THE CONCURRENT JURISDICTION OF THE HIGH COURTS TO DETERMINE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS SUITS: AN ANALYSIS OF THE PROVISION OF SECTION 46(1) OF THE CONSTITUTION
In seeking a remedy in a court of law, the task of identifying the appropriate court to approach is arguably the most important task of a legal practitioner. This is perhaps even more important than the merits of his claim before the courts as it is a well-known and trite principle of law that the jurisdiction of a particular court to entertain a suit is a fundamental prerequisite in the adjudication of any matter. It is the lifeline of all suits and has been referred to as the spinal cord of a court of law. A legal practitioner who is not well-versed in the various aspects of the jurisdiction of each individual trial court, may find years of toil and hard work and sometimes victory at the lower court set aside at the Supreme Court, as proceedings without jurisdiction is a nullity no matter how well conducted. Kayode Eso J.S.C. (of blessed memory) put it succinctly when he said:
“It is futile to set down issues, deliberate on evidence led, resolve points of law raised, if the court that is seized of the matter is devoid of jurisdiction. The substratum of a court is no doubt jurisdiction. Without it, the ‘labourers’ therein, that is both litigants and counsel on the one hand and the Judge on the other hand, labour in vain.”
The Supreme Court, per Aderemi J.S.C. defined jurisdiction in the case of F.B.N Plc v. Abraham  18 NWLR (Part 1118) 172 as “the authority by which a court has to decide matters that are laid before it for litigation or to take cognizance of matters presented in a formal way for its decision.” Ejiwunmi J.S.C. referred to a lack of jurisdiction as “injustice to the law, to the court and to the parties”. The bottom line is that everything done in want of jurisdiction is a nullity. Four factors have been set down by the Supreme Court as the ingredients of jurisdiction. They are:
- The court must be properly constituted as to its number or its membership;
- Any condition precedent to its exercise of jurisdiction must have been fulfilled;
- The subject matter of the case must be within its jurisdiction; and
- The case or matter must have been brought to the court by the due process of the law.
The third ingredient is the one often fraught with confusion and is a constant subject of several judicial pronouncements. Ironically, determining the jurisdiction of a court does not require great scientific and technical skill. The jurisdiction of each superior court of record is prescribed in the statutes creating them, i.e., the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) (‘the Constitution’) and has been pronounced upon by the courts so often as to make the law almost certain in that respect. Sections 251 and 254 of the Constitution provide for the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court respectively. All other matters not listed in the said sections are, by the provisions of Sections 257 and 272 of the Constitution vested in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and the High Courts of the States subject to the territorial jurisdiction of each State High Court. There are two matters, which judicial authorities have agreed that the Federal and State High Courts share concurrent jurisdiction. The first are cases bordering on the ordinary banking transaction between an individual customer and his bankers. The second, which is the focus of this paper, are cases on the enforcement of fundamental human rights.
Section 46 (1) and (2) of the Constitution provides as follows:
“(1) Any person who alleges that any of the provisions of this Chapter has been, is being or likely to be contravened in any State in relation to him may apply to a High Court in that State for redress.
(2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a High Court shall have original jurisdiction to hear and determine any application made to it in pursuance of the provisions of this section and may make such order, issue such writs and give such directions as it may consider appropriate for the purpose of enforcing or securing the enforcement within that State of any right to which the person who makes the application may be entitled under this Chapter.”
