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CHIEF OLISA METUH v. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA & ANOR

(2018) LPELR-43706(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 9th day of February, 2018

SC.457/2016(CONSOLIDATED)


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

CHIEF OLISA METUH
-SC.457/2016

AND

DESTRA INVESTMENTS LIMITED
-SC.470/2016 - Appellant(s)

AND

1. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
2. DESTRA INVESTMENTS LIMITED
-SC.457/2016

AND

1. CHIEF OLISA METUH
2. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
-SC.470/2016 - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Civil Procedure.
FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division.

The appellants in the two appeals stand trial at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, hereinafter referred to as the trial Court, on a seven count money laundering charge. On their arraignment, they pleaded not guilty to the charge. The respondent led eight witnesses through whom several documents were admitted in evidence to establish its case against the appellants. At the close of the respondent's case, the appellants made a no case submission and urged the trial Court to discharge them. In a considered ruling delivered on the 9th March 2016, the trial Court dismissed appellants' no case submission and ordered them to enter their defence. Aggrieved by the trial Court's dismissal of their no case submission, the appellants separately filed their notices of appeal, containing the same grounds, against the ruling on 23rd March 2016 at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, hereinafter referred to as the Lower Court. 

The respondent had earlier filed a preliminary objection against the competence of the appeals and prayed the Lower Court to determine same on the basis of its lone issue therefrom that reads:-
"Whether the notices of appeal of the appellants against the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja on the no case submission filed without leave of the Court is competent." 

Notwithstanding the fact of its upholding respondent's preliminary objection, the Lower Court being the penultimate Court, all the same resolved the lone issue it preferred in the determination of the appeal in favour of the respondent and dismissed the appeals.

Further aggrieved, the Appellants appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The Court considered the following lone issue in the determination of the appeal:

1. Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal were wrong when they struck out the appeal on the ground that all the Grounds of Appeal filed by the Appellant were grounds of mixed law and fact for which prior leave of Court was required by virtue of Section 242(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). 

DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision, held the appeal to be incompetent and struck out same.


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