Aqua Limited V. Ondo State Sports Council (1988)
LawGlobal-Hub Lead Judgment Report
The germane point raised in this appeal is the exercise of right of appeal under the provisions of Sections 220(1)(a) and (b), 221(1), 222 and 213 of the 1979 Constitution.
The facts of the case involved in the appeal can be briefly stated as follows:-
By a Writ of Summons issued out in the High Court of Justice. Ondo State, Akure Judicial Division, Akure, the plaintiff, Aqua Limited claimed against Ondo State Sports Council as follows:-
“The plaintiff’s claim is for the sum of N68,357.94 being money owing and due from the defendant to the plaintiff under a contract dated 4th May, 1978, between the plaintiff and the defendant in connection with the construction of Akure Stadium swimming pool.”
Pleadings were ordered and exchanged and issues joined. The plaintiff called one witness while the Defendant called three. The learned trial Judge after considering and evaluating the evidence adduced by the parties concluded that –
“Having regard to the reasons given above, I hold that the plaintiff’s claim for the sum of N68,357.94 being money owing and due from the defendant to the plaintiff under the said contract succeeds.”
The defendant was not satisfied with the trial Court’s decision and so it appealed against the same to the Court of Appeal. In that Court, the defendant filed the following grounds of appeal along with the Notice of Appeal-
“i. The Learned trial Judge misdirected himself on facts and came to a wrong decision when he held that the plaintiff had completed the stage one of the contract and that from the evidence before him, the plaintiff was due for the payment of the sum of N68,357.96 being 30% of the contract sum of N227 ,859.82 at the time of demand and that the defendant’s refusal to pay that sum was not justified and was contrary to the stipulations in the agreement.
Particulars of Misdirection
(a) There was evidence before the learned trial Judge that the defendant was not satisfied that the value of work performed by the plaintiff justified its demand for the second stage payment as per the terms of the contract agreement.
(b) There was evidence before the learned trial Judge that the 1st stage payment was effected only after the plaintiff had presented to the defendant a Performance Bond (Exhibit D) and not after the performance of any stage of the contract.
(c) There was evidence before the Learned trial Judge that the defendant’s refusal to pay the plaintiff the amount claimed was based on the advice of its Consultant who was employed to the knowledge of the plaintiff to supervise the plaintiff’s job and it was not alleged or proved that the defendant could not rely on the advice of its Consultant given and received bona fide.
(c) There was evidence before the Learned trial Judge that stage 2 payment was to be made “after installation of all inset concrete equipment” and Exhibit H showed that concreting was still going on months after the plaintiff had put in its claim for the said stage 2 payment.
(d) The learned trial Judge misdirected himself when he said” As a matter of fact, it was not stipulated in the agreement that the work done by the plaintiff and the materials supplied must be worth N91,143.92 before the plaintiff could be paid in respect of stage 2 of the contract” which led to wrong conclusion.
PARTICULARS OF MISDIRECTION
The evidence of the plaintiff was that at stage one the plaintiff had supplied all the pressure pipes and 75% of the equipment required for the swimming pool as a whole and that at the stage the plaintiff completed items to be buried in concrete seventy-five percent of the work required for the swimming pool from the point of view of mechanical and electrical installation had been completed.
The defendant in view of that was entitled to put value on the materials supplied as well as the amount of work done by the plaintiff before the stage 2 payment claimed could be effected.
iii. The learned trial Judge misdirected himself when he said “There is no evidence of a direct reply to that letter Exhibit C” whereas D.W.1 and D.W.2 offered evidence that the disapproval of payment was communicated to the plaintiff as soon as the defendant’s Consultant rendered the advice.
iv. The learned trial Judge misdirected himself in law and on the facts in holding that “However, it appears that there is no justification on the part of the defendant to unilaterally determine the contract in that there is no rigidity in the agreement Exhibit’ A’ as to when exactly the contract work would be completed, when no such evidence was placed before him at the trial.
v. The learned trial Judge erred in law in granting the plaintiff/respondent the relief or remedies sought when upon a proper appraisal of the evidence the plaintiff did not make a case for the said relief or remedies.
vi. The judgment is entirely against the weight of evidence.”
Learned Counsel for the plaintiff then filed a Notice of intention to rely upon preliminary objection which reads thus-
“The appeal before the court is incompetent having been filed in contravention of section 221(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979.
