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Home » Nigerian Cases » Supreme Court » The Attorney-general Of Anambra State V. The Attorney-general Of Federal Republic Of Nigeria & Ors (2005) LLJR-SC

The Attorney-general Of Anambra State V. The Attorney-general Of Federal Republic Of Nigeria & Ors (2005) LLJR-SC

The Attorney-general Of Anambra State V. The Attorney-general Of Federal Republic Of Nigeria & Ors (2005)

LAWGLOBAL HUB Lead Judgment Report

KATSINA-ALU, J.S.C.

In this suit, the plaintiff is the Attorney-General and Chief Legal Officer of Anambra State. He brought this action as representative of the Government of Anambra State.

The 1st defendant is the Attorney-General and Chief Legal Officer of the Federation. He is sued as a representative of the Federal Government.

All the states in the Federation are joined as defendants in the action. These are 2nd – 35th defendants. The Attorneys-General of all these states are sued as representatives of their various and respective states.

The plaintiff claims that a dispute has arisen between the Government of Anambra State, the Government of the Federal Republic and the other 35 States of Nigeria involving questions of law and fact on which the existence or extent of the legal rights of the Government of Anambra State depend.

The 1st defendant denies that a dispute exists between the plaintiff and other defendants in this suit.

The facts as related by the plaintiff in his affidavit of facts in support of his claim filed on 24th May, 2004 are these. On the 10th day of April, 2003, Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige, OON was elected Governor of Anambra State. He was duly sworn in on 29th May, 2003. However, on 10th July, 2003 an Assistant Inspector General of Police under the direct command of the Inspector General of Police and the ostensible direction of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stormed the Anambra State Government House with a force of Policemen and attempted to remove the Governor from office.

The government of Anambra State, it was said, made several representations to the President to no avail. The President remained taciturn, nonchalant and indifferent to the plight of the Anambra State Governor. It took national revulsion, furor and condemnation of the events together with international display of outrage before the Inspector General of Police was sufficiently embarrassed to distance him from the shameful event. In consequence, he ordered the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ige to pull out the police force from the Government House at Awka, Anambra State.

It is the contention of the plaintiff that the President is determined to change the Government in Anambra State unconstitutionally by removing the Governor Dr. Ngige from office in order to install another Governor acceptable to the President.

It was the case of the plaintiff that ever since the aborted attempt of 10th July, 2003 the Federal Government under the President have covertly instigated or condoned various suits at the Federal High Court in a bid to obtain a judicial order for the removal of Governor Ngige of Anambra State. It was pointed out that the Federal Government and the President have covertly and overtly instigated or condoned or sponsored identical suits at other judicial divisions of the Federal High Court including the division at Enugu so as to obtain a court order to enable the President to remove the Governor of Anambra State.

The plaintiff further contended that as a last desperate measure, the Government of the Federation through the President in collaboration with the Government of Enugu State on the 2nd of January, 2004 contrived an order from Hon. Justice S. C. Nnaji of the High Court of Enugu State directing the Inspector General of Police to remove the Governor of Anambra State from office. And as soon as the Federal Government received a copy of the order dated 2nd January, 2004, the Inspector General acting on the direction of the President and upon the advice of the Attorney-General of the Federation withdrew all Police protection and security apparatus of State power from the Governor of Anambra State and has refused to restore the same despite the order of the Court of Appeal.

Since the 2nd day of January, the Federal Government through the President have been contriving all machinations to orchestrate a state of emergency proclamation in Anambra State without regard to the provisions of section 305 of the 1999 Constitution. In this regard, it was said that the Federal Government through the President have started the process of lobbying members of the National Assembly to pass a resolution authorising him to proclaim a state of emergency in Anambra State for the sole purpose of removing the Governor. It was pointed out that the Federal Government through the President have continued to prevent the Commissioner of Police from taking lawful directives from the Governor of Anambra State for the maintenance of public safety, public order and the provision of police protection and other security apparatus of state power for the government of Anambra State and the Governor contrary to section 215(4) of the 1999 Constitution. The Federal Government in addition to the above has withheld and continued to withhold part of the Anambra State Government’s share from the Federation Account in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution when the funds so withheld are not a legitimate set-off for any loan granted to Anambra State Government by the Federal Government. The plaintiff therefore, claims as per para. 23 of the amended statement of claim as follows:

(i) A declaration that the Inspector-General of Police acting on his authority or on the direction of the Federal Government or the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has no constitutional right to withdraw police security personnel and details from the Governor or a state in Nigeria including the Governor of Anambra State;

alternatively:

A declaration that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria acting through the agents or agencies of the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria including the Inspector-General of Police, have no constitutional right to remove police protection and detail from any Governor of a state in Nigeria or to deny the facility of police protection from any Governor of a state in Nigeria particularly the Governor of Anambra State, while that Governor remains in office.

