Nigerian Cases on Extension of Time
Below are rationes decidendi on Extension of Time from Nigerian cases. The granting of an extension of time is at the discretion of the court.
When Extension of Time can arise
NDP v. INEC (2012) 14 NWLR (Pt. 1319) 176
An extension of time can only arise where there is a time to be extended. In the instant case, the first time table had no legal effect to warrant an extension of time. In the instant case, the first time table published by the respondent had no legal effect to warrant extension of time.
Delay and Extension of Time
Okonji v. Njokanma (1989) 4 NWLR (Pt. 114) 161
A few days out of time for the doing of an act cannot amount to inordinate delay to preclude the granting of an extension of time by the court. In this case, the appellants were entitled to an extension of time as they were only five days out of time before seeking extension of time to file their brief and this did not amount to inordinate delay.
Extension of Time to Appeal
MR. VICTOR ADELEKAN V ECU-LINE NV (2006) Legalpedia (SC) 91710
“It is settled law that where an appeal requires leave of court and time within which to lodge the appeal has also expired as in the instant appeal, the intending appellant must, in seeking leave to appeal also pray for extension of time within which to appeal in addition to seeking extension of time within which to apply for leave and leave to appeal”. (Onnoghen JSC)
TOMPOLO v. FRN (2019) LPELR-47435(SC)
“In an application for extension of time to appeal, the applicant must explain the cause of the delay in appealing timeously and he must also show arguable and not frivolous grounds of appeal even though he is not required to show that his appeal will succeed. Mere showing of reasonable and good grounds of appeal is not sufficient. See Onyebuchi lroegbu & Anor v. Richard Okwordu & Anor (1990)NWLR (pt.159)643.
“By the provisions of Order 2 Rule 32 of Supreme Court Rules, where in an appeal to this Court from the Court of Appeal in which the Court below affirmed the findings of fact of the trial Court, an application to this Court in pursuance of the jurisdiction conferred to this Court under Section 233 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, leave to appeal must first be sought and obtained.
“It is instructive to note that this Court in a plethora or decided authorities, settled that any application for extension of time to seek leave to appeal and leave to appeal and for extension of time to file notice of appeal such as this instant application, the applicant must show substantial reasons for the delay and also show good cause why the appeal should be heard. In other words, besides showing the reasons for the delay, the applicant must also show that there is substance in the proposed grounds of appeal. These two conditions or requirements must be established simultaneously and must co-exist. SeeAparaku & Ors vs Idowu Alabi (1985)2 SC 329 at 330; Solanke v Somefun (1974)1 SC 141.
“Even at the risk of being repetitive, the two conditions to be satisfied are set out below: – (1) Good and substantial reasons for the applicant’s failure to appeal within the time or period stipulated by law, and (2) The grounds of appeal must prima facie show good cause why the appeal should be heard and determined. See Ukpe lbodo & Ors V Enarofia & Ors (1980) 5-7 SC 42; University of Lagos v Olaniyan (1985) 1 SC 295;
“Both conditions stated above must co-exist before Court can exercise its discretion to grant such application and where one condition is met or satisfied and the other is not, the application must be refused and dismissed. See Abubakar & Ors V Yar Adua & 5 Ors (2008)1 SCNJ 549.” – Per AMIRU SANUSI, JSC
ENYIBROS FOODS PROCESSING COMPANY LTD & ANOR V NIGERIAN DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION (2007) LCN/3819(SC)
In addition to the above principles of law relevant to a determination of an application for extension of time for leave to appeal etc, there is another very important principle that guides an appellate court when called upon to review, by way of appeal, the discretion exercised by the lower court in granting or refusing to grant an application of that nature.
The principle is that the attitude of appellate courts to the exercise of discretion by lower courts is not dissimilar to that adopted over the issue of findings of fact, which is that unless the exercise of discretion by a court of first instance or by a lower court is manifestly wrong, arbitrary, reckless or injudicious, an appellate court would not interfere merely because faced with similar circumstances it would have reacted differently. See University of Lagos v. Olaniyan supra at 163; Williams v.Mokwe (2005) 14 NWLR (Pt. 945) 249 at 269. – PER W. S. N. ONNOGHEN. J.S.C.
Court Discretion and Extension of Time
ENYIBROS FOODS PROCESSING COMPANY LTD & ANOR V NIGERIAN DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION (Ibid)
It is settled law that a grant or refusal of an application for extension of time within which to appeal involves the exercise of the discretion of the court before which the application depends and that the said application must be supported by an affidavit which must state sufficient reasons to explain the delay; it must contain the judgment or ruling of the court against which the applicant is seeking to appeal and the proposed grounds of appeal against such judgment or ruling.
It should, however, be noted that two instances of delay may be involved in an application for extension of time for leave to appeal which must be explained. These are: (a) the reason why the applicant could not appeal within the time statutorily allowed to appeal, and (b) the reason why the application was not filed earlier than the time it was filed after the time statutorily allowed for the applicant to appeal. – PER W. S. N. ONNOGHEN. J.S.C.
TUNJI BOWAJE V. MOSES ADEDIWURA 3PLR/1976/38 (SC)
“This court would readily exercise its discretion to extend the periods prescribed for doing an act if it is shown to the satisfaction of the court that the failure by a party to do the act within the period prescribed was caused by the negligence or inadvertence of his counsel.” Per Bello, JSC