AND take notice that the grounds of the said objection are as follows:
- The appellant’s grounds of appeal involve question of fact and/or mixed law and facts. (Vide Page 70 line 34 – Page 73 line 19 of the record).
- No leave was sought nor was any obtained either of the Court below or of the Court of Appeal.”
The preliminary objection was taken by the Court of Appeal and after hearing learned Counsel on both sides, it ruled that there was no substance in the preliminary objection giving its reasons for pronouncing so as follows:”
That s.220(1) of the 1979 Constitution gives a right of appeal as of right to a party from a final decision of a High Court sitting as a court of first instance without leave, whether the grounds are of law, facts, or mixed law and facts.”
Learned Counsel for the appellant was not satisfied with the Ruling pronounced by the Court of Appeal and has now appealed to this Court on the following grounds of appeal –
“(1) The Court of Appeal failed to direct itself as to the legal point that sections 220(1) and 221(1), read together with the provision of section 222(b) “create two separate rights of appeal in respect of a final decision of the High Court sitting at first instance –
(a) appeal where the ground of appeal involves questions of law alone, and
(b) appeal where the ground of appeal involves questions other than law alone, such as questions of fact or mixed law and fact. In respect of (a) above no leave is required, but in respect of (b) above leave is required under section 221 (1) of the Constitution.
(2) In the absence of evidence on record that the respondent obtained leave either of the trial High Court or the Court of Appeal itself, within the period stipulated in section 25 of the Court of Appeal Act, 1976 and in accordance with order 3 Rule 3(3) of the Court of Appeal Rules 1981 (as amended) there can be no competent appeal before the Court.
ERROR IN LAW
It is an error in law for the Court of Appeal to dismiss the appellant’s preliminary Objection and to fail to strike out the respondent’s appeal on ground of incompetence.”
Learned Counsel on both sides filed and exchanged briefs. When the appeal came up for hearing on 28th March, 1988, before a panel of five Justices of this Court. it was realised that the issue raised involves application and interpretation of certain sections of the 1979 Constitution, to wit sections 220(1), 222 and 213, The issue was considered by the Court to be so fundamental, hence the appeal was adjourned to be taken by a panel of full court. Learned Counsel were also told that they could elaborate on their briefs, which they did. The Court also extended invitation to all Attorneys General in the Federation to appear as Amicus Curiae if they so wished. Only the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation responded to the open invitation by filing his brief.
The full panel of the court was constituted and the appeal was accordingly argued on 19th September 1988.
For the purposes of this appeal, henceforth, the plaintiff and the respondent shall be referred to as the appellant and the respondent respectively, while the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation shall be referred to as the Attorney-General where it is expedient to do so.
In the brief of argument filed by learned Counsel for the appellant, he formulated the issue for determination thus-
“ISSUE FOR DETERMINATION
The only issue for determination is whether the appeal before the lower Court, namely, Appeal No, C A/8/58/87, is competent, that is to say, whether the Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to entertain appeal from final decision of the High Court sitting as Court of first instance on ground, which involve questions of fact or mixed law and fact without leave either of the High Court of Trial or of the Court of Appeal itself.”
It was his contention that out of the 6 grounds of appeal filed by the respondent in the Court of Appeal against the final decision of the trial High Court, Grounds 1,2,3,4 and 6 are grounds of pure facts, while ground 5 is of mixed law and facts. He therefore submitted that, for the Notice of Appeal filed by respondent to be competent, leave of either the trial High Court or the Court of Appeal is a condition precedent.
He referred to sections 220(1)(a) and (b), 221(1) and 222(b) of the 1979 Constitution and further submitted that where the grounds of appeal involve questions other than law alone, as in the pending appeal before the Court of Appeal, the respondent must resort to section 221(1) and seek leave of either the High Court or the Court of Appeal and that such leave must be sought and obtained within the period stipulated in section 25 of the Court of Appeal Act, 1976 and in accordance with the procedure provided for in Order 3 Rule 3(2) and (3) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 1981. He submitted that the case of Harriman v Harriman (1987)3 N.W.L.R. 244 cited by learned Counsel for respondent is irrelevant to the issue raised before the Court of Appeal.
It was also the contention of learned Counsel for the appellant that there is “some doubt or conflict in the provisions in sections 220(1)(a) and 220(1)(b) of the Constitution” which he enumerated as follows-
“The obscurity or doubt arises from the fact that an appeal from a final decision of a High Court sitting as a court of first instance may be on –
(a) ground of fact,
(b) ground of mixed law and fact, or
(c) ground of law alone.
