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THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA v. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ANAMBRA STATE

(2017) LPELR-43491(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 15th day of December, 2017

SC.876/2015(R)


Before Their Lordships

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMINA ADAMU AUGIE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

PAUL ADAMU GALINJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA - Appellant(s)

AND

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ANAMBRA STATE - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the Original Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

FACTS:
By an endorsement on the Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim, the Plaintiff/respondent, while invoking the Original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, prayed as follows:
"(a) A Declaration that the 148.337 Hectares of land at Amansea, Awka North Local Government Area, Anambra State, comprising Federal Government sites and services scheme, Amansea/Awka was lawfully acquired by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1992, under the Land Use Act of 1978 (as amended).
(b) A Declaration that the Federal Government of Nigeria had duly paid the required compensation that was assessed to the knowledge of and active collaboration with the Anambra State Government.
(c) A Declaration that the Federal Government of Nigeria had duly granted Statutory Rights of Occupancy to her Allotees and Development Partners' members of the public and Original land owners to the knowledge of and active collaboration with the Anambra State Government.
(d) A Declaration that the Revocation of the Federal Government of Nigeria's Right and interest over the said Federal Government Sites and Services Scheme, Amansea/Awka, measuring 148.337 Hectares of land by the Anambra State Government vide a Public Notice dated 1st September, 2014, is wrongful, unlawful, null, void and of no effect whatsoever as same is neither supported by any extant law in force in Nigeria, nor done for any justifiable reasons
(e) A PERPETUAL IN]UNCTION restraining the Anambra State Government whether by itself, its agents, servant, representatives, or privies, howsoever, from further interfering with the right and interests of the Federal Government of Nigeria and her Allotees and development partners over the said Federal Government Sites and Services Scheme, Amansea /Awka,
(f) A Declaration that the purported Revocation of the Federal Government of Nigeria's Right and Interests over the said Federal Government Sites and Services Scheme Amansea/Awka, measuring 748.337 Hectres of land by the Anambra State Government, vide a Public Notice dated 1st September, 2014, is null, void and of no effect whatsoever as the Plaintiff was never served the purported Notice of Revocation as required by the Land Use Act, 1978.
(g) A Declaration that the purported Revocation of the Federal Government of Nigeria's Rights and Interests over the said Federal Government Sites and Services Scheme, Amansea/Awka, measuring 148.337 Hectres of land by the Anambra State Government, vide a Public Notice dated 1st September, 2014, is null, void and of no effect whatsoever, since the Defendant merely purportedly assigned same Sites and Services Scheme to profit-driven Private Developer, and not for any public purpose howsoever.
(h) 50 Billion Naira only being Exemplary and Aggravated Damages suffered by the Federal Government of Nigeria by the unconscionable actions of the Defendant resulting in disruptions of the lawful activities of the Federal Government of Nigeria and her Allotees aid Development partners over the said Federal Government Sites and Services Scheme at Amansea/Awka, Anambra State.
(i) Cost of the Suit."

The defendant/applicant filed a motion pursuant to Section 232 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Section 97 and 99 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act, praying for an order striking out the suit for want of jurisdiction on the ground that the dispute does not involve Nigeria as a Federation on the one hand and Anambra State Government on the other, but rather involves a dispute between the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development over allocation of land made by the Governor of Anambra State.

The Plaintiff/Respondent opposed the application by filing a counter affidavit of six paragraphs and a written address. It urged the Court to refuse the application

ISSUES:
The following single issue for determination was resolved in the appeal:
"Whether the suit before the Supreme Court which is essentially a dispute between the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and the Governor of Anambra State over the control of land in Amansea town, Anambra State is a dispute between the Federation of Nigeria and Anambra State so as to come within the Original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Nigeria."

DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the application was granted and the suit was struck out.


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