(ii) A declaration that the Governor of a state including the Governor of Anambra State being by the express provision of section 176 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 the Chief Executive of the State is entitled to the use and service of organized coercive force represented by the Nigeria Police Force to maintain its existence and authority and to enforce its laws.

(iii) A declaration that the Governor of a state including Anambra State represents and indeed embodies the Public of that state and has the power under section 215(4) of the 1999 Constitution subject only as provided in that section to give direction to the Commissioner of Police in charge of the contingent of the Police Force stationed in the state with respect to the securing and maintaining of public order in the state without interference by the Federal Government or the President.

(iv) A declaration that the Governor of a state including Anambra State under sections 5 and 11 of the 1999 Constitution being the Chief Security Officer of the State, his assassination or abduction due to removal from him of police protection and detail will spark off widespread disturbance and so endanger or imperil security, order and safety of the public in the state.

(v) A declaration that the withdrawal of police security personnel and detail from the Governor of a state including Anambra State by the Inspector-General acting by himself or on the direction of the President or the Federal Government is inconsistent with and does stultify the arrangement of a single police force as a common organized coercive force for the maintenance of the existence and authority of a State Government and enforcement of its laws.

(vi) A declaration that the Inspector-General of Police, has no constitutional right to remove the Governor of a State including Governor of Anambra State from office, whether acting on his authority or on the direction or orders of the Federal Government, President or of any court of law; alternatively:

A declaration that the Federal Government acting through the Inspector-General of Police or the President or by order of any Court of law other than a tribunal set up under section 285 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has no constitutional right to remove the Governor of a State including Governor of Anambra State from office.

(vii) A declaration that neither the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria nor the Federal Government nor the Inspector-General of Police has the constitutional right to remove the Governor of any state whether acting on their own initiative or on the orders of any court of Nigerian law not being an election tribunal.

(viii) A declaration that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot declare a State of Emergency in Anambra State or in any other State otherwise than in strict compliance with the provisions of sections 11 and 305 of the 1999 Constitution.

See also  Dokun Ajayi Labiyi Vs Alhaji Mustapha Moberuagba Anretiola & Ors (1990) LLJR-SC

(ix) A declaration that the circumstances specified in sections 11 and 305 of the 1999 Constitution do not exist and have not arisen in Anambra State to warrant the declaration of a State of Emergency in Anambra State by the Federal Government of Nigeria or the President.

(x) A declaration that the Governor of Anambra State and indeed any other Governor of any state in Nigeria elected into office under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot be removed from office by the President or the National Assembly through a proclamation of a state of emergency or otherwise.

(xi) A declaration that the judicial power of the Government of one State in the Federation including the High Court of Enugu State does not extend to matters arising under the provisions of the One Single Constitution of Nigeria relating or pertaining exclusively to the Government of another State in the Federation, its organs, agencies or instrumentalities and or its powers and tenure of office of its executive officers.

(xii) A declaration that the judicial power of the Federal Government, in particular the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court does not extend to matters arising under the provisions of the One Single Constitution of Nigeria relating or pertaining exclusively to the Government of the thirty-six (36) States in the Federation, their organs, agencies or instrumentalities and or their powers and tenure of office of their executive officers.

(xiii) A declaration that the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any of the agencies or agents of the Government of the Federation of Nigeria have no constitutional authority to withhold any part of the share of any State Government including Anambra State Government from the Federation Account except towards payment of any sum that is due from the State to the Federal Government in respect of any loan made by the Federation to that State, in this case, Anambra State.

(xiv) An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Federal Government or the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from interfering with the constitutional right of the Governor and Government of Anambra State to police protection and all security apparatus of state power in accordance with the spirit and intendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(xv) An order directing the Federal Government of Nigeria to direct the Inspector-General of Police forthwith to restore to the Governor of Anambra State and the Government of Anambra State Police protection and all security apparatus of State power in accordance with the spirit and intendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(xvi) An order of the Supreme Court setting aside any order of any State High Court including the order made on the 2nd day of January, 2004 by the High Court of Enugu State whereby that High Court purported to direct the Inspector-General of Police to remove the Governor of Anambra State.

