PUBLIC OFFICERS PROTECTION ACT –ESSENCE AND RATIONALE OF THE PUBLIC OFFICERS PROTECTION ACT  

 

Admin2
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05/06/2020 11:02 am  
"By way of prefatory remarks, it is important to state the essence and rationale behind the enactment of POPA. The said enactment was promulgated to provide for the protection against actions of public officers acting in the execution of public duties. It protects public officers who have acted pursuant to the duties of their offices from being harassed with litigation, Fajimolu v. University of Ilorin [2007] 2 NWLR (pt 1017) 74.

 

The limitation provision therein, like every other limitation provision in all Limitation statutes, owes its evolution to considerations founded on public policy. First, there is the ancient principle which is now famous for its ubiquity. It is expressed in Latin: interest rei publicae ut sit finis litium - it is in the public interest that there should be an end to litigation. In addition to this requirement of public policy, the Law has also taken the view that a stale claim may not only be unfair to a defendant, it may actually wreak cruelty on him.

 

The reason is simple: with the vagaries of events; the concatenation of unavoidable circumstances and the sheer passage of time, such a defendant stands the chance of losing material pieces of evidence which hitherto formed part of the formidable arsenal of his defence. Limitation statutes, thus, evolved to vouchsafe to such a defendant a statutory defence to such a stale action. That is why such an action is said to be statute -barred! This formulation has an illustrious judicial ancestry, Aremoll v Adekanye [2004] 42 WRN 1; Ogboru v SPDCCO Nig Ltd [2005] 26 WRN 128." -
 
 
PER C. C. NWEZE, J.S.C IN ALHAJI ABBA MOHAMMED SANI VS THE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA & ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION


suit no: SC.68/2010

 


Legalpedia Electronic Citation: (2019) Legalpedia (SC) 42611



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Admin2
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 144
05/06/2020 11:03 am  

Summary Of Fact:


The Plaintiff/Appellant commenced this action at the Federal High Court, Kano Judicial Division by Originating Summons, against the Defendant/Respondents for authorizing the Swiss Authorities to freeze all the bank accounts held in that jurisdiction by late General Sani Abacha, his children, his servants and agents or any other third party who participated in the misappropriation of public funds.

The trial Court dismissed the Appellant's claims; he appealed to the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division which appeal was also dismissed; hence his appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Appellant’s contention bothered on the provisions of section 2(2) of the Public Officers’ Protection Act, which according to him operates subject to certain exceptions, qualifications or limitations embedded therein.

That it protects a public officer in respect of any action, prosecution or proceedings and that the Respondent acted outside the colour of his office without a semblance of legal justification.

The Respondent’s contention on the other hand, was that the Appellant’s case before the lower courts was caught by the provisions of the Public Officers’ Protection Act, in that it was not filed within three months as contained in the Act, and that the Appellant's argument about the non -existence of the Banks (Freezing Account) Act was outside the scope of the Public Officers' Protection Act.


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