THE MOMENTOUS WEIGHT OF A CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT
KARIMU SUNDAY V. THE STATE (2017) LPELR-42259(SC)
PRACTICE AREA: CRIMINAL LAW
On how significant the confession of an accused is, Mary Ukaego Peter-Odili. JSC while delivering the leading judgment in the case at hand, upheld that an accused can be convicted basically on his confessional statement. In her words, “In this instance, the situation is all the more against the appellant’s position with a rock solid confessional statement which on its own is enough upon which a conviction can be secured”. Sidi Dauda Bage, JSC in her own contribution also held that “…an accused person can be convicted on his confession alone once it is properly proved and admitted in evidence”.
While going further to talk about the effect of a confessional statement even when same is purported to be retracted, Mary Ukaego Peter-Odili. JSC said “In those extra-judicial statements, confessional in nature it is to be taken as the best evidence against the accused/appellant as they contained admissions of his guilt. The attempt to retract did not augur well as there was nothing stopping the statement being admitted and being given the probative value they deserved being direct and positive. Also not to be lost sight of is that they are sufficient in the circumstances alone to sustain a conviction”.
On whether the Court can convict on the basis of a retracted statement, Sidi Dauda Bage, JSC also had this to say “The circumstance of the present case is the existence of a confessional statement retracted at the trial. Can the Court convict on such a confessional statement? The law is that the court can convict on a confessional statement retracted at the trial if satisfied that the accused person to the circumstances which give credibility to the contents of the confession. But it is desirable that; before a conviction can be properly based on such a retracted confession, there should be some corroborative evidence outside the confession which would make it probable that the confession was true”.
Stating further on the effect of a denied confessional statement, Sidi Dauda Bage, JSC posited that “Furthermore a denial of a confessional statement by itself is no reason for rejecting the statement. The confessional where voluntary, is admissible once the statement complies with the law and rules governing the method for taking it and it is tendered and not objected to by the defence, whereby it is admitted as exhibit, then it is good evidence and no amount of retraction will vitiate its admission as a voluntary statement. The denial is only a matter to be considered in deciding the weight to attach to the confession.
SUMMARY OF THE CASE
The accused/appellant who was alleged to be wearing a black cap, black goggles and a black handkerchief which covered his mouth, on 09/03/04, at about 5pm, went to a cement shop in ljebu-lgbo, owned by one Ramotalai Alege (PW1), on a motorcycle. Upon arriving at the shop, the appellant alighted from the motorcycle and asked the rider, to wait for him. The appellant is alleged to have entered the shop on the pretext of purchasing 70 bags of cement from PW1. The appellant requested the cost of the bags of cement and as PW1 was about to take out a calculator from her bag, the appellant was alleged to have snatched her bag containing N3,600 and bolted out of the shop. The appellant then jumped onto the waiting motor cycle in a bid to escape with PW1 in pursuit. The appellant then threatened PW1 with a dagger which he pulled from his back pocket, but PW1 then began to shout for help, which attracted people to the scene. According to PW1, when people started coming to the scene, the person who was waiting with the motor cycle tried to move away with the appellant, cycle and the appellant jumped but PW2 Pulled down the motorbike and started running away apprehended by concerned bystanders, including an off-duty policeman, who had been alerted by the alarm raised by PW1 and PW2. The rider was apprehended at the scene of the crime, while the appellant was arrested a short distance from the scene of the crime. Upon his arrest, the appellant was taken to the Police station along with PW1 and PW2, and the rider of the motor cycle. At the station, the appellant made an extra judicial confessional statement. The statements of the rider and PW1 and PW2 were also obtained by the Police.
At the trial, the appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge. The prosecution called three (3) witnesses and tendered six exhibits, including the appellant’s extra judicial statement obtained by the Police. The appellant testified in his own defence but called no other witnesses in support of his case. The appellant however made a denial of the charge and sought to retract his extra-judicial confessional statements on the ground that he did not write it. The appellant however, admitted to appending his signature to the confessional statements after they had been read to him by the Police.
In a judgment delivered by the learned trial judge, it was held that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and convicted the appellant and sentenced him to death by hanging. Aggrieved by this decision, the appellant filed a Notice of Appeal dated against the decision of the trial judge seeking orders quashing his conviction and the sentence of death passed on him.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appellant’s appeal and affirmed his conviction and the sentence of death passed on him by the trial court under Section 1 (2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special provisions) Act.