Unlike the 1979 Constitution, the interpretation section of the 1999 Constitution does not define ‘High Court’, it has however been settled that the omission does not change the position that reference to a High Court in the section refers to both the Federal High Court and the State High Courts. I make bold to add even the National Industrial Court by virtue of the third amendment to the Constitution. The concurrent jurisdiction of the Federal and State High Court to enforce the fundamental human rights of the citizens of this country is however far from being simplistic and has given rise to its own controversy over the years. It would appear that the first pronouncement on the issue and upon which subsequent authorities have relied is the pronouncement of Bello J.S.C. in the case of Bronik Motors Ltd v. Wema Bank (1983) LPELR – 808 (SC). I am however reluctant to refer to this case as the locus classicus on this issue. The judgment of the Supreme Court in that case though primarily on the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court vis-à-vis the State High Courts did not focus on matters involving the enforcement of fundamental rights. The subject matter of the dispute in the case involved an overdraft facility granted by a bank to its customer – a case of simple contract and the judgment of the Supreme Court focused primarily on rejecting the arguments proffered by the late Chief Williams, S.A.N. on the interpretation to be given to the provisions of Sections 6 and 230 of the 1979 Constitution as well as his call to the Supreme Court to overrule its decision in the earlier decided case of Jammal Steel Structures Ltd. V. African Continental Bank Ltd (1973) 1 All NLR (Pt. 11) 208, wherein a majority of the Court held that the banking transaction which was in issue fell within the jurisdiction of the State High Court and not the Federal Revenue Court (as it then was). The only mention of the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in matters involving the enforcement of fundamental rights was made by Bello J.S.C (and in passing). I find it useful to quote beyond the one sentence wherein he mentioned the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in respect of fundamental rights matters in order to provide the proper context in which the principle was enunciated. The learned jurist interpreting the provisions of Section 230 of the 1979 Constitution stated:
“There is no gainsaying the section lacks precision and elegance. Nevertheless, having read the section together with the other relevant provisions of the Constitution, I would not hesitate to conclude that upon the proper construction of section 230 in its ordinary and plain meaning, the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court is limited to:
such matters connected with or pertaining to the revenue of the Government of the Federation as may be prescribed: See section 230 (1) (a):
such other matters than those specified in (1) above as may be prescribed: See section 230(1)(b); and
such jurisdiction as was vested in the former Federal Revenue Court established under the provisions of the Federal Court Act 1973: Section 230(2)
It is pertinent, I think, to emphasize that the jurisdiction conferred on the Federal High Court which I have set out in categories (1) and (2) above is not self-executing. There must be in existence an Act of the National Assembly authorizing the exercise of such jurisdiction on a matter within the legislative competence of the National Assembly. Finally, I may point out that the only jurisdiction which the Constitution specifically conferred on the Federal High Court is as follows:
under section 42 the court has concurrent jurisdiction with the State High Courts to grant redress for an infringement of a fundamental right; and
under section 237 it has a temporary jurisdiction pending the constitutional establishment of Abuja as the Federal Capital Territory to determine any question whether any person has been validly elected to the office of President or Vice-President or whether the term of office of President or Vice-President has ceased.”
The issue of the concurrent jurisdiction of the Federal and State High Courts in enforcement of fundamental rights matters found full expression in the case of Tukur v. Government of Gongola State (1989) LPELR – 3272. In the suit, the Applicant had alleged that his fundamental rights were infringed during the process of his deposition from the office of Emir of Muri and instituted his fundamental rights suit at the Federal High Court in Kano. The trial Judge, Belgore J. (as he then was), had dismissed the challenge to his jurisdiction to entertain the suit. Interpreting the provisions of Section 42 (1) of the 1979 Constitution which empowers an applicant seeking redress for an infringement of his or her fundamental right to approach the court in the state where the infringement occurred, is occurring or about to occur and Section 277 of the 1979 Constitution which defined court to include both the High Court and the Federal High Court, the learned judge concluded that both the State High Court and the Federal High Court had concurrent jurisdiction to determine matters involving the breach or threat of breach of fundamental rights. His ruling was appealed first to the Court of Appeal, after which a further appeal was lodged at the Supreme Court. Obaseki J.S.C. delivering the lead judgment on the 5th of September 1989 paid very close attention to the preceding words of Section 42 (2) of the 1979 Constitution: “subject to the provisions of this Constitution.” In what can be described as an exposition, he said:
“It is subsection (2) of section 42 that confers the special jurisdiction on a High Court to hear and determine any application made to it in pursuance of the section. The jurisdiction conferred is made “subject to the provisions of this Constitution”. In other words, the jurisdiction conferred is controlled by other provisions of the Constitution. The phrase “subject to the provisions of this Constitution” can only mean “the provisions of the Constitution permitting it.” See Omerod v. Domorden 8 Q.B.D., 664; Oke v. Oke (1974) 1 All NLR 443.”
