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[2022 SPIDEL CONFERENCE] Justice Kanyip raises concern on Conflicting Interpretations of Sheriffs and Civil Procedure Act on Judgment Enforcement


410 Friday 5th August 2022

The Hon. President of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, Ph.D., FNIALS has maintained that the enforcement of judgments is an important step in any matter brought before a Court for resolution, that where a party has judgment delivered in his favor by the Court, if not enforced, the judgment will be useless to the said party.

 

Justice Kanyip expressed concern about the conflicting decisions of the Apex Courts on the interpretation of the Sheriffs and Civil Procedure Act which has caused impediments to the seamless execution of Court Orders in Nigeria.

 


The Hon. President made the remark as a discussant on the topic “The Impediments to seamless Execution of Court Orders in Nigeria - Any Way Out?” held at the 2022 NBA-SPIDEL Conference, Abuja.

 

The event witnessed an array of participants among were eminent jurists, senior advocates, and members of the bar to name but a few.

 

The lead Speaker, Chief Mike-Ozekhome SAN stated that the frustration experienced by the litigants, especially the most well-heeled judgment–creditors in reaping the fruits of verdicts of Nigerian courts is as real as it is worrisome.

 

In addition, the learned SAN also expressed that Section 84 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, presents a formidable obstacle to their enforcement with its prescription of the prior consent of the Attorneys-General of either the Federal or a State, being first obtained before such judgments can be enforced through the attachment of the relevant funds or either property which belong to the public officer.

 


In the same vein, the learned Mazi Afam-Osigwe remarked on the worrisome trend of disobedience of orders and judgments of the court that the people and governments get away with disobedience of court orders because the courts are indulgent, pliable, and fail to use their judicial powers to ensure compliance with their orders.

 

“We cannot continue acting as if the courts can bark and not bite. The courts can and should stand their ground and ensure that those who disobey their orders neither get an audience before the courts nor get away with it.” He added.


Furthermore, the NBA President-Elect, learned Y. C. Maikyau SAN opined that the essence of laboring for judgment would be defeated if its enforcement is not seamless, and urged the Court to rise up to their responsibilities and not to place themselves under the clog of the Attorney general approval.

 

Indeed, it was a remarkable gathering towards an efficient and effective administration of Justice as the participants asked questions, and answers were succinctly provided.