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Jurisdiction of the Competition & Consumer Protection Tribunal: Clement Osuya v Stanbic IBTC Bank


Jurisdiction of the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal: A Review of Clement Osuya v. Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC

Law, Competition Law, Consumer Protection, FCCPC, Banking Law, Clement Osuya, Stanbic IBTC Bank.


By

Chimezie Onuzulike (Senior Associate, G.Elias)*

Athanasius Akor (Associate, G.Elias)**

Lilian Ezekwu (Associate, G.Elias)***


Business, Law, Leadership, Entrepreneurship. Jurisdiction of the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal: A Review of Clement Osuya v. Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC
Oyemaja; Jurisdiction of the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal: A Review of Clement Osuya v. Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC


 

Abstract


Whilst civil courts established by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) may have wide powers to determine the civil rights and liabilities of parties and award damages on matters within their jurisdiction, Tribunals created by statutes are more limited in jurisdiction. Tribunals can only exercise powers to deal with issues in respect of which jurisdiction has been specifically conferred on them by statute and to make orders which they are permitted by statute to make. This paper examines the extent of the jurisdiction of the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal over consumer disputes in the light of the Tribunal’s decision in Clement Osuya v. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc. The paper argues that under the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 (FCCPA) the only jurisdiction conferred on the Tribunal is appellate jurisdiction to hear appeals from or review any decision of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. The paper also argues that the FCCPC and the Tribunal established under the FCCPA are special bodies with limited jurisdiction to entertain only disputes relating to breaches of the FCCPA and to impose fines for breach of any provisions of the FCCPA. They are not empowered to determine the civil rights and liabilities of parties and to award damages for breach of duty, and the Tribunal has no original jurisdiction.


Keywords: Consumer, CCPT, Court, Damages, FCCPA, FCCPC, Jurisdiction.


 

INTRODUCTION


The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (the “CCPT”) was established under the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 (the “FCCPA”)[1]. Essentially, the CCPT was established to hear appeals from or review any decision of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (“FCCPC”) and any specific regulatory authority in a regulated industry in respect of competition and consumer protection matters[2]. The provisions of the FCCPA in relation to the jurisdiction of the CCPT suggest that the CCPT only exercise appellate jurisdiction on appeals against either the decision of the FCCPC or a specific regulatory authority in a regulated industry in respect of competition and consumer protection matters.


However, the recent decision of the CCPT in the case of Clement Osuya v. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc (the “CCPT Judgment”) [3] seems to suggest otherwise. The CCPT in that case held that its jurisdiction is not limited to only hearing appeals and/or reviewing the decisions of the FCCPC or their specific regulators but that aggrieved consumers are also empowered to approach the CCPT to seek redress or enforce their consumer rights under the FCCPA. The CCPT Judgment has raised certain pertinent questions. First, whether the CCPT has any original jurisdiction at all? Second, assuming without conceding that the FCCPA confers original jurisdiction on the CCPT, whether the CCPT has the jurisdiction to determine issues relating to banking or disputes arising from transactions between a customer and his bank or contractual disputes between customers and banks? Third, whether the jurisdiction of the CCPT extends beyond determining the extent to which a bank has breached any of the provisions of the FCCPA considering that the CCPT is a special-purpose tribunal established solely to adjudicate on disputes bothering on consumer rights? It will appear that the answer to each of the three questions should be “no”.


This paper attempts to review the CCPT Judgment in the light of the issues that have been raised. The paper is divided into five parts. Part One is the general introduction. Part Two considers the provisions of the FCCPA dealing with the jurisdiction of the CCPT. Part Three reviews Clement Osuya v. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc. Part Four is the authors’ analysis and commentary. Part Five concludes the paper.


 

JURISDICTION OF THE CCPT


The FCCPA has a couple of provisions spelling out the jurisdiction and/or power of the CCPT. A community reading of those provisions suggests that only appellate jurisdiction is conferred on the CCPT under the FCCPA. However, the CCPT held in Clement Osuya v. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc[4] that the FCCPA also confers original jurisdiction on it. Section 39 (1) of the FCCPA established the CCPT. Section 39(2) of the FCCPA provides that “the Tribunal shall adjudicate over conducts prohibited under this Act and exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on it under this Act or any other enactment”. Section 38 of the FCCPA provides that “subject to regulations made by the Commission, appeals from any decision of the Commission shall lie to the Tribunal established under section 39 of this Act”.


Section 47(1) of the FCCPA deals with the jurisdiction of the CCPT. It provides that “the Tribunal shall have power to- (a) hear appeals from or review any decision of the FCCPC taken in the course of the implementation of any of the provisions of this Act as may be referred to it; (b) hear appeals from or review any decision from the exercise of the powers of any sector of specific regulatory authority in a regulated industry in respect of competition and consumer protection matters; (c) issue such orders as may be required of it under this Act; and (d) make any ruling or such other orders as may be necessary or incidental to the performance of its functions under this Act. Further, section 47(2) of the FCCPA provides that “notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) (b), all appeals or request for review of the exercise of the power of any sector of specific authority shall first be heard and determined by the Commission before such appeals can lie before or be determined by the Tribunal”.