Focusing on the interpretation of the phrase “subject to” in a statute, he had recourse to previous interpretations given by the court thus:
“In Oke v. Oke (supra) the Supreme Court was called on to interpret or construe the provisions of section 3(1) of the Wills Law of Western Nigeria, 1959, applicable to Midwestern state which opened with the words “subject to any customary law relating thereto.” Elias C.J.N., delivering the judgment of the court said at p. 450: “The introductory phrase “subject to any customary law relating thereto” necessarily makes the power given to a testator under the sub-section dependent upon the particular customary law permitting it. In effect, the power of the testator to devise his real and personal estates by will is limited to the extent to which, if any, its exercise is permissible under the relevant customary law.” In Akisatan Apena of Iporo v. Akinwande Thomas (1950) A.C. 227, the Privy Council had before it the question of the correct interpretation of section 12 of the Supreme Court Ordinance No. 23 of 1943 Laws of Nigeria. That section opened with the words: “subject to such jurisdiction as may for the time being be vested by Ordinance in Native Courts, the jurisdiction of this Ordinance vested in the Supreme Court shall include …” Lord Simonds delivering the judgment of their Lordships said at p. 234: “On the other hand, it appears to their Lordships that since by the terms of the Ordinance the jurisdiction vested in the Supreme Court was to include all His Majesty’s jurisdiction, etc, the careful draughtsman might well think it desirable to make it clear that this enactment was not to prejudice the Native Courts in the exercise of such jurisdiction as might from time to time be vested in them. Accordingly, the section opens with the words which are apt to provide that safeguard.”
Still on the judicial interpretation that had been accorded to the phrase “subject to”, he went further:
“The expression “subject to” in section 221 (1) of the 1979 Constitution was recently construed by my learned brother, Karibi-Whyte J.S.C., in Aqua Ltd v. Ondo State Sports Council (1988) 10-11 SCNJ 26 at 51. Delivering his judgment in the matter, he said: “The expression “subject to” subordinates the provisions of the subject section to the section referred to which is intended not to be affected by the provisions of the latter. See L.S.D.P.C. v. Foreign Finance Corporation (1987) 1 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 50) 413 at 461; Clark Ltd v. I.R.C. (1973) 2 All E.R. 513. The effect of this is that section 221(1) of the Constitution 1979 does not apply to the circumstances covered in section 220(1). I will also refer to the lucid consideration given to this phrase “subject to” by Kolawole J.C.A, in L.S.D.P.C. v. Foreign Finance Corporation (1989) 1 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 50) 413 at 461. There the learned Justice of the Court of Appeal was dealing with section 1 of the Land Use Act when he said: “Section 1 of the Act begins by saying that “subject to the provisions of this Decree.” This phrase governs what follows by which all lands comprised in each State in the Federation are vested in the Military Governor of that State. Now what is the effect of the phrase “subject to the provisions of this Decree” on section 34 of the Act? Megarry, J. (as he then was), aptly gave consideration to that phrase. He said: “The phrase ‘subject to’ is a simple provision which merely subjects provision of the subject sub-section to the provision of the master sub-section. Where there is no clash the phrase does nothing. If there is collision, the phrase shows what is to prevail.”
Applying the same interpretation to the words “subject to the provisions of this Constitution” which are the opening words of Section 42 (2) of the 1979 Constitution, he concluded by setting down the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to hear and determine matters on the enforcement of fundamental human rights thus:
“The matters listed above and in the Constitution in respect of which jurisdiction has been expressly conferred on the Federal High Court lie within the competence of the Federal High Court with regard to the enforcement of Fundamental Rights provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979. Outside those specific matters, the Federal High Court is incompetent to exercise jurisdiction. … Thus, on the interpretation which I have given, any of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the provisions in Chapter IV of the Constitution if threatened or breached by any person in matters of which the Federal High Court has jurisdiction in a state can be enforced and redress given by the Federal High Court in that State as such exercise will be within the jurisdiction granted by section 42(2). … Since the jurisdiction conferred by section 42(2) of the Constitution is a special jurisdiction and made subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the enforcement of the fundamental rights in matters outside the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court is not within and cannot be in the contemplation of that section. If any consideration and determination of the civil rights and obligations in matters outside the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court inextricably involves a consideration and determination of the breach or threatened breach of any of the fundamental rights provisions the exercise of jurisdiction which the Federal High Court does not possess is a nullity. The lack of jurisdiction inexorably nullifies the proceedings and judgment. It is therefore an exercise in futility.”
The Supreme Court based on the above considerations therefore found that the Federal High Court wrongly assumed jurisdiction to entertain the fundamental rights claims raised in the suit, as they arose out of a chieftaincy issue which only a State High Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine. The principle of law enunciated from this case seemed simple enough – though both the Federal and State High Courts have concurrent jurisdiction over matters involving the enforcement of the fundamental human rights of citizens, the concurrent jurisdiction is still subject to the jurisdiction of each court over substantive subject matters as prescribed in the different sections of the Constitution providing for their jurisdiction.
