan delivered on 18th day of February, 2014 in Suit No: I/167/2011.
3. Extending the time within which the Applicants may file Notice of Appeal as interested parties against the Judgment of Honourable Justice M.A.A. Abass of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan delivered on 18th day of February, 2014 in Suit No: I/167/2011.
???4. Granting leave to the parties interested/Applicants to file the Notice of Appeal in the Registry of this Honourable Court since the Record of Appeal had been transmitted to this Honourable Court by the Registry of the Lower Court.
Such order or further orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances. 

The Application was predicated on the following Grounds:
(i) The Learned Trial Judge at the Lower Court made findings and pronouncements against the Applicants who were not parties to the case before him in respect of which the Applicants were dissatisfied.
(ii) The Applicants could not apply to the Court below for leave to appeal as interested parties as the Appeal had been entered in this Honourable Court before Applicants instructed counsel following compilation and transmission of Record of Appeal shortly after filing Notice of Appeal which was filed less than a week after delivery of the judgment.
(iii) The Applicants in filing leave to Appeal before this Honourable Court also filed Notice of Appeal which was exhibited and sought to be deemed in reliance on the decision of the Supreme Court in Suit SC: 32/2005 - Alhaji Mohammed Maina Waziri v. Ibrahim Tahir Gumel and Anor reported in (2012) All FWLR (pt. 632) 1660 at 1670 EH with expectation that the Application before this Court could be taken before the time limited for filing Appeal expired but the vacation set in before the matter could be listed. 
(iv) This fresh Application is necessary in view of the fact that the time within which the Notice of Appeal could be filed had expired, making it imperative to seek extension of time to seek leave to appeal and extension of time to appeal as interested parties.

The Motion was supported by an Affidavit of 23 paragraphs to which were annexed 6 exhibits marked as Exhibits A, B, C, D, E and F respectively. Upon receipt of the 1st and 2nd Respondents' Counter-Affidavit, the Applicants filed a Further-Affidavit of 12 paragraphs. Attached to the Further-Affidavit are 5 exhibits marked as Exhibits SPN, SPN1, SPN2, JDGT and LTT respectively. In opposition to the Application, the 1st & 2nd Respondents filed a Counter-Affidavit 19 paragraphs. Considering the contentious nature of the Application, the Court ordered the parties to file Written Addresses. The Applicants' Written Address dated the 29/1/2018 was filed on the 13/2/2018. The Applicants filed a Written Reply on points of law.  It was dated and filed on the 27/2/2018. The 3rd - 8th Respondents did not oppose the Application and so did not file any Written Address.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the application on this sole issue couched as follows:
"Whether it will not be in the interest of justice for this Honourable Court to exercise her discretion in granting the application to enable the Applicants exercise their right donated by Section 243(1)(4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to appeal as interested parties. "

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court found merit in the application and accordingly granted same.


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