INTERPRETATION OF STATUTE – RULES OF INTERPRETATION OF CONSTITUTION – Approach Courts adopt in finding solutions to Constitutional questions in the course of interpretation


“This Court’s approach to construction and interpretation of the constitution has remained to be of liberalism. This is absolutely so, because anything contrary thereto would tantamount to defeating the very end which the Constitution was enacted. As aptly reiterated by this Court in NAFIU RABIU VS. KANO STATE (1980) LPELR -2936 (SC): It is the duty of this Court which has the ultimate responsibility of declaring and interpreting provisions of the Constitution always to bear in mind that the constitution itself is, a mechanism under which laws are to be made by the Legislature and not merely an Act which declares what the law is. Accordingly, where the question is whether the constitution has used an expression in the wider or in the narrower sense, the Court should always lean where the justice of the case so demands to the broader interpretation unless there is something in the context or in the rest of the Constitution to indicate that the narrower interpretation will best carry out its object and purpose. Per Idigbe, JSC @ 31 paragraphs C- F. In the course of interpreting the Constitution, it then behooves the Court to consider the Constitution in its entirety – as a whole. That’s to say, the provisions of the Constitution ought to be construed in such a way as to justify the aspirations and hopes of the framers thereof vis-a-vis the laudable objectives of promoting the good Government and welfare of the citizens on the principles of freedom, equality, justice, peace and unity of the people.” Per SAULAWA, JSC in APC & ORS v. ESIEC & ORS (2021-LCER-40460-SC) (Pp 68 – 70 Paras F – A).

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