JURISDICTION: Jurisdiction of the Federal High Court – Whether jurisdiction of the FHC under Section 251(1) of the 1999 Constitution extends to claims for damages against federal government agencies – Instances where claims for damages can be accommodated under Section 251(1) of the 1999 Constitution:

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“Let me now consider the argument that even though the respondents claim is on account of the executive or administrative action or decision of the appellant, the trial court had no jurisdiction to entertain and determine it because it is not one of the subject matters over which S.251(1) of the 1999 Constitution gives the court exclusive jurisdiction. My view is that the trial court had the jurisdiction to entertain the claim and correctly exercised the jurisdiction for the following reasons. The principal or primary claim in paragraph 31(1) of the statement of claim is essentially for a declaration affecting the validity of the action or decision of the appellant in leaving live electrical wires uninsulated during the mass disconnection of electrical supply wires. It reads thusly A Declaration that the omission of the Defendant’s staff, leaving electrical wires uncovered which consequently caused the death of late Nazifi Muhammed”. A grossly negligent action cannot be a valid action. A negligent action or decision violates the legal duty of care placed by law on the person taking the action or making the decision in the circumstances. Being violations of law, such actions or decisions are invalid. Invalidity may result in a nullity or merely attract liability in damages or other legal relief. By virtue of S. 251(1)(r) of the 1999 Constitution, the Federal High Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to entertain the action for a declaration that the appellant’s executive action of disconnecting electricity supply wires and leaving on the ground the live wires uninsulated is grossly negligent. The claim as couched in paragraph 31(1) of the statement of claim fits into the kind of action that the Federal Court has jurisdiction to entertain under S.251(1) (1) of the 1999 Constitution in that it is an action for a declaration affecting the validity of the executive action or decision challenged. This action is not for damages for negligence simpliciter. Damages for the negligent action or decision was claimed in Paragraph 31(4) of the statement of claim as a consequential relief flowing from determination of the primary relief in paragraph 31(1) and two other consequential reliefs in Paragraph 31(2) and (3) of the statement of claim. Their determination depended on the declaration of the legal status of the said executive action or decision of the appellant as grossly negligent. The principal or primary relief claimed is clearly within the subject matter jurisdiction of the court prescribed in S.251(1)(r) of the 1999 Constitution. Assuming that damages is not within the trial court’s subject matter jurisdiction, its claim as a consequential or incidental relief would not deprive or rob the court its Jurisdiction Over the primary or principal relief. By virtue of its jurisdiction over the principal or primary relief, it can competently determine claims for reliefs that are a consequence of the success of the primary relief. The subject matter jurisdiction of a court is determined by the primary or principal relief and not by the consequential or incidental or ancillary relief claimed for. See the CONTROLLER GENERAL OF PRISONS & Ors V PRINCE PEDERO ELEMA &0rs (decision of this court on 5th February 2021 in Appeal No. SC.624/2018 ,0loruntoba -Oju & Ors V Dopamu & Ors (2008) NSCQR (Pt.1)278 and Western Steel Works v Iron &Steel Workers Union of Nigeria & Ors (1987) 1 NSCC 133@ 140.” Per EMMANUEL AKOMAYE AGIM, JSC in NEPA V. MALLAM MUHAMMAD AUWAL (2022-LCER-46637-SC) at Pp. 15 – 17, Paras. A-E.JURISPRUDENCE – Restitution – the Jurisprudence behind restitution for victim(s) of crime “The jurisprudence behind restitution for victims of crime is that it is the right of a victim to be reimbursed for losses caused directly by the Crime. Restitution is thus not a punishment for the offender, it is regarded in law as monetary debt the offender owes the victim of crime. A restitutionary criminal justice system includes a Court or a law in this case which allows both victim and criminal an opportunity to define more effectively what will happen to them after a crime has been committed. Restitution is thus a vital means of redress in unjust enrichment cases. I am of the firm view that the provisions for restitution do not constitute double jeopardy against the appellant.Per HELEN MORONKEJI OGUNWUMIJU, JSC in PATRICK EZERIKE V. THE STATE (2022-LCER-46643-SC) at P. 47; Paras. A-C.

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JURISDICTION: Jurisdiction of the Federal High Court – Whether jurisdiction of the FHC under Section 251(1) of the 1999 Constitution extends to claims for damages against federal government agencies – Instances where claims for damages can be accommodated under Section 251(1) of the 1999 Constitution

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