By Bola A. Akinterinwa
Honourable Amends R.N. Ukeje, Officer of the Federal Republic, the aboriginal changeable adjudicator to sit on the Federal High Cloister Bench, and additionally the aboriginal changeable Chief Adjudicator to be so appointed, has authored a book entitled, Built-in and Acquired Aids to the Estimation of the Constitution, Statutes and Clandestine Documents. The book, appear by the Ecowatch Publications (Nigeria) Limited, in aboriginal October 2018, is chapterised into seven. It is able-bodied printed and has a pagination of 255 pages. In acceding of format, the admeasurement is standard: 8″ by 5″. The lettrines are not beneath than 14 credibility and are printed on an fair 80 grams cardboard in three editions: soft, hard, flip.
The Honourable Amends Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, Chief Amends of Nigeria, wrote the exordium and acclaimed that ‘the best arresting allotment of the book, afar from its Title, is the apt use of constitutional, approved and administrative authorities to accent and abutment the administrative opinions declared in the Book itself.’ In the apprehension of the Chief Amends of Nigeria, the book is a ‘rich brainy assignment that would… absorb a baronial position in every bookish library.’
I cannot accede added with Amends Onnoghen. The book is added or beneath an abettor mémoire for new judges, attorneys who appetite to be allotment of the bench, and decidedly for apprentice lawyers. Added important, the acceding with Amends Onnoghen is not alone because of the all-encompassing ambit of cloister rulings addressed in the book from the angle of Nigeria’s Constitutions, statutes and clandestine documents, but additionally about because of the charge to go above the appliance of the appliance of anatomy and estimation in the conduct and administration of amends to the assay of its appliance in the ambience of bookish discourses, and decidedly in adept documents.
Put differently, to what admeasurement is the appliance of anatomy and estimation appropriate in the autograph of presidential or apostolic speeches and adept statements? For instance, how do we explain and adapt a account like ‘Nigeria angle with abundant concern’ President Donald Trump’s account on ‘lifelessness of President Muhammadu Buhari’? How accessible can it be to actuate the accurate activity of a adept letter in which letters are coded? Besides and added important, the aliment of all-embracing accord and aegis is abundantly bent by the admeasurement to which efforts are fabricated to accept the anatomy of a dispute, the admeasurement of efforts fabricated to sustain aegis by preventing adjustment and counter-order from amounting to disorder. Sustainable accord is additionally bent by the affection of estimation of the attitudinal disposition of the disputants from their prayers during mediation.
In the amusing sciences, for instance, account of problems, either in acceding of their causal factors, manifestations, management, or effects, etc, is about done aural the contexts of frameworks and methodologies in adjustment to accomplish the comment scientific. But alike at that, the charge to additionally attending at the anatomy an account takes, the charge for a actual estimation of the problem, cannot be ignored. This agency that the two best analytic agency of compassionate an affair and demography a accommodation on it thereafter, anatomy and interpretation, should be explained above the Constitution and Statutes in adjustment to added adorn added disciplines.
Justice Ukeje, in fact, declared the absorbing point thus: ‘the assumption that all animal agency of advice acquire anatomy and acceptation from the estimation of words, applies finer to the estimation of the Constitution, Statutes, acknowledged and clandestine documents.’ The point actuality fabricated actuality is that an act of estimation necessarily gives bearing to anatomy and meaning. This bearings can again accord acceleration to altered versions of a truth, back estimation may not consistently reflect the situational absoluteness on the arena and back the altered versions of a accustomed accuracy may additionally aftereffect from attitude of animal differences.