This principle was however jettisoned by the same Supreme Court about fifteen years later in the case of Grace Jack v. University of Agriculture, Makurdi (2004) LPELR – 1587 (SC). In the case, the appellant had filed a suit alleging an infringement of her fundamental rights in the investigation of allegations of misconduct leveled against her and her subsequent dismissal from the respondent at the High Court of Benue State, which granted her substantive reliefs. On appeal, the Court of Appeal overturned the judgment holding that the respondent being a Federal Government agency could not be sued in the High Court of a state. On further appeal to the Supreme Court, the court curiously relying on the case of Tukur v. Government of Gongola State gave a different interpretation to the relevant provisions of the Constitution. Katsina-Alu J.S.C. reading the lead judgment held thus:
“In the resolution of this issue, I would like to point out that section 42(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which I have reproduced above has provided the court for the enforcement of the fundamental rights as enshrined in Chapter IV. A person whose fundamental right is breached, being breached or about to be breached may therefore apply to a High Court in that state for redress. Order 1 rule 2 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 1979 which came into force 1 January, 1980 defines ‘court’ as meaning “The Federal High Court or the High Court of a State.” What this means is this, both the Federal High Court and the High Court of a State have concurrent jurisdiction. An application may therefore be made either to the Judicial Division of the Federal High Court in the State or the High Court of the State in which the breach occurred, is occurring or about to occur.”
Revealing the rationale for this principle, the learned justice went on to say:
“I would like to add that section 230 (1) of Decree No. 107 of 1993 is a general provision relating to the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court while section 42 of the 1979 Constitution relates to special jurisdiction for the enforcement of the fundamental rights provided for in Chapter IV of the 1979 Constitution.”
Uwaifo J.S.C. gave the rationale more flesh when he held thus:
“Section 42(1) is a special provision which deals with matters of fundamental rights. It confers jurisdiction on any High Court in a State in matters of fundamental rights irrespective of who is affected by an action founded on such rights. On the other hand, section 230 (1)(s) of the 1979 Constitution (as amended) is a general provision. The law is that where there is a special provision in a statute, a later general provision in the same stature capable of covering the same subject matter is not to be interpreted as derogating from what has been specially provided for individually unless an intention to do so is unambiguously declared. … In my view, section 42(1) is intended to give access to an aggrieved party to any High Court in a State where an alleged contravention of his fundamental right has taken place or is about to take place. It is therefore a section which should itself be regarded as special and fundamental.”
The Court of Appeal was thus held to be “in error to hold that when a suit in respect of matters of fundamental rights was brought against the Federal Government or any of its agencies, section 230 (1) (s) of the 1979 Constitution (as amended) prevailed over section 42(1).”
This position created a period of confusion in trial courts as while some judges held on to the position as prescribed in Tukur v. Government of Gongola State, others applied the principle as enunciated in Jack v. University of Agriculture, Makurdi. Even the appellate courts were not immune from this confusion as conflicting decisions on the issue were given.
The Supreme Court in 2011, in yet another suit, which though dealing with the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court vis-à-vis the High Court of a State was not an action for the enforcement of fundamental human rights, reinstated the principle of prescribed jurisdiction in fundamental rights matters as enunciated in Tukur v. Government of Gongola State. I.T. Muhammad J.S.C. in the case, Adetona v. Igele General Enterprises Ltd held as follows:
“There are some areas where both the Federal High Court and the High Court of a state enjoys concurrent jurisdiction. Example of such is the enforcement of Fundamental Human Rights conferred in Chapter IV of the Constitution… Therefore it is my understanding that where a person’s fundamental right is breached, being breached or about to be breached, that person may apply under Section 46 (1) to the judicial division of the Federal High Court in the state or the High Court of the state or that of the Federal Capital Territory in which the breach occurred or is occurring or about to occur. This is irrespective of whether the right involved comes within the legislative competence of the Federation or the State or the Federal Capital Territory.”
He then went ahead to issue a caveat (reinstating the principle of prescribed jurisdiction in enforcement of fundamental rights matters) thus:
“It has to be noted that the exercise of this jurisdiction by the Federal High Court is where the fundamental right threatened or breached falls within the enumerated matters on which the court has jurisdiction. Thus, fundamental rights arising from matters outside its jurisdiction cannot be enforced by the Federal High Court. See Tukur v. Government of Gongola State (1989) 3 NSCC 225. Equally, a High Court of a State shall lack jurisdiction to entertain matters of fundamental rights, although brought pursuant to section 46(2) of the Constitution where the alleged breach of such matters arose from a transaction or subject matter which fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court as provided by Section 251 of the Constitution.”