The appellant, still aggrieved with this decision, has now appealed to the Supreme Court.
ISSUE(S) FOR DETERMINATION
Whether the Court of Appeal or Court below rightly held that the prosecution proved the offence of armed robbery against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
The Court concluded that this extant appeal lacks merit and it was dismissed accordingly. The concurrent decision of the trial court and the Court of Appeal in relation to the judgment, conviction and sentence of the Accused/Appellant was affirmed.
- APPEAL – INTERFERENCE WITH CONCURRENT FINDING(S) OF FACT(S): Attitude of the Supreme Court to interference with concurrent finding(s) of fact(s) of Lower Courts
“On the concurrent findings of the two Courts below, this Court is loath to interfere as the exceptional circumstances such as perversity of findings or miscarriage of justice have not occurred. An interference which appellant is now seeking is not a given or dished out just for the fun or heck of it. See Ogunbayo v. State (2007) 8 NWLR (Pt.1035) 157; Nwanobomu v State (1994) 2 NWLR (Pt.327) 380 at 402.”Per PETER-ODILI, J.S.C. (P. 23, Paras. A-C)
- APPEAL – INTERFERENCE WITH CONCURRENT FINDING(S) OF FACT(S): Attitude of the Supreme Court to interference with concurrent finding(s) of fact(s) of Lower Courts
“This Court is loathe to interfere with the concurrent findings of the two lower Courts most especially where the facts turned on the credibility of witnesses.”Per AKA’AHS, J.S.C. (P. 27, Paras. E-F)
- EVIDENCE – CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: Whether confession is the best form of evidence in a criminal trial; whether it is sufficient alone to sustain a conviction
“… In those extra-judicial statements, confessional in nature it is to be taken as the best evidence against the accused/appellant as they contained admissions of his guilt. The attempt to retract did not augur well as there was nothing stopping the statement being admitted and being given the probative value they deserved being direct and positive. Also not to be lost sight of is that they are sufficient in the circumstances alone to sustain a conviction. See Ikemson v State (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt.110) 455; Alarape v. State (2001) 5 NWLR (Pt.705) 79.”Per PETER-ODILI, J.S.C. (P. 22, Paras. A-C)
- EVIDENCE – CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: When is the proper time to raise an objection to the admissibility of a confessional statement
“I need to make reference to the argument herein surfacing from counsel for the appellant in the attempt to impugn the integrity of the confessional statement on the ground that the appellant could not have volunteered the confessional statements in Yoruba language because he is Igala ethnic tribe and so there is the presumption that he did not understand Yoruba. This argument in my humble view remains an exotic presentation in the line of duty of learned counsel for the appellant as no matter how beautiful and persuasive a rendition in argument of counsel, it cannot replace evidence and would not be used controvert the evidence as provided on the other side. The records show that at the trial, learned counsel for the appellant virtually objected to the statement being admitted evidence, on the ground that he was forced to sign the document and the learned trial judge adjourned the matter for a trial within trial so as to determine the voluntariness of the statement. At the resumed hearing, learned counsel withdrew the objection on the voluntariness or otherwise of the statement and rather stated that appellant did not make and so the statements sailed in. Nothing on the issue of ethnic stock or language be Igala or Yoruba came into the discourse at the trial Court including when the appellant testified in his own defence to show a disadvantage in communication. Therefore, not only is it too late at the address stage to raise the matter of a lack of understanding of Yoruba language nor the address of counsel the appropriate forum to impugn the voluntariness of the confessional statement. I place reliance on the cases of Olalekan v The State (2001) 18 NWLR (Pt.746) 793 at 824; Akpan v. State (2001) 15 NWLR (Pt.737) 748 at 758; Ikemson v. State (1989) 2 NWLR (Pt.110) 455; Okwejiminor v Gbakeji (2008) 5 NWLR (Pt.1079) 172 at 223.”Per PETER-ODILI, J.S.C. (Pp. 23-25, Paras. D-A)
- EVIDENCE – CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: Whether a court can convict on a retracted confessional statement