In his defence, the 1st defendant filed amended statement of defence and counter-claim on 11th May, 2004. The case of the 1st defendant is simply this.

The 1st defendant denies that there exists a live issue between the plaintiff and all the defendants which calls for the interpretation of any provisions of the 1999 Constitution touching on the security, finances of the plaintiff state and the use of the Police Force.

It is the case of the 1st defendant that the Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige by a letter dated 9th of July, 2003, transmitted to the Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly tendered his resignation as Governor of Anambra State. He denied the hearsay allegations of instructions to the members of the National Assembly to pass a resolution authorizing a proclamation of a state of emergency in the plaintiff’s state. The 1st defendant further denied ever giving any directions whatsoever to the Inspector-General of Police or anybody for purposes of or in relation to the removal of Dr. Chris Ngige who had earlier voluntarily resigned his office. It was said that declarations (iv), (v), (vi) and (vii) are merely academic and hypothetical. It was finally urged that the plaintiff is not entitled to any of the declarations sought.

The following defendants – Abia State, Benue State, Delta State, Ebonyi State, Imo State, Kano State, Ondo State, Osun State, Oyo State, Plateau State, Rivers State and Taraba State filed their respective statements of defence and brief of argument. At the hearing, these defendants urged this court to resolve this case in favour of the plaintiff.

I shall now consider the reliefs which I have earlier on in this judgment set out, seriatim. For ease of reference, I shall read them again and thereafter consider them one after the other.

(i) A declaration that the Inspector-General of Police acting on his own authority or through the direction of the Federal Government or the President has no constitutional right to withdraw police security personnel and details from the Governor of Anambra State.

The withdrawal of the police security personnel from the Governor of Anambra State was on the order of the Enugu High Court. The plaintiff in para. 29 of its affidavit evidence exhibited a copy of the order marked exhibit 3. The law in this regard is clear. It is now settled that the plain and unqualified obligation of every person against, or in respect of whom an order is made by a court of competent jurisdiction to obey it unless and until that order is discharged. It is so even in cases where the person affected by the order believes it to be irregular or even void. So long as the order exists, it must be obeyed to the letter See Mobil Oil (Nig.) Ltd. v. Assan (1995) 8 NWLR (Pt.412) 129; Military Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu & Anor. (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt. 18) 621, (1986) 1 NSCC Vol. 17 (Pt.1) 304. An order or a judgment of court, no matter the fundamental vice that afflicts it, remains legally binding and valid until set aside by due process of law. The relief, in the circumstance, is therefore refused.

(ii) A declaration that the Governor of a State including the Governor of Anambra State being the Chief Executive of the State by virtue of section 176 of the Constitution is entitled to the use and service of organised coercive force represented by the Police Force to maintain its existence and authority and to enforce its laws.

The declaration sought herein, in my view is not justifiable. What it seeks to do is to draw this court into giving advisory opinions. It is not the function or indeed the duty of the court to embark on advisory opinion; See Olaniyi v. Aroyehun (1991) 5 NWLR (Pt.194) 652. in addition, there is no evidence in support thereof. This declaration also cannot be granted. It is accordingly, refused.

(iii) A declaration that the Governor of a state including Anambra State represents and indeed embodies the public of the state represents and has the power under section 215 (4) of the 1999 Constitution subject only, as provided in that section to give direction to the commissioner of Police in charge of the contingent of the Police Force stationed in the state with respect to the securing and maintaining of public order in the state without interference by the Federal Government or the President.

I am inclined to think that the declaration sought is not justifiable. But it is an innocuous declaration since it only restates what the Constitution provides. I will therefore, grant it and it is accordingly granted.

(iv) A declaration the Government of a state including Anambra State under section 5 and 11 of the 1999 Constitution being the Chief Security Officer of the State, his assassination or abduction due to removal from him of police protection and detail will spark off widespread disturbance and so endanger or imperial security, order and safety of the public in the state.

This state of affairs has not arisen. From the affidavit evidence, there is no dispute between the plaintiff and 1st defendant in this connection. These are mere speculations and not five issues. This court has stated in many decided cases that it has no jurisdiction or competence to embark on advisory or abstract academic opinions See Olaniyi v. Aroyehun (1991) 5 NWLR (Pt.194) 652. This declaration sought here is therefore, refused.

