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BARBUS & COMPANY NIGERIA LIMITED & ANOR v. MRS. GLADYS OYIBOKA OKAFOR-UDEJI

(2018) LPELR-44501(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 18th day of May, 2018

SC.103/2010


Before Their Lordships

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUDIRAT MOTONMORI OLATOKUNBO KEKERE-EKUN Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

EJEMBI EKO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

1. BARBUS & COMPANY (NIG) LTD
2. ICHIE PIUS CHIANUMBA IKPO - Appellant(s)

AND

MRS. GLADYS OYIBOKA OKAFOR-UDEJI
[Substituted for MR. AZUKA JOSEPH OKAFOR-UDEJI (Deceased)) - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Civil Procedure.
FACTS:
The Respondent herein, who was applicant at the trial Court, commenced an action at the Federal High Court, Lagos, by notice of an Originating Motion dated 30th August, 2004 seeking certain reliefs. The Respondent (as applicant) also filed a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction on the same date. Both applications were supported respectively by 22 and 24 paragraph affidavit and Exhibits. The Appellants herein, who were respondents at the trial Court, on 19th November, 2004, filed a notice of preliminary objection to the originating motion on notice and counter affidavit to the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction. The 22 paragraph affidavit/counter affidavit had two exhibits. In reply, the respondent filed a further and better affidavit and counter affidavit both dated 15th December, 2004.

The Notice of Preliminary objection dated 19th November, 2004 sought to dismiss the suit on the following grounds:-
(a) That there was no reasonable cause of action.
(b) That the Respondent herein lacked the locus standi to institute the action.
(c) That the suit was not properly constituted. 
(d) That the action is incompetent.

With the consent of counsel for both parties, the trial Court heard both the originating motion and the preliminary objection together. In a considered Ruling delivered on the 24th day of June, 2005, the learned trial Judge held that the plaintiffs originating motion had no merit and  dismissed same. 

Dissatisfied with the above decision of the learned trial Judge, the Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeal and in its judgment delivered on the 16th day of July, 2009, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, set aside the judgment of the trial Federal High Court and remitted the case back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for assignment to another Judge to determine the matter on merit.

The appellants herein were also dissatisfied with the judgment of the Court of Appeal hence this appeal. The Respondent cross appealed.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on the Appellants' issues as follows:
1. Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal were right in overruling the decision of the trial Court that the suit discloses no reasonable cause of action.
2. Whether the learned Justices of the lower Court were right in overruling the decision of the trial Court that the Respondent has no locus standi to institute this action.

DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the Court held that the appeal lacked merit and it was accordingly dismissed. The Cross appeal was also dismissed. Consequently, the decision of the Court of Appeal was affirmed.


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