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Home » Nigerian Cases » Supreme Court » Alhaji Isiyaku Yakubu Enterprises Ltd V Mr. S. B. Omolaboje (2006) LLJR-SC

Alhaji Isiyaku Yakubu Enterprises Ltd V Mr. S. B. Omolaboje (2006) LLJR-SC

Alhaji Isiyaku Yakubu Enterprises Ltd V Mr. S. B. Omolaboje (2006)

LAWGLOBAL HUB Lead Judgment Report

KUTIGI, J.S.C.

The appeal is really a simple and straightforward one. The Plaintiffs had in the High Court, holden at Yola, obtained judgment against the defendants which states in part:-

“… The defendants shall pay the N5,000 and costs of N500 as damages to the Plaintiffs on or before 12/5/1994.”

This was on 12th May, 1994. There was no appeal against the judgment.

The defendants promptly paid the sum of N5,500.00 awarded to the plaintiffs who objected and insisted that the amount awarded as damages was N5,000,000 (five million Naira) as per their writ of summons and not N5,000 (five thousand naira). In furtherance of their claim, the Plaintiffs attached some of the defendants’ properties by virtue of a writ of execution issued by the same court. In a reaction, the defendants filed a motion praying the court to set aside the writ of attachment and the execution. The plaintiffs opposed. In his ruling of 30/12/94, the learned trial Judge granted the prayers of the defendants and re-affirmed his earlier judgment of 12/5/94, that he only awarded the plaintiffs N5,000 (five thousand naira) as damages and not N5,000,000 (five million naira) as claimed by the plaintiffs.

The ruling reads in part:-

“… From both the affidavit and counter-affidavit both sides agree with me that page 7 lines 13, 14, 15 specifically says damages of N5,000 and N500 costs totaling N5,500. There is also no doubt that the judgment debtor has paid this sum since 30/6/94. The judgment creditor however relies on a judgment certificate duly signed by me on 1st November, 1994. This so called certificate was dated 1/11/94 while the judgment on page 7 lines 13, 14 and 15 is dated 12/5/94. Certainly these two are in conflict and with all due respect to the respondent’s judgment creditor, this certificate which is only a photocopy and therefore may not be the same with original cannot supersede the early clear expressed judgment which was N5,000 damages and N500 costs dated 12/5/94. Even if the original certificate of judgment reads N5m not N5,000 (I doubt if it is N5m)

I say that was a slip of the pen and is wrong and is a typing error.” (emphasis are mine).

See also  Ahmadu Lado V. The State (1999) LLJR-SC

The plaintiffs’ aggrieved by the above ruling, then appealed to the Court of Appeal holden at Jos. The Court of Appeal in a unanimous judgment dismissed the appeal and now a further appeal is lodged in this Court.

The issue before the Court of Appeal as in this Court now, was what was the actual amount of damages awarded by the trial High Court to the Plaintiffs Was it N5,000,000(five million naira) or N5,000(five thousand naira) as stated and confirmed by the trial Judge himself

The Court of Appeal said in the lead judgment on page 164 of the record as follows:-

“The trial Judge in his ruling stated that the amount of damages he awarded to the appellants was N5,000. He also stated that he awarded N500 costs to the appellant. He stated that the amount of N5m as contained in the certificate of judgment he signed was a slip of the pen, it was wrong and a typing error. This is the unchallenged evidence before us. There is nothing before us which countered the statement of the trial Judge that he awarded only N5,000 damages to the appellants. My answer to the issue is that the trial Judge awarded N5,000 as damages with N500 costs and not N5m.”

I think the Court of Appeal was right in its conclusion above. I agree with it in toto.

I ought to mention that the preliminary objection filed by the defendants/respondents was withdrawn and struck out at the commencement of hearing of the appeal.

The appeal is devoid of merit. It is accordingly dismissed with N10,000.00 costs in favour of the defendants against the plaintiffs.

See also  Nader V Board Of Customs & Excise (1965) LLJR-SC

SC.143/2001

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