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ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION & ORS v. THE PUNCH NIGERIA LIMITED & ANOR

(2019) LPELR-47868(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 14th day of June, 2019

SC.53/2007


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

PAUL ADAMU GALUMJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

1. ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION
2. INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE
3. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE LAGOS STATE
4. STATE SECURITY SERVICE
5. CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF - Appellant(s)

AND

1. THE PUNCH NIGERIA LIMITED
2. BOLA BOLAWOLE
(EDITOR PUNCH NEWSPAPERS) - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on civil procedure.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, dismissing appellants' appeal against the decision of the Federal High Court, Lagos, handed down on 29th July, 1994.

On 14th June, 1994, the respondents obtained leave of the trial Court to enforce their fundamental rights, pursuant to Section 42 (1) and (2) of the 1979 Constitution as amended by Decree No.107 of 1993, Order 1 Rule 2(1), (3) and (6) and Order 4 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 1979 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the Court as preserved by Section 6 (b) of the 1979 Constitution, as amended. Applicants thereafter sought declaratory reliefs, injunctive reliefs, mandatory orders and damages.

After series of adjournments, the trial Court heard the application, granted the declaratory reliefs, awarded the sum of N25million (twenty five million Naira) damages against the appellants for the illegal and unconstitutional sealing up, invasion and subsequent stoppage and/or disruption of lawful activities of the 1st respondent, and the sum of N100,000 (one hundred thousand Naira) as damages for unlawful
detention of the 2nd applicant/respondent. Dissatisfied, appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

On 10 August, 1994, the appellants filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal. On 4, June, 1999, the respondents filed an application before the Court of Appeal, praying for an order dismissing the appeal of the appellants for want of diligent prosecution, as no further step had been taken after the appeal was filed by the appellants. The application was heard and the appeal was dismissed on the 18th day of March, 2004. Appellants' application before the Court of Appeal, praying for an Order setting aside the Order of dismissal was dismissed. Appellants therefore appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
Appellants formulated one issue for determination as follows:
"Whether the Court below was right in dismissing the appellants' application to set aside its ruling dismissing the appellants' appeal."
DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal.


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