If it is the intention of legislature to confer appeal as of right from a final decision of the High Court sitting as a court of first instance, and irrespective of the ground of appeal, what then is the necessity to provide in sub-section 220(1)(b) for appeal as of right on ground of law alone If it is the intention of the legislature to confer right of appeal and as of right in any event from a final decision of a High Court sitting as a court of first instance then Sub-Section 220(1)(b) of the Constitution is an unnecessary tautology. The legislature, like equity, does nothing in vain. To find out the true intention of the legislature with regard to the two sub-sections it is necessary to subject the provisions to some well established cannons of interpretation.”
In support of the submissions above, learned Counsel referred to and relied on several decided cases, both local and foreign among which are the following:- Seward v The Vera Cruz (1884) 10 A.C. 59 at 68; Savannah Bank of Nigeria Ltd. v. Pan Atlantic Shipping and Transport Agencies Ltd. (1987) 1 S.C. 198 at 304; Edet Akpan v The State (1986) 3 N.W.L.R. (PART 27) 225 at 239-240; Ojemen & Ors. v His Highness Momodu II (1983) 3 S.C. 173; and Tukur v Government of Gongola State (1988)1 N.W.L.R. (PART 68) 39 at 48; Ogbechie & qrs. v. Onochie & Ors. (1986) 2 N.W.L.R. 484 at 493.
He also submitted that the statement credited to UDO UDOMA, J.S.C. in Rabiu Nafiu v The State (1980)8-11 S.C. 130 at 156 lines 20-25 on the interpretation of section 220(1)(b) could be nothing but a mere slip. He finally urged this Court to allow the appeal.
In the brief of argument filed by learned Counsel for the Respondent he formulated two issues for determination and these are –
“(i) Whether the decision of Ojuolape J. in suit No. AK/46/84 given on 28th April, 1986 was a final decision in accordance with section 220(1)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 1979.
(ii) Whether section 220(1)(a) of the Constitution should be construed in conjunction with section 221(1) of the same Constitution.
The first issue deals with the question whether the decision of the learned trial Judge was a final decision while the other deals with the question whether section 220(1)(a) should be read together with section 221(1) of the Constitution. as argued in the first brief filed by the appellant.
On the first issue, it was his submission that the decision of the learned trial Judge is a final decision and in support of that he cited and relied on the following decided cases -Bozson v Altrincham Urban District Council (1903) 1 K.B. 547 or (1903) 1 Q.B. 574; Ude v. Agu (1961)1 ALL N.L.R. 65; Blay v Solomon 12 W.A.C.A. 175 and Akinsanya v. U.B.A. Ltd. (1986) 4 N.W.LR. 273 at 299.
On the interpretation of sections 220(1) and 221 (1) of the Constitution, he submitted that each section stands by itself independent of the other as each creates a different situation for an appeal. He said whereas section 220(1) provides for instances for appeal as of right, section 221 confers right of appeal only with leave. He said the wording of the two sections are so plain to admit any other construction. He referred to MAXWELL on Interpretation of Statutes (11th Edition) p. 164; CRAINES on Statute Law, (7th Edition) p.222; Cowper – Essex v. Action London Borough (1889) A.C. 153 at 169; A.I. Wilson v. A.G. Bendel State and Ors. (1985)1 N.W.L.R. (Pt.4) 572; African Newspapers of Nigeria Limited & Ors. v. Federal Republic of Nigeria (1985)2 N.W.L.R. (Pt.6) 137, and A.G. Kaduna State v. Mallam Umaru Hassan (1985) 2 N.W.L.R. (Pt.8) 483 and a host of other authorities in support of his submissions. In conclusion, he submitted that the authorities cited and relied upon by the appellant do not help his case and are not apposite.
As I have earlier on said, at the invitation of this Court the learned Attorney-General of the Federation filed brief as amicus curiae. In the brief, he formulated the following issue for determination –
“Whether an appeal against a final judgment given by a High Court in a civil case and sitting at first instance on grounds of mixed law and facts alone falls under Section 220(1)(a) of the Constitution and therefore lies as of right or whether it falls under Section 221(1) of the Constitution in which case leave of the High Court or the Court of Appeal to bring it is a pre-requisite.”