See also  Adamu Garba V. The State (1997) LLJR-SC

(v) A declaration that the withdrawal of police security personnel and detail from the Governor of a State including Anambra State by the Inspector-General of Police acting by himself or on the direction of the President or the Federal Government is inconsistent with and does stultify the arrangement of a single Police Force as a common organised coercive force for the maintenance of the existence and authority of a State Government and enforcement of its laws.

As I indicated in (i) above, the withdrawal of police personnel from the Governor of Anambra State was on the order of the Enugu High Court. The issue here as in (ii) and (iv) above is merely academic, hypothetical and speculative. This also cannot be granted and it is accordingly, refused.

(vi) A declaration that the Inspector-General of Police has no constitutional right to remove the Governor of a State including Governor of Anambra State from office, whether acting on his authority or on the direction and orders or orders of the Federal Government, President or of any court of law.

On Friday, 2nd January, 2004, Hon. Justice S. C. Nnaji made an order in the following terms:

“That the 1st respondent shall remove the 3rd respondent forthwith from office in the same manner he put him in office on 10th July, 2003 after having resigned as Governor of Anambra State and left therefrom.”

The 1st and 3rd respondents are the Inspector-General of Police and Dr. Chris Ngige, Governor of Anambra State respectively. As I have already stated earlier on in this judgment, every person against whom an order of court is made or directed should obey it even if the order seems to him irregular or void unless it is set aside on appeal. So long as the order exists, it must be obeyed.

It is common knowledge that Dr. Chris Ngige appealed from that order to the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division. The Court of Appeal on 12th of January, 2004 stayed that order “pending the determination of the appellants/applicants motion on notice now adjourned tomorrow 13/1/2004 for hearing at 1 p.m.” There is no record of what happened on 13/1/2004 or subsequent days. The matter has not yet come before this court on appeal. It is to be borne in mind that the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is circumscribed by section 233 of the 1999 Constitution. The appellate jurisdiction of this court is to hear and determine appeals from the Court of Appeal to the exclusion of any other court of law in Nigeria. In the circumstance this declaration cannot be granted and it is hereby refused.

(vii) A declaration that neither the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria nor the Federal Government nor the Inspector-General of Police has the constitutional right to remove the Governor of Anambra State nor the Governor of any other state whether acting on their own initiative nor on the orders of any court of law not being an election tribunal.

This issue is also academic and speculative. This issue does not raise any dispute between the plaintiff and 1st defendant involving any question on which the exercise or the extent of any legal right depends. This court will not involve itself in a mere academic exercise. The claim is therefore incompetent, and is hereby accordingly refused- A.G., Federation v. A.G., Abia State (No.2) (2002) 6 NWLR (Pt.764) 542.

(viii) A declaration that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot declare a state of emergency in Anambra State or in any other state otherwise than in strict compliance with the provisions of sections 11 and 305 of the 1999 Constitution.

Again, this claim is academic or speculative. It clearly does not arise from any dispute between the plaintiff and 1st defendant. The affidavit evidence does not disclose any scintilla of evidence in this regard. It is incompetent and is hereby refused.

(ix) A declaration that the circumstances specified in sections 11A and 305 of the 1999 Constitution do not exist and have not arisen in Anambra State to warrant the declaration of a state of emergency in Anambra State by the Federal Government of Nigeria or the President.

(x) A declaration that the Governor of Anambra State and indeed any other Governor of any state in Nigeria elected into office under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot be removed from office by the President or the National Assembly through a proclamation of state of emergency or other wise.

(xi) A declaration that the judicial power of the Government of one State in the Federation including the High Court of Enugu State does not extend to matters arising under the provisions of the one single Constitution of Nigeria relating or pertaining exclusively to the Government of another State in the Federation, its organs, agencies or instrumentalities and or its powers and tenure of office of their executive officers.

(xii) A declaration that the judicial power of the Federal Government, in particular the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court does not extend to matters arising under the provisions of the one single Constitution of Nigeria relating or pertaining exclusively to the Government of the thirty-six (36) States in the Federation, their organs, agencies or instrumentalities and or their powers and tenure of office of their executive officers.