In this regard, what is the attributes of the anatomy and acceptation acquired from the assay of the Nigerian Constitutions, the assorted statutes and case studies? In which way are they altered from amusing science methodologies? What are the accessible acquaint for the amusing scientists and decidedly for acceptance of all-embracing law and relations? If an cold estimation of words, documents, statutes, etc, enables the ancestry of anatomy and meaning, and decidedly the activity of laws, legislators, and added acknowledged stakeholders, are the assorted aids advised by Amends Ukeje in the estimation of the Constitution, statutes and clandestine abstracts not appropriate in compassionate bookish documents? Whatever is the case, a basal textual comment of Amends Ukeje’s book is all-important as a commencement to accessible answers to the questions.
Summary and activity of the book
Writing grosso modo, the book explains the use of the Estimation Act (CAP LFN 1999) and the Evidence Act in the estimation of the Constitution and approved provisions.The courts are guided by some basal accepted law principles, alleged Canons of Interpretation, in the architecture of legislation. As authentic by the Supreme Cloister in the case of Awolowo Adjoin Shagari in 1979, “Canons of Estimation are rough, rather than austere abiding rules. Further, in the estimation of statutes, it is acclimatized that the courts should, in acknowledgment to the demands of justice, accept an all-embracing interpretation, unless a narrower estimation will best backpack out the article of the legislation.”
In Affiliate One on the acceptation of interpretation, it is acclaimed that the estimation of the Constitution or added Statutes is usually alternate in acknowledgment to actuate the rights and duties, liabilities and obligations of parties whether in a civilian or bent action.
Explained differently, courts accept the albatross of “interpreting the Constitution and Statutes in accompany with the ambition of the assembly who allowable such laws”, with the cold of removing loopholes or accidental ambiguities, if any, in the accent used. As Amends Ukeje has it, ambiguities are sometimes unavoidable. Consequently, “in the resolution of disputes and assurance of rights, situations appear area the words active by the legislators are cryptic or sometimes able of altered meanings”. In this regard, courts use built-in and acquired aids to ascertain the ambition of the draftsmen, legislature, or parties and to affected the applesauce that may aftereffect from such ambiguities”. This is the cogent cold of the exercise of interpretation.
Chapter Two provided actual change of Constitution-making in Nigeria afterward the achievement of the British acquisition in 1903 and the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria into the Colony and Protectorates of Nigeria in 1914. True, there were three abstracted absolute territories beneath British ascendancy before1900. They were the Niger Coast Protectorate, created in 1891, the Colony of Lagos, ceded in 1861 to Britain; and the area of the Royal Niger Company, “a trading aggregation accountant by the British Government in 1886 and accepted ample concessionary rights to backpack on barter aural the area covered by the Niger Coast Protectorate”. The area of the Royal Niger Aggregation corresponds with that of Northern Nigeria.
In all, Nigeria has had bristles pre-independence Constitutions: the 1914 Frederick Lugard Constitution of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria; the 1922 Clifford Constitution; the 1946 Richard Constitution; the 1951 Macpherson Constitution and the 1954 Lyttleton Constitution for the pre-independence era. All these were imposed and consultative. For the post-independence period, there are the 1960 Independence Constitution, the 1963 Republic Constitution, the 1979 and the 1999 Constitution.
Justice Ukeje acclaimed the claim and demerits of the 1922 Clifford Constitution thus: “it did not alone acquaint the constituent assumption which was awful cogent and novel. It appropriately led to the actualization of political parties. On its demerits, the Clifford Constitution abandoned the North from the South back little absorption was accustomed to diplomacy affecting the North and additionally afar Africans from the executive”.
While the 1946 Richard Constitution not alone provided for the representation of Northern Nigeria in the Central Aldermanic Council, appropriately authoritative it the aboriginal accomplishment to authorize a Single Aldermanic Council for the absolute territories of the a Nigeria, it additionally retained the constituent assumption of the 1922 Constitution, as able-bodied as conflicting three bounded councils: North, West and East. The capital cold for this, Amends Ukeje has posited, is to advance the accord in assortment of Nigeria, to defended greater accord by Africans in the altercation of their own affairs.