The Court of Appeal relied on this authority applied this principle in the case of Osunde v. Baba (2014) LPELR – 23217 (CA) and seemed to state that the position of the Supreme Court in the case of Grace Jack v. University of Agriculture, Makurdi has been overturned by the Adetona’s case. In the case, the Respondent (who was Applicant at the lower court) filed a fundamental rights action complaining of his arrest and detention as well as the inhuman treatment meted out to him by the Appellant who was head of and representing the Edo State Petroleum Task Force Monitoring Committee at the lower court. Apart from the reliefs relating to his arrest and detention, he also sought a declaration that the constitution/establishment of the Edo State Petroleum Task Force Monitoring Committee by the Edo State Government was unconstitutional and illegal. The Appellants (as Respondents at the lower court) filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to determine the suit. The learned trial judge relying on the case of Jack v. UNAM held that the Federal High Court had jurisdiction to entertain the suit. On appeal, the Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the Federal High Court. Barka J.C.A. reading the lead judgment held as follows:
“There is no dispute even in the present contest as to whether the Federal High Court and the State High Court have concurrent jurisdiction to entertain issues bordering on fundamental rights, I understand the vexed issue as to whether the Federal High Court has jurisdiction on all matters relating to fundamental human rights. The respondents hold tenaciously to this position, relying on the holding of the Supreme Court in Jack v UNAM refusing to yield to the court’s position in the case of Adetona v. I.G. Ent. Ltd (2011) 7 NWLR (PT 1247) 535 at 564 per I.T. Muhammad J.S.C.”
The learned jurist concluded by stating thus:
“I am in agreement with the appellants that the subject matter of the instant case does not fall within those matters captured by S. 251 of the Constitution. It is apparent that the appellants are agents of the state government, the wrong alleged against them was in pursuance of the duty reposed on them by the state… I equally agree with the appellants that this falls within the exclusive purview of the state high court, the learned trial judge’s holding to the effect that he had jurisdiction to try the instant case was made in error and I so hold.”
The era of confusion is however far from over. While the Court of Appeal applied the decision of the Supreme Court set down in Tukur v. Goverrnment of Gongola State and reiterated in Adetona v. Igele General Enterprises Ltd in Osunde v. Baba, there have been other cases decided by the Court of Appeal after the decision in Adetona’s case where the Court of Appeal has applied the principle enunciated in Jack v. UNAM that both the Federal and State High Courts have concurrent jurisdiction in matters of fundamental rights without regard to the prescribed jurisdiction of the Federal High Court as set down in Section 251 of the Constitution. This kind of uncertainty is antithesis to the development of the law and should certainly not be found in such a sensitive area relating to the fundamental human rights of citizens.
It is the opinion of this writer that this spate of confusion arose because subsequent judicial authorities, including the ones that seemingly relied upon it, did not fully grasp the reasoning of the Supreme Court in Tukur v. Government of Gongola State. No other judicial authority that this writer has come across has fully appreciated the interpretation given by the Supreme Court to the provisions of Section 46 (2) of the Constitution, particularly the preceding words “subject to” in that suit. All authorities right from Bronik Motors Ltd v. Wema Bank to the recent decision in Agbaso v. Iwunze are in agreement that both the Federal High Court and the State High Courts have concurrent jurisdiction on matters that have to do with the enforcement of fundamental human rights enshrined in Chapter IV of the Constitution. This jurisdiction conferred by Section 46(2) of the Constitution is however made subject to the other provisions of the Constitution by the very section conferring it. It is therefore clear that the intendment of the legislature was not to give blanket jurisdiction but rather to subject any jurisdiction created under the section to other relevant and applicable provisions of the Constitution. After all, the first principle in the 12-point principles on interpretation of the Constitution by Obaseki J.S.C. in A.G of Bendel State v. A.G. of the Federation (1981) 10 SC 1 is that “effect should be given to every word.”