“The circumstance of the present case is the existence of a confessional statement retracted at the trial. Can the Court convict on such a confessional statement? The law is that, the Court can convict on a confessional statement retracted at the trial if satisfied that the accused person made the statement and as to the circumstances which give credibility to the contents of the confession. But it is desirable that; before a conviction can properly be based on such a retracted confession, there should be some corroborative evidence outside the confession which would make it probable that the confession was true. See: MUFUTAU AREMU VS. THE STATE (1991) 7 NWLR (Pt.201) 1 at 15; BASSEY VS THE STATE (1993) 7 NWLR (Pt.306) 469 AT 479, OTUFALO VS THE STATE (1968) NMLR 261 at 265 – 266, NSOFOR VS THE STATE (2002) 10 NWLR (Pt.775) 274 at 293.”Per BAGE, J.S.C. (Pp. 34-35, Paras. C-A)
- EVIDENCE – CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: Whether a denial of a confessional statement by itself can be a reason for rejecting the statement
“Furthermore a denial of a confessional statement by itself is no reason for rejecting the statement. The confessional where voluntary, is admissible once the statement complies with the law and rules governing the method for taking it and it is tendered and not objected to by the defence, whereby it is admitted as exhibit, then it is good evidence and no amount of retraction will vitiate its admission as a voluntary statement. The denial is only a matter to be considered in deciding the weight to attach to the confession. See: AUTA VS. THE STATE (1975) 1 ALL NLR 163 at 169; EMEKA VS THE STATE (2001) 32 WRN 37 AT 51; (2001) 14 NWLR (Pt.734) 666 at 687; KIM VS THE STATE (1991) 2 NWLR (Pt.175) 622 at 635.”Per BAGE, J.S.C. (P. 35, Paras. A-E)
- EVIDENCE – CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: Whether a court can convict solely on the confessional statement of an accused person
“Further still, an accused person can be convicted on his confession alone once it is properly proved and admitted in evidence. See REX VS AJAYI OMOKARO (1941) 7 W.A.C.A. 146, OGOALA VS THE STATE (1991) 2 NWLR (Pt.175) 509; QUEEN VS. OBIASA (1962) 2 SCNLR 402; (1962) 2 All NLR 465; EGBOGBONOME VS. THE STATE (1993) 7 NWLR (Pt.306) at 433.”Per BAGE, J.S.C. (Pp. 35-36, Paras. E-A)
OTHER NOTABLE JUDGEMENTS AND SOME OF THEIR RATIOS
IBRAHIM v. STATE (2017) LPELR-42261(SC)
- APPEAL – FORMULATION OF ISSUE(S) FOR DETERMINATION: Principles guiding formulation of issues for determination in an appeal
“Learned counsel did not indicate the ground or grounds of appeal to which any of the issues relate. The appellate Courts have always emphasized the need for learned counsel to indicate the ground or grounds of appeal from which an issue for determination is derived. See:Hein Nobelung Isensee K. G. v. U.B.A. Plc (2012) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1326) 357 and Nigerian Ports Plc v. B. P. Pte Ltd (2012) 18 NWLR (Pt.1333) 454. The principles guiding formulation of issues is that an issue may be formulated from one or several grounds of appeal but two issues cannot be formulated from a single ground of appeal.”Per AKA’AHS, J.S.C. (P. 3, Paras. A-D)
- CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – RIGHT(S) OF AN ACCUSED PERSON: Constitutional right of a person charged with a criminal offence to adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence
“The law is grounded on the fact that once a person is accused of a criminal offence, he must be charged to Court. The most important thing about the charge in any criminal case is that it must tell the person accused enough, so that he may know the case alleged against him and prepare his defence.”Per BAGE, J.S.C. (P. 47, Paras. A-C)
- CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – CHARGE(S): Guiding principles in considering an application to quash a charge
“The emphasis is not on whether or not there were defects, errors or omissions in the charge, but on whether those defects, errors or omissions could and in fact misled the defence, a defect which does not prejudice the defence is no ground for quashing a charge. See Mgbemene v. I. G. of Police (1963) 1 All N. L. R. 321, Omisade & Ors. V. R. (1964) 1 All NLR 233 R v. Ijoma & Ors. (1962) All N.L.R. 402.” Per BAGE, J.S.C. (P. 47, Paras. C-E)
- EVIDENCE – PRIMA FACIE CASE: Meaning of a prima facie case; when will same be said to have been made out
“At that stage of the proceedings all that is required is that a prima facie case of the commission of the offence should be made out against the person named in the information, and it is sufficient to show that an offence has been disclosed therein in respect of which the person so named therein could be linked – See Ikomi v. The State (1986) 3 NWLR (Pt. 28) 340 SC. A prima facie case is one that has proceeded up to where it will support findings if evidence to the contrary is disregarded.