Reliefs (ix) (x) (xi) and (xii) do not in my view raise any dispute between the plaintiff and 1st defendant within the contemplation of section 232(1) of the Constitution. The dispute must raise an issue or question (whether of law or fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends. It must be definite and concrete. The reliefs above are merely hypothetical and speculative postulations. This court has said that it has not jurisdiction to give advisory opinions or deal with hypothetical or academic questions – See Olale v. Ekwelendu (1989)4 NWLR (pt.115) 326 at 344. There is no evidence of a declaration of a state of emergency in Anambra State or a threat of such declaration cognizable in law as a ground for a decision or intervention by this court. It is now settled, as I have already indicated, that the court will not engage or indulge in academic exercise. I think it is elementary that the courts are to determine live issues. Surely, in the present case, as between the plaintiff and the 1st defendant the declaration of a state of emergency is, not at the moment, a live issue.

It is needless to state that courts are manned by human beings. No one is perfect; we are all liable to err. So that if a court assumes jurisdiction which it does not have, its decision will be corrected on appeal. That indeed is why there are courts of appeal – Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. In the circumstance, reliefs (ix), (x), (xi), (xii) are hereby refused: See also Bhojwani v. Bhojwani (1996) 6 NWLR (Pt.457) 661 at 666.

(xiii) A declaration that the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, or any of the agencies or agents of the Government of the Federation of Nigeria have no constitutional authority to withhold any part of the share of any State Government from the Federation Account except towards payment of any sum that is due from the State to the Federal Government in respect of any loan made by the Federation to that State, in this case, Anambra State.

The evidence in support of the declaration sought is contained in para. 38 of the affidavit. It reads: “The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has continued to withhold part of the share of Anambra State. Government from the Federation Account in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution when the funds so withheld are not a legitimate set off for any loan granted to Anambra State Government by the Federal Government of Nigeria. A copy of a notice of such withholding is hereby exhibited, marked exhibit 7.”

Exhibit 7 shows clearly that some deductions were made in respect of Anambra and other states. Reasons were given for these deductions. The first and second sheets show that deductions were on order of the court. Third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh sheets show that deductions were in respect of contractual obligations.

The plaintiff’s state did not challenge the reasons given for these deductions. This means that the plaintiff state, has admitted the reasons given and by extension that the deductions were not arbitrary. It is elementary law that what is not denied is presumed to have been admitted. In the circumstances, this relief is hereby refused.

See also  Yesufu Babajide V Akitoye Aisa And Anor (1966) LLJR-SC

(xiv) An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Federal Government or the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from interfering with the constitutional right of the Governor and Government of Anambra State to police protection and all security apparatus of state power in accordance with the spirit and intendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Here again, it must be observed that there is no evidence of any directions by the President or 1st defendant to the Inspector-General of Police to remove police protection and all apparatus of state power from the Governor of Anambra State or any other State Governor for that matter. The relief is mere speculation. There must be evidence to back up the injunctive order sought against the President. In the absence of such evidence, the order of injunction must be refused and it is hereby refused.

(xv) An order directing the Federal Government of Nigeria to direct the Inspector-General of Police forthwith to the Governor of Anambra State and the Government of Anambra State police protection and all security apparatus of state power in accordance with the spirit of intendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

I believe it is right to take judicial notice of the fact that the plaintiff appealed against the judgment of Hon. Justice Nnaji of Enugu State High Court to the Court of Appeal. The decision of the Court of Appeal is yet to come before this court on appeal by either the plaintiff or the 1st defendant. It must be borne in mind that the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is circumscribed, by section 233 of the 1999 Constitution. An appeal to this court must be from a decision of the Court of Appeal. This court does not exercise a right of appeal over a High Court decision coming directly from that court. This court cannot and will not accede to this issue without an appeal to this court from the decision of the Court of Appeal.

(xvi) An order of the Supreme Court setting aside any order of any State High Court including the order made on the 2nd day of January, 2004 by the High Court of Enugu State whereby that High Court purported to direct the Inspector-General of Police to remove the Governor of Anambra State.

There is evidence that the Governor of Anambra State has appealed against the order of the Enugu High Court to the Court of Appeal. Moreover, the Supreme Court cannot exercise a right of appeal over a High Court decision. This court cannot therefore, pronounce on the validity of the Enugu High Court judgment until that judgment becomes the subject of appeal to this court under section 233 of the 1999 Constitution. In summary, reliefs (i), (ii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii), (viii), (ix), (x), (xi), (xii), (xiii), (xiv), (xv) and (xvi), as presented by the plaintiff are refused. Relief (iii) only is granted.

1st Defendant’s Counter-Claim.