It was his submission that section 220(1)(a) of the 1979 Constitution did not only confer a general right of appeal without leave in civil matters from a final decision of a High Court sitting at first instance on grounds of law alone, facts or mixed law and facts, but also confers such a right in criminal matters. He also argued that section 220(1)(b) of the 1979 Constitution confers a general right of appeal in non-final decision of a High Court where the ground of appeal involves question of law alone. As for section 221(1) of the Constitution, he submitted that it deals with interlocutory decisions of a High Court involving ground of fact or mixed law and facts, and appeal from decision of a High Court involving either facts or mixed law and facts in ‘double appeals” – that is in final decision of a High Court on appeal from a subordinate court, involving facts or mixed law and facts. In support of these submissions, learned Counsel representing the Attorney-General cited and relied on Nafiu Rabiu v. The State (1980) 8-11 S.C. 130, particularly at pages 156 – 157. He concluded his arguments by submitting that the cases cited by the appellant are not relevant to the decision of this appeal and should be discountenanced.
The appellant conceded in his brief and oral arguments in elaboration, that the decision being appealed against and still pending in the Court of Appeal, is a final decision of the trial High Court sitting at first instance. There is therefore no need to flog this point any further.
In Nafiu Rabiu v. The State (1981)2 N.C.L.R. 293 in his concurring judgment, Udo Udoma, J.S.C., made this important judicial pronouncement on the interpretation of the 1979 Constitution wherein he said at page 326 –
“My Lords, in my opinion, it is the duty of this Court to bear constantly in mind the fact that the present Constitution has been proclaimed the supreme Law of the land ….. And where the question is whether the Court has used an expression in the wider or in the narrower sense, in my view, this Court should whenever possible, and in response to the demands of justice lean to the broader interpretation, unless there is something in the or in the rest of the Constitution to indicate that the narrower interpretation will best carry out the objects and purposes of the Constitution.
My Lords, it is my view that the approach of this Court to the construction should be, and so it has been, one of liberalism, probably a variation on the theme of the general maxim ‘ut res magis valeat quam pereat’. I do not conceive it to be the duty of this Court to construe any of the provisions of the Constitution as to defeat the obvious ends the Constitution was designed to serve where another construction equally in accord and consistent with the words and sense of such provisions will serve to enforce and protect such ends.”
Bearing in mind the guidelines provided in the passages quoted supra, I shall now go into the crux of this appeal which involves the application and interpretation of sections 220(1)(a) and (b), 221(1) and 222(b) of the 1979 Constitution.
Section 220(1)(a) and (b) of the Constitution provides as follows:-
“220 – (1) An appeal shall lie from decisions of a High Court to the Court of Appeal as of right in the following cases:-
(a) Final decisions in any civil or criminal proceedings before the High Court sitting at first instance:
(b) Where the grounds of appeal involves question of law alone, decisions in any civil or criminal proceedings.”
Under (a) supra, all that is required before a person exercises the right conferred by that sub-section is that the decision being appealed against is a final decision of a High Court sitting as court of first instance. The appellant has already conceded this. It does not matter whether the ground involves law, facts or mixed law and facts.
As regards Section 220(1) (b) supra, it has been provided to cater for appeals against
(i) the decision of a High Court in non-final decision involving question of law alone; and
(ii) decisions given by a High Court when not sitting as a court of first instance. that is on appeals coming before it from subordinate courts. otherwise coined as “double appeals.”
In other words, it caters for appeals in interlocutory decisions and decision in double appeals involving pure questions of law only.
From the above. it becomes clear that sub-sections (1)(a) and (b) arc provided to cater for two different situations. They are disjunctive.
The next section that came into focus in the arguments of learned Counsel is section 221 (l). It states thus –
“221 (1) Subject to the provisions of Section 220 of this Constitution, an appeal shall lie from decisions of a High Court to the Court of Appeal with leave of the High Court or the Court of Appeal.”
This section caters for situations other than those covered by section 220(1) of the Constitution. To be more explicit. it is meant to cover –
(i) appeals in interlocutory decisions of the High Court involving facts or mixed law and facts; and
(ii) appeals in final decisions of the High Court in “double appeals”, involving facts or mixed law and facts.
In any of the two situations mentioned supra. a person wishing to appeal must first obtain leave of the High Court or the Court of Appeal. It is a condition precedent to the validity of such appeal.