The 1951 Macpherson Constitution, which was partly aggressive by the 1950 Ibadan Conference during which it was absitively that Nigeria should accept a federal arrangement of government and Lagos should be autonomous, was the Constitution that conflicting a federal arrangement and a accessible account agency for Nigeria.
And conceivably added importantly, the 1954 Lyttleton Constitution “made bounded governments absolute of the Central Government in account of capacity and aldermanic admiral allocated to them. It conflicting a unicameral assembly for the Federal Government and anniversary of the three governments. And added decidedly “Lagos was taken out of the ascendancy of any bounded government of three regions (Northern, Eastern and Western), a mutual aldermanic framework (the Senate and the House of Representatives at the Federal akin and the House of Assembly and House of Chiefs, at the bounded levels. The aldermanic admiral are disconnected into three categories : exclusive, circumstantial ad residual.
The 1963 Republican Constitution conflicting Nigeria’s Aboriginal Republic beneath a aldermanic arrangement of government “by replacing the Governor Accepted appointed by the British Monarch with a President adopted anon by associates of the Nigerian Federal Legislature. Added important, in abode of the Privy Council, the Federal Supreme Cloister became appointed as the final appellate administrative ascendancy over any being or amount in Nigeria.
The 1979 Constitution, which can be accurately declared as the 50-wise men Constitution or the Welfarist Constitution presidential arrangement of government in Nigeria. In this regard, the President is not alone the Head of State, but additionally the Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. What is noteworthy about the Constitution is that the President does not accredit his Ministers from the assembly as appropriate in the antecedent Constitution.
Finally, on the 1999 Constitution, Amends Ukeje sees it as a democratic, presidential and a Federal Constitution, which accustomed the assumption of Separation of Admiral and the commutual article of checks and balances. The Constitution has had three alterations and amendments back its promulgation in 1999.
The focus of Affiliate Three is on the Canons of Estimation which are basically the Accurate Rule, the Aureate Rule, the Mischief Rule, the Ejusdem Generis Aphorism (of the aforementioned kind), and Lord Denning’s Advised Aphorism or Approach. The Accurate Aphorism has it that the primary albatross of the Cloister in the appliance and estimation of the law to cases is to actuate the absorbed of the assembly from the words acclimated in the statute. The starting point of estimation is the accurate rule, and this is artlessly that the words of the statute best acknowledge the ambition of the law giver.
The Aureate Aphorism Canon, accustomed in the locus classicus case on the case of Becke adjoin Smith, has it that “the words acclimated by the Constitution or the Statute charge be accustomed their accustomed acceptation unless this would advance to applesauce or would clearly battle with some accoutrement of the Constitution, and aftereffect charge be accustomed to these accoutrement after any added consideration.
As added explained by Amends Ukeje, the Aureate Aphorism permits the modification of the accurate faculty of the words acclimated in the Constitution or Statute area adherence to the grammatical and accustomed acceptation of the words acclimated in a Statute needs to be modified.” And added importantly, “the Aureate Aphorism of estimation is the apparatus devised to abstain applesauce and applesauce in the architecture of the Constitution or Statute”.
Regarding the ‘Mischief Rule, formulated in 1584 in Heydon’s case by the Barons of the Exchequer, it is predicated on four dynamics: assurance of the accepted law afore the authoritative of the Act; the Mischief and birthmark for which the accepted law did not provide; the antidote the Assembly has bound and appointed to cure ache of the commonwealth; and the accurate acumen of the remedy.
As commendations the Ejudem generis Rule, that is, “of the aforementioned or nature,” agency that back words in a approved argument are belted by belted words, the acceptation of the accepted words are taken to be belted by association with the acceptation of the belted words. Put differently, “where specific words are followed by the accepted words, the accepted words are construed almost to accept a agnate acceptation of the aforementioned affectionate above-mentioned the ones accurately mentioned.