Prima facie evidence means evidence, which on the face of it, is sufficient to sustain the charge against the accused person – see Abacha v. State (2002) 11 NWLR (Pt. 779) 437 SC and Ajidagba V. I. G. P. (1958) SCNLR 60, wherein this Court quoted with approval the definition of the said term in the Indian case of Star Sigh v. Jitendrana-thsen (1931) I.L.R. 59 thus – What is meant by prima facie (case)? It only means that there is ground for proceeding – – But a prima facie case is not the same as proof, which comes later, when the Court has to find whether the Accused is guilty or not guilty and the evidence discloses a prima facie case when it is such that it uncontradicted and if believed it will be sufficient to prove the case against the Accused.”Per AUGIE, J.S.C. (Pp. 45-46, Paras. D-D)
FUMUDOH v. IKE & ORS (2017) LPELR-42241(CA)
- APPEAL – FRESH POINT(S) ON APPEAL: Whether the issue of jurisdiction can be raised first time on appeal
“I should start a consideration of the issue with the objection by the Respondent that the issue and ground of appeal were not raised before the High Court and so a fresh issue that requires leave of Court to be properly and competently raised in this Court. All that needs be said is, as stated earlier, an objection that an action is statute barred by virtue of the provisions of a limitation law, goes to the jurisdiction of a Court to entertain the action. Being an issue of jurisdiction, the law is known that it can be raised by any of the parties at any stage of the proceedings of a case from the trial through to the final Court of the land without the need for leave of Court to do so. The genuine issue of jurisdiction of a Court to entertain or adjudicate over an action or matter brought before it, can be raised even orally at all stages of the proceedings of a case without hindrance, either by the parties or the Court, suo motu. It is therefore never too early or too late in the course of the judicial proceedings for the issue of jurisdiction of a trial or any other Court to adjudicate over a case or matter before it, to be raised. The reason d’etre’ of this position of the law has been stated and re-stated by the Apex Court and this Court in a legion of cases, among which isF.I.R.N vs. Gold (2007) 11 NWLR (1044) 1 @ 18-19 where the Apex Court said: – “Jurisdiction of Court is very fundamental, and lack of jurisdiction robs a Court of the competence to hear and decide the matter. In other words, once a Court has no jurisdiction to adjudicate on a matter, its adjudication of the matter will be declared a nullity by an appellate Court. The issue of jurisdiction of Court can be raised at any stage of legal proceedings, be it at the Court of Appeal or at the Supreme Court” The Apex Court, in the case of Nasir vs. CSC, Kano State (2010) 6NWLR (1190) 253 @ 270, had emphatically held that: – “— the statute of limitation is a matter of jurisdiction which can be raised at any stage of litigation, and I will add here, even in the Supreme Court.” Per GARBA, J.C.A. (Pp. 10-11, Paras. B-F
- EVIDENCE – EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE: Duty of the trial Court as regards perception, evaluation and findings of fact
“The law is very well known now that a trial Court, in its unique and advantage position of the physical appearance of witnesses who testify before it and through whom documentary and other physical evidence is tendered, has the primary duty to consider, assess or evaluate the evidence adduced by the parties in support of their respective cases on the issues of dispute between them. Evaluation of evidence is properly done by placing the evidence adduced by each party on either side of the imaginary scale of justice and weighing it to find out which side is heavier, not by the number of witnesses or documents tendered, but the quality of the probative worth or value based on credibility of the evidence. Mogaji vs. Odofin (1978) 4 SC. 91, Baba vs. N.C.A.T.C (1991) 5 NWLR (192) 388, Awoyoolu vs. Aro (2006) ALL FWLR (308) 1319, Okoye vs. Obiaso (1989) 8 NWLR (Pt.119) 145.”Per GARBA, J.C.A. (Pp. 31-32, Paras. B-D)
- EVIDENCE – EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE: Principles that the court must have regard to in the process of evaluation of evidence