I shall now consider the counter-claim which is in the following terms:

“(1) A declaration that the oath of office and oath of allegiance purportedly administered on Dr. Chris Ngige on 29/5/2003 is unconstitutional, null, void, and of no effect.

(2) A declaration that Dr. Chris Ngige cannot constitutionally assume the functions of Governor of Anambra State not having taken the oath of office and oath of allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(3) A declaration that on a combined construction of the provisions of sections 185 (1) and (2) and 291 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, plaintiff state has no constitutionally valid Governor in office to whom may be accorded the rights, privileges, recognition and other facilities as a State Governor may be entitled under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and the law”.

Alternatively:

(4) A declaration that Dr. Chris Ngige ceased to be the Governor of Anambra State on 10/7/2003 following his letter of resignation and the receipt thereof by the Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly.

(5) A declaration that on a combined construction of the provision of sections 180(i)(c) and 306(5) of the Constitution, plaintiff state has no constitutionally valid Governor in office to whom may be accorded all the rights and privileges, recognition and other facilities as a State Governor may be entitled under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and the law.”

There are two legs to the 1st defendant’s counter-claim. The first contention of the counter-claimant is that the Chief Judge of Anambra State, Hon. Justice C. J. Okoli was born on 15/6/37 and ought therefore, to have ceased to hold office as Chief Judge of Anambra State by 15/6/2002 in accordance with the provisions of section 291(2) of the 1999 Constitution. It was pointed out that the Hon. Justice C. J. Okoli administered the oath of office and oath of allegiance on Dr. Chris Ngige on the 29th day of May, 2003. It was submitted that all the acts of Hon. Justice Okoli from 15/6/2002, including, but not limited to the administration of the oath of office and oath of allegiance on Dr. Chris Ngige, are unconstitutional and therefore null, void and of no effect.

For the Hon. Justice C. J. Okoli, it was pointed out that there is a subsisting judgment of the Federal High Court, Enugu in suit No. FHC/EN/CS/28/04 – lkechukwu lfediora v. Hon. Justice C. J. Okoli; (2) Anambra State Judicial Service Commission and (3) National Judicial Council, to the effect that as at 29/5/2003, he had not attained the compulsory retirement age of 65 years.

At the hearing of the suit on 17/2/2005, learned counsel for the 1st defendant/counter-claimant conceded that as at 29/5/2003, the Hon. Justice C. J. Okoli had not attained the compulsory retirement age of 65 years. This concession put this issue to rest.

The second leg of the counter-claim is that Dr. Chris Ngige voluntarily resigned his office as Governor of Anambra State by a letter dated the 9th of July, 2003. The short answer to this contention is this: Dr. Chris Ngige went to court and obtained a judgment in his favour at the High Court of Anambra State in suit No. A/230/2003-Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige v. The Speaker Anambra State House of Assembly & Anor. to the effect that Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige did not sign any letter of resignation or present any to the Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly. A copy of the drawn up order of the said judgment was exhibited and marked exhibit 6 to the plaintiff’s affidavit of facts in support of his claim. Pages 2 and 3 of exhibit 6 read in part as follows:

“The court hereby adjudged as follows:

That the plaintiffs case succeeds and the following reliefs be and are hereby granted to him:

(a) A declaration that with effect from 29th day of May, 2003, he had been and still remains the Executive Governor of Anambra State;

(b) A declaration that the purported letter of resignation dated 9th July, 2003 said to have been signed by the plaintiff is a false document and pro tanto null and void;

(c) A declaration that the proceedings of Anambra House of Assembly dated 10th July, 2003

purporting to accept the alleged letter of resignation said to have emanated from the plaintiff is unconstitutional, invalid and pro tanto null and void and of no effect whatsoever;

(d) A declaration that the proceedings of the House of Assembly of Anambra State of the 14th July, 2003 whereby the House vacated its proceedings of 10th July, 2003 is valid and constitutional and; Finally, an order of this Honourable court nullifying or setting aside the entire proceedings of the Anambra State House of Assembly held on 10th day of July, 2003 as it relates to the purported resignation of the Governor and any steps pursuant thereto taken by the defendants.”

This was issued on the 20th day of January, 2004. It is important to note that there was no appeal against the judgment. That means that the High Court judgment subsists. It remains valid. In the light of the above, the counter-claim fails as a whole. I make no order as to costs. Each party to bear its own costs.


SC.3/2004

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