Most infractions of the fundamental rights of individuals arise out of pre-existing disputes and remedies sought in enforcing the fundamental rights of the applicants would on most occasions require delving into the subject matter of the dispute. Since both the Federal and State High Courts (and the National Industrial Court) has jurisdiction in matters involving the enforcement of fundamental human rights, it accords with logic and practicality to approach the court which would also possess the jurisdiction to entertain the subject matter of the underlying dispute that gave rise to the fundamental rights claims. For example, it would be safer to approach the State High Court where the alleged infringement of the fundamental right(s) arose from or is related to access to land, easements and other appurtenances, or deposition of a chieftaincy title, or the review of the actions of a state government and its agencies; and the Federal High Court where the alleged infringement of the fundamental right(s) arose from or is related to the administration or management and control of an agency of the Federal Government.
Oputa J.S.C. put it succinctly when he said in Tukur v. Government of Gongola (Supra):
“Section 42(1) deals with the access to the Court (State and Federal High Courts) but it must be a court having jurisdiction.”
 A-G Oyo State v. NLC (2003) 8 NWLR (Part 821) 1
 Trial court in this paper deals with the superior courts of record – High Courts of each state of the Federation, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, The Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court
 Elabanjo v. Dawodu (2006) LPELR – 1106 (SC); Dalyop v. State (2013) LPELR – 21898 (CA)
 AG Lagos State v. Dosunmu (1989) LPELR – 3154 (SC)
 Olutola v. University of Ilorin (2004) LPELR – 2632 (SC)
 Adetona v. Igele General Enterprises Ltd. (2011) LPELR – 159
 Madukolu v. Nkemdilim (1962) 2 SCNLR 341
 NDIC v. Okem Enterprises Ltd (2004) 10 NWLR (Part 880) 107; Gabisal Nigeria Limited v. NDIC (2008) LPELR – 4177 (CA)
 Section 318
 Order 1 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009; Osunde v. Baba (2014) LPELR – 23217 (CA)
 Section 254C (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution (Amended by Section 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Third Alteration) Act 2010) provides for the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court in all civil causes and matters relating to or connected with any dispute over the interpretation and application of the provisions of Chapter IV as it relates to any employment, labour, industrial relations, trade unionism, employer’s association or any other matter which the Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine.
 This case, in the writer’s opinion, is the locus classicus on this issue.
 The judgment in Tukur v. Government of Gongola State was delivered on the 5th of September 1989 while the judgment in Jack v. University of Agriculture, Makurdi was delivered on the 30th of January 2004.
 Cases such as FUT, Yola v. Futuless (2004) LPELR – 5629 (CA); Gafar v. Government of Kwara State (2007) LPELR-8073 (SC) and Unachukwu v. Ajuzie (2008) LPELR – 3984 (CA) followed the principle of prescribed jurisdiction as set down in Tukur v. Government of Gongola State while cases such as Nnabuchi v. IGP (2007) All FWLR (Part 368) 1158; Ajayi v SEC (2007) LPELR – 4553 (CA); Zakari v. IGP (2000) LPELR – 6780 (CA) and Nigerian Navy v. Garrick (2005) LPELR – 7555(CA) applied the principle of concurrent jurisdiction as set down in Jack v. UNAM.
 (2011) LPELR – 159 (SC); (2011) 7 NWLR (PART 1247) 635
 Ironically, when judgment in the suit was delivered at the trial court on the 12th of March 2010, the judgment of the Supreme Court, particularly the holding of I.T. Muhammed J.S.C. in Adetona v. I.G Ent. which was given on the 14th of January 2011 and on which basis the Court of Appeal overturned the ruling of the Federal High Court, Benin was not in existence yet.
 Some of these cases include Agbaso v. Iwunze (2014) LPELR – 24108 (CA) and Federal Polytechnic Bauchi & Anor v. Aboaba (2013) LPELR – 21916 (CA)
 Section 42(2) of the 1979 Constitution
 See also Abegunde v. The Ondo State House of Assembly & Ors (2014) LPELR – 23683 (CA).
 Okoroma v. Uba (1998) LPELR – 6405 (CA)
 Tukur v. Government of Gongola State (Supra)
 Gafar v. Government of Kwara State (Supra); Osunde v. Baba (Supra)
 FUT, Yola v. Futuless (Supra)
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About the author:
Funmilayo Odude is a legal practitioner admitted to practice as a solicitor and advocate in Nigeria. An ardent and passionate litigator, she has been engaged in all forms of dispute resolution and corporate practice and currently practices in Lagos, Nigeria.
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