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Supreme Court re-affirms its powers to grant retrospective leave to appeal on grounds of mixed law


Supreme Court re-affirms its powers to grant retrospective leave to appeal on grounds of mixed law and facts in an appeal slated for hearing.



In a considered ruling, the Supreme Court granted a motion seeking the trinity prayers and a deeming order in respect of 4 of 6 grounds of appeal which were grounds of mixed law and facts in a Notice of Appeal.  Parties to the appeal filed and exchanged briefs of argument, the Respondent however filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the competence of 4 of the 6 grounds of appeal contained in the Notice of Appeal on the basis that the requisite leave to appeal being grounds of mixed law and facts, was not sought and obtained. The Appellant thereafter filed a motion seeking the trinity prayers in respect of the 4 grounds and an order deeming as properly filed and served the already filed Notice of Appeal. Counsel to the Respondent, Oditah SAN, QC opposing the application, contended that to indulge the Applicant at that stage and grant the reliefs would amount to allowing it regularize an otherwise incompetent process. It was further contended that the appeal, with the filing of briefs by parties, had been argued; therefore finding merit in the application would overreach the Respondent.



The Court considered Section 233 (2) (c), (6) and Section 236 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) as well as Section 27 of the Supreme Court Act, Order 2 Rule 31 and Order 8 Rule 4 of the Supreme Court Rules and two of its previous decisions which supported the Applicant’s position and held that the justice of the case required that Applicant be obliged. The application being meritorious was therefore granted in terms.


We acted as co-counsel to the Appellant/Applicant in the proceedings. The case is reported as South Atlantic Petroleum Ltd v The Minister of Petroleum Resources (2013) LPELR-21892 (SC).


Supreme Court affirms Court of Appeal decision upholding NAMA’s power to levy ‘domestic en-route charges’


Supreme Court affirms the Court of Appeal decision upholding Nigerian Airspace Management Agency’s (NAMA) power to levy ‘domestic en-route charges’ on Airline Operators.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria unanimously dismissed an appeal lodged against the judgment of the Court of Appeal Lagos, wherein the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency’s (NAMA) power to levy ‘domestic en-route charges’ in addition to ticket-sales charges was affirmed.  The Registered Trustees of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (the Appellant) commenced an action at the Federal High Court against NAMA in 2002 seeking the interpretation of Section 7(1) (r) of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (Establishment e.t.c) Act Cap 90 LFN 2004 (‘the Act’) as to whether NAMA is entitled to impose domestic en-route charges on airline operators. The trial Court gave judgment in favour of the Appellant holding inter alia that NAMA had no statutory power to levy domestic en-route charges on Airline Operators. This decision was set aside upon an appeal by NAMA at the Court of Appeal, Lagos which held that NAMA is endowed with the powers to charge for en-route local facility charge. The foregoing decision prompted the Appellant to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal holding inter alia ‘that if the intention of the law maker is that ‘en-route local facility charges’ should not be levied and collected by the Respondent (NAMA), provision would not have been made for its lodgement in a fund created under Section 11 of the Act wherein 30% ticket sales charges which the Appellant conceded Respondent has the power to collect, are also paid into’.
Our firm acted as Counsel to NAMA both at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
The case is reported as Registered Trustees of Airline Operators of Nigeria v Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (2014) 8 NWLR (Pt. 1408) 1 (SC).

Our Partners become Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators


Mrs Soyebo Mr Tolani Two of our Partners become Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, (FCIArb) UK.

Our Olabisi O. Soyebo, SAN and Oladipo A. Tolani were on the 7th of November, 2014, at a ceremony in Lagos-Nigeria, inducted as Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom. Mrs Soyebo heads the Abuja Office while Mr Tolani heads our Kaduna office.

Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, CON, SAN celebrates 50 years at the Nigerian Bar


Our Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, CON, SAN celebrates 50 years at the Nigerian Bar.
Our founder, Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, CON, SAN marked his 50 years as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in June 2014. In celebration of this great achievement and in commemoration of his countless achievements in the legal profession and in service of our nation, a biography was presented in his honour.  The biography titled ‘Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, CON, SAN: A Life Shared’ was authored by Professor Akinseye George SAN and its public presentation took place at the Ladi Kwali Hall of Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja on Thursday, 5th of June, 2014. The event was graced by many dignitaries, elder statesmen, family, friends and colleagues.
The book chronicles amongst others things, his life including birth, education, achievements in the legal profession and as a public servant, as well as his golden thoughts on various issues.
The book is a must-read for lawyers, judges, law students and indeed the general public. Copies can be obtained from any of our offices.


