Olumide Babalola Writes A’ Court President Over Conflicting Decisions on Joint Application for Rights Enforcement

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Lagos-based legal practitioner and digital/ human rights activist Mr. Olumide Babalola has urged the Court of Appeal to take a definitive position on whether or not joint application can be made for fundamental rights enforcement.

Mr. Babalola in a letter titled Joint Application For Fundamental Rights Enforcement: The Need For A Definitive Position By The Court Of Appeal” addressed to the President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Monica Dongban Mensem expressed concern over conflicting decisions of the various court of appeal divisions on the issue noting that it “remains untidy for our judicial system for litigants not to know where the pendulum would swing next”.

His letter reads in part;

It is worthy of note that, in the past 16 months, various divisions of the Court of Appeal have given conflicting decisions on the same issue. For the avoidance of doubt, see the decisions in: 

  1. Maitagaran v Dankoli (2020) LPELR 52025(CA) – in favour of joint applications.
  2. Chief of Naval Staff v Archibong (2020) LPELR – 51845(CA) – joint applications are incompetent.
  3. EFCC v Energy Property (CA/ABJ/CV/994/2020) – joint applications are incompetent.
  4. Government of Enugu State v Onya (2021) LPELR – 526688(CA) – in favour of joint applications.
  5. Abuja Electricity Company v Akaliro (2021) LPELR – 54212(CA) – joint applications are incompetent. 

My Lord, although our judgment appears to be the most recent on the issue, it remains untidy for our judicial system for litigants not to know where the pendulum would swing next, and therefore it is quite essential for the Court of Appeal to take a definitive position on this all-important constitutional issue. 

I thank your lordship for the audience while hoping this issue would empanel a five (5) man bench and settled the issue once and for all when next the Court is faced with such a question.

I am Lagos-based legal practitioner and frequent litigator on human rights matters. 

On the 24th day of September 2021, in an appeal I filed on behalf of the Incorporated Trustees of Digital Rights Lawyers Initiative against the National Identity Management Commission in Appeal No. CA/IB/291/2020, the Ibadan division of the Court of Appeal ruled that a group of persons can validly bring joint applications for the enforcement of their fundamental rights.

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