On The Adapted Rule, it is the deride aphorism to the estimation of any statute and the aim of the cloister is to analyze the legislation as a constant accomplished to abstain aberration or argument amid the assorted sections or genitalia of the Statute. In answer this, Amends Ukeje referred to the case of Ojukwu Adjoin Obasanjo, the acknowledgment of which prompted ONU JSC to abide that ‘in interpreting approved or built-in provisions, such accouterment should not be apprehend in a of the added genitalia of the Statute or Constitution. In added words, the Statute or Constitution should be apprehend as a accomplished in adjustment to actuate the activity of the Act so, as far as possible, to accomplish a constant achievement of the accomplished Statute or alternation of Statutes apropos to the accountable matter.’
Also in this chapter, the advised approach; the basal presumptions (against change in absolute law, adjoin repeal, adjoin austere bent liability, adjoin denial of property, adjoin adjournment of administration and adjoin retrospectivity), as able-bodied as built-in and acquired guides are explicated. The built-in guides accommodate the preamble, branch and title, bordering notes, allegorical addendum while the acquired guides are about the dictionaries (both accent and law), textbooks of acclaimed authors.
Chapter four dealt with the estimation of the Constitution with accent on the procedures for estimation and modes of estimation of the Constitution in the Nigerian administrative action (literal, or apparent acceptation rule, liberalist approach), as able-bodied as added forms of estimation of the Constitution: austere constructionism which says that already a bright acceptation has been decided, no added assay of the built-in accoutrement is bare or required; antecedent (stare decisis); analytic (mathematical); ethical approach; bent interpretation; aureate rule; adapted architecture of the Constitution; and estimation of abounding Constitutional-related cases.
What is noteworthy about the above in the words of Amends Ukeje is that ‘in all, the spirit of the Constitution charge be adhered to, no amount the approach of estimation acclimated and no amount how bad-tempered and airy the affairs for the estimation ability be.’
“Interpretation of statutes, Subsidiary Legislation and Bye Laws” is the appellation of Affiliate Five. Three credibility are noteworthy in the chapter. The aboriginal is that ‘Courts accept the assignment to interpret, inter-alia, the law but not to alter or acting approved accoutrement which they accede childish or improper.’ Additionally, ‘Courts are to adapt words in a statute alone in accordance with the aldermanic activity and absolutely not in a way conflicting or contrarily to the purpose advised for the enactment.’ Secondly, a adjudicator charge not accompany to buck his claimed animosity or prejudices as to what the law should be, but what it is as carved out in the diction acclimated by the legislators. Thirdly, no estimation is accustomed to defeat the altar of the Statutes. The accent of the statute charge additionally not be continued to defeat the aim of statutes or the ambition of the legislation.
Chapter Six is on the estimation of acknowledged agreements and clandestine documents. It is submitted actuality that the basal assumption of law is that, it is not the assignment of any Cloister or Tribunal to accomplish affairs for the parties. Besides, accent is placed on adherence of contracts, that estimation should be based on the acceding of the contract, that there is the charge to booty a holistic appearance of the contract, and the charge to accede abstruse acceptation over accustomed meaning. Allegorical Latin maxims are additionally provided in this chapter.
Finally, Affiliate Seven, is an comment of abstruse words acclimated in the book. For instance, agenda cardinal 51 on ‘explanatory note,’ has it that it does not override the apparent acceptation of a contract, and the arrangement itself will abound if the agenda contradicts its content.
From the foregoing, there is no against the account of the book as a guide. The affair of Vie Internationale, however, is how to advance added reflections on the built-in and acquired aids of estimation above the Constitution, Statutes, and clandestine abstracts to accomplish them applicative to analysis documents, decidedly adept addendum and documents, as able-bodied as in library research. After any jot of doubt, the book cannot but be addition bookish accompaniment to Amends Ukeje’s beforehand book, The Nigeria Administrative Lexicon. The book presents an actual claiming for amusing scientists, which is how to amplify ‘interpretation’ aural analytic framework and methodologies.
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