Examining the Propriety of Section 84(1) of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act of Nigeria from the Lens of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Central Bank of Nigeria V Insterstella Com Ltd
Authors: David Tarh-Akong Eyongndi, Oluwakemi Oluyinka Odeyinde
Affiliations: LLB (Hons) UNICAL, LLM (Ibadan), BL, Assistant Professor, College of Law, Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria; LLB (Hons) Ibadan, LLM (UNILAG), BL Lecturer Centre for Foundation Education, Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 10 Issue 1, p. 169 – 189
Where a person has litigated a case against anybody or the government and judgment is given in monetary value, where the judgment debtor fails to voluntarily settle the judgment sum, the judgment creditor must enforce the judgment. In enforcing the judgment which is usually via garnishee proceedings, the Sheriff and Civil Process Act (SCPA) provides that the consent of the Attorney General (AG) must be sought and obtained once the funds to be used in satisfying the judgment are in the possession of the public officer. This paper, while underscoring the rationale for this prerequisite, examines its propriety vis-à-vis the finality of a court judgment, by adopting doctrinal methodology. It raises the question that since the AG’s consent is to be sought and same can be denied, what option, if any, is open to a person after such denial? Can a mandamus be used to compel the AG to consent, seeing that the giving of consent is not a duty to be performed but a discretion? The paper argues that this practice amounts to subjugating the implementation of Court’s determination/decision to the discretion of the AG which is inimical to the smooth delivery of justice. It may undermine the sanctity of court’s pronouncements as well as democracy. Therefore, the paper calls for the abolition of this practice as way forward.