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CHROME AIR SERVICES LIMITED & ORS v. FIDELITY BANK

(2017) LPELR-43470(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 15th day of December, 2017

SC.817/2014


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. CHROME AIR SERVICES LIMITED
2. CHROME OIL SERVICES LIMITED
3. SIR EMEKA OFFOR - Appellant(s)

AND

FEDELITY BANK - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Civil procedure.

FACTS:
The appellants were the plaintiffs at the trial Court. They were also the appellants at the Lower Court. The Respondent was the defendant and respondent respectively at those Courts.

By a Writ of Summons and Statement of claim filed on the 24th day of November, 2009 the Plaintiffs (now Appellants) claimed against the Defendant (now Respondent) as follows:-
I. A declaration that the Plaintiffs are not indebted to the Defendant in any sum of money whatsoever whether in local or foreign currency.
II. The sum of N100, 000,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira) in favour of the 1st plaintiff being general damages for detinue.
III. An order of Court mandating the Defendant to return to the 1st Plaintiff Certificate of Occupancy Nos. FCT/ABU/CR.296 in respect of Plot No. 756 Maitama A5 District, measuring approximately 2189.30 square meters and FCT/ABU/NG488 in respect of plot No. 71A3, Garki II District, measuring approximately 1195.06 square meters which the 1st plaintiff deposited with the Defendant in respect of overdraft which his been fully liquidated.
IV. An order of Court mandating the Defendant to return to the 1st plaintiff Recertification Acknowledgement letters it received from the Abuja Geographical Information System in respect of recertification of the title documents prayed in (3) above.
V. Interest at the rate of 10% per annum on judgment sum from the date of judgment until judgment sum is fully liquidated by the defendant.
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Upon been served with the plaintiffs claim, the Defendant filed their statement of Defence and also Counter Claimed against the Plaintiffs and Sir Emeka Offor KSM (who was joined by leave of Court) as follows:
a. The sum of N17,099,169.99 (Seventeen Million and Ninety Nine Thousand, One Hundred and Sixty Nine Naira Ninety Nine Kobo only) being the outstanding due to the Defendant/Counter Claimant from the 1st and 3rd Defendants.
b. Interest at the rate of 38% per annum from the 17th June, 1999 till date of judgment and 10% thereafter until full payment.
c. An order of Specific Performance by the payment of the sum of $1,000.000 (One Million US Dollars) by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants to Defendant/Counter Claimant.
d. Interest at the rate of 38% per annum from the 17th June, 1999 till date of judgment and 10% thereafter until full payment.
e. An order of foreclosure and sale of all that property located at Plot 755 Maitama A5, District measuring about 2189.30 square meters covered by Certificate of Occupancy No. FCT/ABU/CR.296 in liquidation of the debts owed by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants.
f. An order foreclosure and sale of all that property located at Plot 71 A3, Garki II District measuring about 1195.06 square meters covered by Certificate of Occupancy No. FCT/ABU/NG498 in liquidation of the debts owed by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants.
g. An order of foreclosure and sale of all that property located at Plot No. 505 Cadastral Zone A0 in Abuja measuring about 3940.85 square meters covered by Certificate of Occupancy No. FCT/ABU/MISC-5178 in liquidation of the debts owed by 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants.
h. Cost of this action.

Both sides called oral evidence, one witness each, at the trial Court. At the close of their respective cases and final addresses the trial Court delivered a reserved judgment. In the judgment the trial Court held as a fact that the appellants, as plaintiffs, were no longer indebted to the defendant/respondent in any sum in Naira denomination, and that in US Dollar Denomination, however, the 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs/appellants were still liable in the sum of $1,000,000.00 USD to the defendant/respondent. The appellants unsuccessfully appealed that finding. This further appeal is against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division (the Lower Court), that affirmed the decision of the trial Court and dismissed the appeal of the appellants before it.

Aggrieved by the decision of the lower Court, the Appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

In the Respondent's Brief, filed on 30th January, 2015, the Respondent raised preliminary objection to the competence of the appeal.


ISSUES:
The Respondent raised the following issue in the Preliminary Objection viz:

"Whether the Appellant's appeal is competent?"

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Supreme Court allowed the preliminary objection. Consequently, the appeal being incompetent was accordingly struck out.



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