The rights conferred by sections 220 and 221 of the Constitution must be exercised in accordance with any Act of the National Assembly and rules of court for the time being in force regulating the powers. practice and procedure of the Court of Appeal. The relevant law and rules mentioned in Subsection 222(b) of the Constitution are-
- The Court of Appeal Act 1976 and
- The Court of Appeal Civil Procedure Rules. 1981. Section 25 of the Act provides as follows –
“25.-(1) Where a person desires to appeal to the Court of Appeal he shall give notice of appeal or notice of his application for leave to appeal in such manner as may be directed by rules of court within the period prescribed by the provision of sub-section
(2) of this section that is applicable to the case.
(2) The periods for the giving of notice of appeal or notice of application for leave to appeal are –
(a) in an appeal in a civil cause or matter, fourteen days where the appeal is against an interlocutory decision and three months where the appeal is against a final decision;
(b) in an appeal in a criminal cause or matter ninety days from the date of the decision appealed against.”
The relevant order of the Rules referred to by both sections 222(b) of the Constitution and 25(1) of the Court of Appeal Act, 1976 is Order 3. Rule 2 of the Order regulates the procedure of filing notice and grounds of appeal while rule 3 deals with applications and conditions attached thereto.
Where the appeal is as of right as stipulated in section 220(1) (a) and (b) of the Constitution, the appellant is required to file his notice and grounds of appeal within –
(a) 14 days in interlocutory appeals;
(b) 3 months in final decisions in civil matters; and
(c) 90 days in final decisions in criminal matters.
In the light of my preceding analysis of the sections of the Constitution, the Court of Appeal Act and the Court of Appeal Rules (supra), the interpretation propounded by learned Counsel for the appellant, though ingenuously presented, is not tenable, having regard to the clear wordings of the sections and the judicial interpretation of the same by this Court in its previous decisions. And as pointed out by learned Counsel for the Respondent the cases cited by the appellant and the sections of the Court of Appeal Act and the Rules of that Court are of no help to his case.
In construing a statute, it is the duty of the Court to ascertain the meaning of the words actually used by reading them in their ordinary grammatical sense and to give them effect, unless such construction would lead to some absurdity or inconvenience, or would be plainly repugnant to the intention to be collected from other part of the statute. See Fowell v. Trainer 3 H & C 458 and Caledonian Railway Cop. Co. v. N. British Railway Co. 6 A.C. 114 at 131.
The wordings of sections 220(1)(a) and (b) and 221(1) are in my view so clear as to give no room for any ambiguity. Each subsection creates a separate right of appeal independent of the other and section 220(1)(b) is not a mere surplusage, section 220(1) provides for situations where a litigant can appeal as of right, while S. 221(1) applies to situations other than those covered by section 220(1). See Nafiu Rabiu v. The State (supra) and Irene Harriman v. Hope Harriman (1987) 3 N.W.L.R. 244 at 254 where Uwais, J.S.C., said-
“On close examination of sections 220(1) and 221(1) of the 1979 Constitution one is bound to come to the conclusion that the 1979 Constitution has created two rights of appeal, from any decision of a High Court, to the Court of Appeal. In other words, in any single case one may appeal to the Court of Appeal as of right under section 220(1) or with the leave of Court under section 221(1) of the Constitution.”
The court will always construe a statute or any written instrument consisting of diverse parts or clauses, by looking at the whole so as to ascertain and carry out the intention of the legislature; and by reading section 220 as a whole, it is easily comprehensible that sub-section 220(1)(b) is a special provision and an exception to the general right created by section 220(1)(a). See MAXWELL on Interpretation of Statutes (11th Edition) page 164 where the principle is thus stated –
“Where a general intention is expressed and also a particular intention which is incompatible with the general one, the particular intention is considered an exception to the general one.”
The distinctive features in section 220(1)(a) are the word “final” and the expression “first instance.”
In Nafiu Rabiu v The State (supra), Idigbe, J.S.C., while interpreting sections 220, 221 and 222 of the 1979 Constitution in his lead judgment, had this to say at pages 305 to 306-
“The 1979 Constitution gave a general right of appeal, that is, a right of appeal as of right on law and facts (and this includes mixed law and facts) from decisions in Criminal Law given by the High Court sitting at first instance. This right is contained in subsection (1)(a) of Section 220; and it is the first time in the legal history of this country that such a right of appeal has been given to a party in criminal proceedings. In the former Constitutions (1960 and 1963) such a general right was confined to decisions in civil proceedings and was not available to a party in criminal proceedings.