Timi Takes Silk


History was again made by the law firm of Abdullahi Ibrahim & Co. on the 12th day of September 2012 when Mr Rotimi Oguneso, a legal practitioner, and member of the firm was sworn in as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) along with 24 others at a colourful and impressive ceremony presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Aloma Mukhtar. This brings to four (4) the number of Senior Advocates in the firm- a feat unequaled by any other law firm in Nigeria.Fondly referred to as ‘Timi’ by friends and colleagues, Rotimi Oguneso, was conferred with the rank because of his resourcefulness as an advocate and outstanding contribution to the development of law in Nigeria.

A High Court Judge has no competence to deliver a judgment and adjourn to a later date to give reasons for his judgment.


The Nigerian Court of Appeal, Abuja Division delivered a judgment setting aside a judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on ground that the High Court had no right to deliver its judgment brevi manu and defer its reason(s) to another date. The Court of Appeal held that judgment delivered in such manner is unconstitutional, null and void.

The trial Judge delivered a judgment on 16th February, 2005 after full trial. In his judgment, he found for the Plaintiff and granted him a declaration of title over a plot of land in Asokoro District, Abuja inter-alia. The Judge however did not give the reasons for his judgment; he deferred the reasons to 15th of March, 2005 and consequently abridged the period within which to appeal against his judgment.

Abdullahi Ibrahim & Co represented the Appellant.

Abuja High Court Declares PDP’s Planned Congresses and Convention Unconstitutional


The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s planned non-elective congresses and convention suffered a set-back as the said congresses and convention were declared unconstitutional, null and void by the High Court of the Federal Capital territory in a suit brought against the party by some party members in September 2005.

Our Alhaji Ibrahim, SAN acted as Lead Counsel to the Plaintiffs in the Suit (Suit No. FCT/HC/CV/735/05)

The Federal Government has right to ensure that each State Government pays debts guaranteed by the Federal Government.


In an action brought by the Attorney-General of Abia state against the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Plaintiff contended that it was unlawful for the 1st defendant and his agent to deduct large sums of money from the plaintiff’s share of the Federation Account without the Plaintiff’s consent for the purpose of settling any debt incurred by Imo state prior to the creation of Abia State.

In dismissing the Plaintiff’s case, the Supreme Court held, inter alia, that the 1st Defendant derives its authority to deduct from the Plaintiff’s share of the allocations of the Federation Account from its agreement with the Plaintiff as its surety and guarantor of loans entered into with foreign creditors. The deductions are therefore not unconstitutional but lawful. The case is reported as Attorney General of Abia V. Attorney General of the Federation (2005) 12 NWLR (Pt940) 452.

Service of a Court Process meant for service on a Company on a Guard found in the Company’s premises and without an Affidavit of Service indicating what was served not proper service.


The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division in a unanimous decision allowed the appeal filed by MTN Nigeria Communications Limited against Bolingo Hotels and Towers Limited and set aside a money Judgment in the sum of N11, 961,714.00 awarded in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The Court of Appeal allowed the Appeal on the ground of improper Service in that there was no Affidavit of Service to indicate what was served, neither was there evidence of service of Hearing Notice. The Court also held that the proof of service which showed that a Guard was served is not the kind of service envisaged by Section 78 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 and Order 12, Rule 8 of the FCT High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 1989.

The Appeal is reported in (2004) 13 NWLR (Pt.889)117.

Abdullahi Ibrahim & Co represented the Appellant.

Supreme Court of Nigeria confirmed the Concurrent Jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to entertain disputes arising from banker-customer relationships


The Nigerian Supreme Court allowed an appeal brought by the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) against Okem Enterprises Ltd & Anor and held that, contrary to the position reached by the Court of Appeal, The High Court of the States in the Federation do not have exclusive jurisdiction in disputes between an individual customer and his bank. The Apex Court held that on a proper construction of the provision to Section 251(1)(d) of the 1979 Constitution and the effect to be given to Decree No. 18 of 1994 (as amended by Decree No. 62 of 1999), the Federal High Court and the State High Courts have concurrent jurisdiction in such disputes.

The decision of the Supreme Court is reported as (2004) 10 NWLR (Pt.880) S.C. 107

Abdullahi Ibrahim & Co. represented the Appellant.