“Factors that are considered in the determination of weight or probative value of a piece of evidence in the evaluation by a trial Court include: -
(a) Admissibility of the piece of evidence;
(b) Relevance of the evidence to issues in dispute;
(c) Credibility of the evidence;
(d) Probability and cogency of the evidence;
(e) Conclusiveness on the issue/s it seeks to prove.” See Mogaji vs. Odofin (supra): Onwuka vs. Ediala (1989) 1 NWLR (1996) 182: Osigwe vs. UniPetrol (2005) ALL FWLR (267) 1526.” Per GARBA, J.C.A. (P. 32, Paras. C-E)
- EVIDENCE – ADMISSIBILITY OF UNREGISTERED REGISTRABLE INSTRUMENT: Position of the law as regards the admissibility of an unregistered registrable instrument
“The accidence of the admissibility of an unregistered registrable instrument has been admirably considered in the said judgment, eloquently making it clear that where the document is tendered to prove or establish ownership or title to land, it will be inadmissible in evidence. Where however the document is tendered to show or establish that there was a transaction in respect of the land and that purchase price was paid by the purchaser then such an unregistered registrable instrument will be admissible in evidence. See OKOYE vs. DUMEZ NIGERIA LIMITED (1985) LPELR (2506) 1 at 14 (SC), ONWUMELU vs. DURU (1997) 10 NWLR (PT 525) 377 and ISITOR vs. FAKOREDE (2008) 1 NWLR (Pt.1069) 602.” Per OGAKWU, J.C.A. (Pp. 42-43, Paras. E-C)
- LIMITATION LAW – LIMITATION PERIOD: Limitation period for recovery of land
“Section 16(2)(a) of the Limitation Law relied on by the Appellant for the objection provides that: – “(2) The following provisions shall apply to an action by a person to recover land-
(a)Subject to Paragraph (b) of this Subsection, no such action shall be brought after the expiration of twelve years from the date on which the right of action accrued to the person bringing it or, if it first accrued to some person through whom he claims, to that person.”
Clearly these provisions deal with and provide for actions by a person to recover land or for recovery of land which is in possession of another person. The provisions are meant to apply to actions by a person who is out of possession of a piece of land which is in possession of another person and he seeks to recover the land and its possession. Such a person has to institute or commence his action for the recovery of the land within the period of twelve (12) years stipulated in the above provisions otherwise, “no such action shall be brought after the expiration of twelve years from the date on which the right of action accrued to the person bringing it.” Per GARBA, J.C.A. (Pp. 13-14, Paras. C-B)
AKINREMI & ANOR v. AKINREMI & ORS (2017) LPELR-42235(CA)
- CHIEFTAINCY MATTERS – CHIEFTAINCY DISPUTES: Whether reference of a dispute to the Chieftaincy Committee over the selection and appointment of an Oba under the Obas and Chiefs Laws of Lagos State is a condition precedent to the initiation of an action before the High Court
“As a foundation, as seen in the reasons or grounds of the Appellants’ objection that the High Court lacks the requisite jurisdiction to adjudicate over the 1st Respondent suit, they are completely predicated on the application of the provisions of Section 24(3) of the Chiefs Laws of Lagos State, 2003. The provisions are: -
“Where there is dispute, whether a person has been appointed in accordance with Customary Law to a customary chieftaincy, the chieftaincy committee may determine the dispute.”
These provisions appear to be clear and simple in tenor. By their straight forward language, they provide that where there is any dispute as to whether a person was appointed to customary chieftaincy accordance with or as provided for by customary law or customs of community concerned, the chieftaincy committee has the authority and power to decide or determine the dispute. The argument of the Appellants is that by these provisions, any dispute in respect of any appointment to a customary chieftaincy stool in Lagos State must first be submitted to the determination of the chieftaincy committee before resort may and can be had to the Court on the dispute.
