Sokoto State Government Of Nigeria & Anor V.kamdex Nigeria Limited (2007)
LAWGLOBAL HUB Lead Judgment Report
The respondent in this appeal was the plaintiff at the trial Lagos State High Court of Justice where it instituted three suits, LD/3843/1999, LD/3844/1999 and LD/3846/1999, claiming various sums of money from the 1st and 2nd appellants who were the defendants in the suits. After hearing the parties, judgment was entered for the plaintiff/respondent in the three suits which gave rise to three separate appeals numbers CA/L/108/2001, CA/L/109/2001 and CA/L/110/2001 in the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal by the 1st and 2nd defendants/appellants who were not satisfied with the judgments of the trial High Court. These appeals were consolidated and heard by the Court of Appeal which in its judgment delivered on 22-1-2004 dismissed the appeal. Still aggrieved with the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the defendants/appellants have now appealed to this court.In the 1st and 2nd appellant’s brief of argument, the following three issues were formulated from the grounds of appeal:
“(i) Whether a panel of justices different from the panel of justices that heard argument from the parties, examined the record of appeal, asked vital questions on the 5th November, 2003 can deliver a valid judgment in this appeal on the 22nd day of January 2004
(ii) Whether in view of the circumstances of this suit and the arguments canvassed by the 1st and 2nd appellants on the issue of jurisdiction in their brief of argument, the Lagos High Court has jurisdiction to entertain the actions and whether Court of Appeal is not bound to make specific pronouncement on the challenged jurisdiction of the Lagos High Court to hear and determine this suit
(iii) Whether service of the originating processes can be properly effected on the 1st and 2nd appellants (Sokoto State Government of Nigeria and its Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice) in Lagos to wit:- 7, Adeola Odeku Street Victoria Island, Lagos and an adjunct to same whether the said allegedly effected service at 7 Adeola Odeku Street Victoria Island, Lagos ought not to be set aside in view of the contradiction in the actual address on which service was effected and the fact that the 2nd appellant is a natural person”In the brief of argument filed by the plaintiff now respondent (in this appeal, three issues were identified as in the appellant’s brief of argument but differently framed to suit the respondent’s case.
The issues are:-
“(i) Whether the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on January 22, 2004 by their lordships coram: Suleiman
Galadima, P.O. Aderemi and C.M. Chukwuma-Eneh JJCA became invalid by reason of the fact that honourable Justice J.O. Ogebe who participated at the hearing of the appeal was not on the panel that delivered the judgment.
Whether the service of the originating processes in the suits leading to this appeal on the appellants at their liaison office in Lagos is valid service in law.
(iii) Whether the findings, pronouncement and resolution by the lower court of issues 1, 2 and 3 identified by the appellant and issues 1, 2, 4 and 5 identified by the respondents do not finally dispose of the issue of jurisdiction as raised and argued in the lower court.”The first issue for determination is virtually the same in both the appellant’s and the respondent’s briefs of argument. However before proceeding to consider this issue, it is very important to state what actually happened in the proceedings before the Court of Appeal from 5-11-2003, when the appellant’s appeal was heard in that court, to the 22-1-2004, when judgment in the appeal was delivered. This is because it is the facts that transpired during this period that gave rise to the appellant’s ground (a) of the grounds of appeal from which this first issue was distilled. The record of this appeal at page 101 shows that the consolidated appeals numbers CA/L/108/2001; CA/ L/109/2001; CA/L/ 110/2001; CA/L/ 111/2001 between the same parties in the present appeal came up for hearing before a panel of justices of the court below comprising of:
Hon. Justice J.O. Ogebe – Presiding Justice
Hon. Justice P.O. Aderemi – Justice Court of Appeal
Hon. Justice C.M. Chukwuma-Eneh – Justice Court of Appeal
On 5-11-2003. The record of that day reads – “Mr. A.B. Ogunba with Messrs G.C. Duru and O.F. Efunkomaiya for 1st and 2nd appellants.
Mr. R. Abijo for 3rd appellant
Mr. R. Tarfa SAN with J. Odubela, A Malgwi & Mrs D. Ademu-Eteh for the respondent.
Court: Only appeals No. 108, 109 and 110 will be taken. Appeal 111 is adjourned to abide the result of the consolidated appeals.
Mr. Ogunba: We filed the brief on 4/7/01. We also filed reply brief on 10/5/02. I adopt them. I urge the court to allow the appeal.
Mr. Abijo: I filed 3rd appellant’s brief on 16/10/01 and reply brief on 9/7/02. I adopt them. I urge the court to allow the appeal.
Mr. Ricky Tarfa: We filed brief in respect of appeal by 1st and 2nd appellants on 14/2/02. I adopt it. The appeal is against the refusal to set aside the order. I urge the court to dismiss the appeal. As regard 3rd appellant appeal, we filed brief on 2/5/02. There is also a preliminary objection and 3rd appellant filed a reply. I urge the court to uphold the preliminary objection.
Court: The appeal is adjourned to 22/1/04 for judgment.