A right of appeal as of right enured for the benefit of a party in criminal proceedings on questions of law alone from a decision of the High Court sitting at first instance (see Sections 110(2)(b) of the 1960 Constitution, and prior to the Amending Decree (No.2) of No. 42 of 1976 – Section 117(2)(b) of the 1963 Constitution) the latter right was removed by Act No. 42 of 1976). A right of appeal by leave (and not as of right) on facts or mixed law and facts enured for the benefit of such a party by virtue of Sub-section (4)(b) of Section 110 of the 1960 Constitution and – prior to Act 42 of 1976 – by Sub-section (4)( a) of Section 117 of the 1963 Constitution. However, in the 1979 Constitution, this general right of appeal is confined only to final decisions of the High Court sitting at first instance.
With very great respect to their Lordships of the Court of Appeal, I do not share their view (as expressed in the leading judgment of Nasir P) that the contention of Chief Williams that Sub-section (1)(b) of Section 220 of the 1979 Constitution ‘only permits an appeal from non-final decision is untenable.’ In my view, the submission of Chief Williams is, indeed, tenable. Here, again: a close examination of the provisions of the 1960 and 1963 Constitution will show that for the first time in the legal history of this country (i.e. by the 1979 Constitution) a right of appeal – as of right and not by leave of court – has by Sub-section (1)(b) of Section 220 aforesaid, been given to ‘parties or litigants on question of law alone but, as it appears to me, only in (1) non-final (i.e. interlocutory) decisions and (2) in decisions given by the High Court – whether in civil or criminal proceedingsl; when not sitting at first instance (i.e. in a case of ‘double appeals’ which really are appeals coming before the High Court from lower Courts).
Prior to the 1979 Constitution a party appealing from a decision which falls into the second category, that is, in the case of ‘double appeals’ in civil or criminal proceedings, whether on point of law , facts or mixed facts and law, could only do so by leave of the court.”
In the decision (supra) the sections were construed in relation to the rights of appeal in criminal matters. The same is true and applicable as regards rights of appeal in civil matters save that even under the previous constitutions this general right of appeal existed in final decisions of the High Court sitting at first instance. The present provisions extended the right of appeal as of right to even non-final decisions and in cases of double-appeal, involving points of law alone.
Learned Counsel for the appellant by his proposition is in fact asking this Court to revert to the positions as they were under the previous constitutions. Where an Act has been passed to change the law its operation shall not be minimised or neutralized by introducing notions taken from or inspired by the old law which the words of the Act intended to abrogate See Rose v. Ford (1937) A.C. 826.
As regards the provision of section 213 of the Constitution which deals with the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, learned Counsel urged this Court to construe sections 220, 221(1) and 222(b) of the Constitution by ascribing to them the meaning given to section 213 by this Court. since the provisions of the sections are in pari materia.
It is a sound rule of construction to assign the same meaning to the same words occurring in different parts of an Act. See Courtauld v. Legh (1869) L.R. 4 Exch 126. But this principle that words have consistent meanings within one statute is no more than a presumption and it will only apply if “sufficient reason can be assigned, for construing the word in one part of the Act in a different sense from that which it bears in another part of the Act” – per TURNER LJ in Re National Savings Bank (1886) LRI CH. 547.
It is necessary to consider the various parts of a statute and the varying weight to be given to each part. Without dwelling much on this point, I shall only say that while I accept that section 213(2). (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e), is in general, in pari materia with provisions contained in sections 220(1)(b), (c). (d). (e), (f) and 221(1), the situations envisaged are not the same. Apart from the appellate jurisdiction conferred on the Supreme Court by section 213, section 212 vests it with original jurisdiction in instances mentioned therein. It is also the final court of appeal. The Court of Appeal is an intermediary Court of Appeal with no original jurisdiction. The only thing they share in common is the right to hear appeal from the courts subordinate to them when such rights are conferred by the Constitution or any other enactment.
In summary, the position of the law may be thus stated – under Section 220(1)(a) a general right of appeal to the Court of Appeal as of right from a final decision of the High Court exercising original jurisdiction enures to a litigant in both civil and criminal proceedings irrespective of the nature of the grounds of Appeal; and under section 220(1)(b) in non-final decisions as I well as in double-appeals where the grounds of appeal involve issues of law alone; and in all cases other than those mentioned in sections 220(1)(c), (d) (e), (f) and (g), with the leave of either the High Court or the Court of Appeal.
The appeal fails and it is accordingly dismissed with N500.00 costs to the Respondent. The
Ruling of the Court of Appeal Ibadan, dated 10th November, 1987 is hereby affirmed.
Other Citation: (1988) LCN/2374(SC)