Now, there is no dispute that the above provision of Section 24(3) provide for a dispute in respect of an appointment of a person to a customary chieftaincy and that a customary chieftaincy, as defined under Section 2 of the Law, is one “associated with a native community but lower than that of an Oba’. Section 2 also defines an Oba, to mean “the paramount traditional ruler of a native community recognized as such by the Government under any law and includes Aholu.” The bottom line therefore, is that there is a difference between the definitions of an Oba and a Customary Chieftaincy under Section 2 of the Law. Customary Chieftaincy by the definition is lower than that of an Obaship. Specifically, Section 24(3) talks of and provides for a dispute in respect of whether a person has been appointed in accordance with customary law, to a customary chieftaincy, as defined in Section 2 of the Law. It is therefore beyond viable argument that the provisions apply and are applicable to a dispute in respect of appointment of a person to a customary chieftaincy and not any other appointment, including that of or to the stool of an Oba, to which a Customary Chieftaincy is lower. Without any difficulty, it is “clear as crystal” that the dispute within the purview of the provisions of Section 24(3) over which the Chieftaincy Committee is vested with the authority to determine, is one in respect of the appointment of a person to a Customary Chieftaincy which does not include and is lower than that of an Oba. Since the parties, as demonstrated earlier, are one that the cause of the 1st Respondent’s action is the Obaship of Ijegun land, a stool to which a customary Chieftaincy is lower, the provisions of Section 24(3) are not applicable and do not apply to the action and reference of the cause of action first to the Chieftaincy Committee is not a condition precedent to the initiation of the 1st Respondent’s action before the High Court. The action was therefore competent and the High Court had the requisite jurisdiction to adjudicate over it.” Per GARBA, J.C.A. (Pp. 9-12, Paras. E-C)
- COURT – DUTY OF COURT: Duty of Court in the interpretation of relevant laws or statutes
“The law is firmly settled that in the interpretation of the provisions of a statute and application to any particular set of facts, a Court has a duty to consider all the relevant provisions of the particular Section and indeed, all other provisions of the statute in order to properly find and bring out the intention and purport of the statute and the legislature. In other words, the law requires that a Court shall consider all provisions of a Section and of a statute, as a whole, or wholistically and not one Section or a portion thereof, in isolation, in the interpretation of the statute and its applicability to any given facts of the case before it. It is the consideration of all the provisions of a particular section or all the sections of a statute that would best show whether or not they were applicable to the peculiar facts of a case, see Orji v. PDP (2009) 14 NWLR (1161) 310; A.B.S.U. v. Otosi (2011) 1 NWLR (1229) 605, Abubakar v. Nasamu (No.2) (2012) 17 NWLR (1330) 523 in addition on the cases cited by the Respondents on the point.”Per GARBA, J.C.A. (Pp. 15-16, Paras. D-C)
- COURT – JURISDICTION: How to ascertain the jurisdiction of courts over a matter
“In law, it can never ever amount to an over emphasis to reiterate, even if for the umpteen time, that it is the claim of a Claimant that denotes the jurisdiction of the Court and therefore, when the issue of whether a claim is competent or not is raised, it is the Claim of the Claimant as endorsed on the Writ or other Originating Process and the averments in the Statement of Claim, where one is already filed, that must be looked at and critically scrutinized to see whether or not it falls within the jurisdictional limit of the powers of the Court before which it was commenced. See Tukur v. Government of Gongola State (1989) 4 NWLR (Pt. 117) 517; Orthopaedic Hospital Management Board v. Garba (2002) 14 NWLR (pt 788) 538 @p 563.”Per GEORGEWILL, J.C.A. (Pp. 20-21, Paras. C-A)
- PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – ISSUE OF JURISDICTION: Importance of the issue of jurisdiction
“Now, the issue of jurisdiction is very fundamental to adjudication because it goes to the foundation and competence of any cause or matter or action before the Court. It is indeed the epicenter of the entire litigation process and thus without it there can be no validity in any proceedings or resultant judgment of the Court. It is thus the law that once an issue of jurisdiction is raised it must be determined first one way or the other by the Court because jurisdiction is radical and sine quo non to adjudication of any matter or action or cause in a Court of law and thus without jurisdiction there can be no competence in the Court. See Madukolu V. Nkemdilim (1962) SCNLR 341. See also Elugbe V. Omokhafe (2004) 18 NWLR (pt. 905) 319 @ p. 334; Ansa V. RTPCN (2008) 7 NWLR (pt. 1086) 421 @ p. 448; Gaji v. Paye (2003) 8 NWLR (pt. 823) 583 @ pp. 599 – 600; Fashogbon v. Adeogun (No. 1) (2007) AII FWLR (Pt. 396) 644 @ p. 658; Tukur v. Gongola State Government (No. 2) (1989) 4 NWLR (Pt. 117) 517; NDIC v. CBN (2002) 7 NWLR (pt. 766) 272.”Per GEORGEWILL, J.C.A. (P.21, Paras. A-F)