PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – ISSUE OF JURISDICTION – When can the issue of jurisdiction be raised; whether same must be determined first

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“Any challenge to jurisdiction of a Court or Tribunal is not merely important, but most fundamental to adjudication process. Thus, it can be raised at any material stage of the proceeding, by the parties, or even suo motu by the Court. As such, once raised, the question or issue of jurisdiction must be resolved by the Court or Tribunal before proceeding, if at all necessary, to determine the action or appeal on the merits. It was aptly reiterated inDADA VS SIKUADE (2014) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1435) 72: (An issued) Jurisdiction should be determined at the earliest opportunity. This is because if a Court has no jurisdiction to hear and determine a case, the proceedings remain a nullity ab initio no matter how well conducted and decided. A defect in competence is not only intrinsic but also extrinsic to the entire process of adjudication. Per Saulawa, JCA (as he then was) @ 114 paragraphs C – F. See alsoTUKUR VS GONGOLA STATE GOVT. (1987) 4 NWLR (Pt. 117); SKEN CONSULT VS UKEY (1981) 1 SC 6; MADUKOLU VS NKEMDILIM (1962) 2 SC NLR 374.” Per SAULAWA, JSC in APC & ORS v. ESIEC & ORS (2021-LCER-40460-SC) (Pp 63 – 64 Paras E – D).

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