It is important to note that section 146 of the FCCPA provides that “a consumer may seek to enforce any right under this Act, a transaction or agreement, or otherwise resolve any dispute with an undertaking that supplied the goods or services to the consumer by- (a) referring the matter directly to the undertaking that supplied the goods or services; (b) referring the matter to the applicable industry sector regulator with jurisdiction, if the undertaking is subject to the jurisdiction of the regulator; or (c) filing a complaint directly with the Commission”. Subsection 2 provides that “notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), an aggrieved consumer can directly approach a court with appropriate jurisdiction to seek redress”. As we shall see below, the CCPT after considering and interpreting the foregoing sections of the FCCPA, held that it has both original and appellate jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes bothering on consumer rights.


 

CLEMENT OSUYA V. STANBIC IBTC BANK PLC


The Facts

Clement Osuya (the “Claimant”) sued Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc (the “Defendant”) at the CCPT for an alleged breach of a consumer/banker contract and negligence. The Claimant alleged that he visited the Defendant’s branch in Maitama, Abuja on September 8, 2022, to conduct a transaction. He filled a form known as a “transfer receipt form” to transfer the sum of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) from his bank account with the Defendant to his Access Bank account.


According to the Claimant, the money he sought to transfer was intended for the payment of his children’s school fees which were scheduled to be paid on that same day. The Claimant further alleged that his account was promptly debited with the sum of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) but he did not get value in his Access Bank account. The Claimant alleged that he received a text message hours later at about 4.20pm that the transaction was being processed and would be given adequate attention.


The Claimant further averred that he called the Defendant’s call centre and was reassured that he would get value for the transaction on that same day. The September 8, 2022 instruction to transfer, however, failed as the Claimant did not receive value in his Access Bank account even though the said sum had already been debited from his bank account with the Defendant. The Claimant further alleged that he visited the Defendant’s Maitama branch the next day, September 9, 2022, to rectify the issue, whereupon the sum was reverted to his bank account with the Defendant.


The Claimant again initiated a fresh instruction to pay money to the same Access Bank account for the same N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) on September 9, 2022, at about 3:42pm. Again, his bank account with the Defendant was debited immediately but he did not receive the value for his money in his Access Bank account. He allegedly called the Defendant’s call centre on September 10, 2022, demanding a refund of his money to enable him to pay the school fees but did not get a positive response. The Claimant further alleged that due to the failure of the Defendant to refund his money after the transaction failed the second time, he was distressed, and had to seek a loan in order to meet his obligation to pay his children’s school fees. The Claimant alleged that he again sent a demand letter on September 14, 2022, to the Defendant for compensation for loss and financial distress suffered as a result of the failed transaction. The Defendant responded in a letter dated October 20, 2022, acknowledging the failed transaction but refused to assume liability. The Claimant commenced the action before the CCPT to seek redress.


The Preliminary Objection

The Defendant filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection dated January 30, 2023 challenging the jurisdiction of the CCPT to hear and determine the suit on a number of grounds inter alia that, (a) the FCCPA did not confer any jurisdiction on the CCPT to exercise any original jurisdiction in any dispute between the Claimant and Defendant in the suit, as same relates to the facts and circumstances of the case; and (b) given the combined provisions of Part III and section 47 of the FCCPA, the CCPT does not possess the jurisdictional power to hear and determine the Claimant’s suit as constituted. Three more are that (c) given the combined provisions of Part III, sections 17 and 18 of the FCCPA, the CCPT is not the authority to commence any enquiry or investigation into any breach of consumer rights in Nigeria, (d) given the content of section 146 of the FCCPA, the CCPT is not a designated force for the commencement of any dispute for the enforcement of a consumer right in Nigeria; and (e) the Claimant’s suit is a banking case which is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.


The Defendant raised two issues as follows: (i) whether the CCPT can exercise power to investigate an alleged breach of the Claimant’s consumer rights without prior resort to the FCCPC or the Defendant’s domestic regulator (CBN) (“Issue One”); and (ii) whether in any case, the CCPT has jurisdiction to hear and determine a suit which arose out of a Banker/Customer relationship (“Issue Two”).


In resolving Issue One, the CCPT held that it is an ‘adjudicating body’ established to ‘adjudicate over all conducts prohibited under the FCCPA and exercise the jurisdiction conferred on it under the FCCPA or any other enactment. According to the CCPT, it does not have the power to investigate but it has powers to adjudicate, and that there is no suit before it praying it to investigate an alleged breach of the Claimant’s consumer rights. Consequently, the CCPT resolved Issue One against the Defendant[5].


In resolving Issue Two against the Defendant, the CCPT held that the primary responsibility of the CCPT is to adjudicate over conduct prohibited under the FCCPA. The CCPT added that (i) the appellate jurisdiction of the CCPT enshrined in section 47 of the FCCPA can only be construed as additional to the original jurisdiction to adjudicate over conducts prohibited under the FCCPA, (ii) the proviso to section 251(1)(d) of the Constitution curtailed the exclusive powers of the Federal High Court where the subject- matter falls within a banker customer relationship and vests the same in other courts of concurrent jurisdiction i.e., the CCPT or any other High Court of the Federation, and (iii) as long as it has to do with the breach or the alleged breach of consumer rights, irrespective of the industry (banking inclusive), the CCPT possesses original jurisdiction.


The Judgment of the CCPT

Having struck out the Defendant’s Preliminary Objection, the CCPT proceeded to hear the matter on the merits. The CCPT distilled issues for determination of which four stood out: (a) whether the Defendant owe a duty of care to the Claimant? (b) whether the Defendant breached the duty of care? (c) whether the Defendant is liable for such a breach? and (d) whether the Claimant suffered any injury from the alleged breach of duty of care by the Defendant?


In resolving the first issue in favour of the Claimant, the CCPT held that by virtue of the Defendant, issuing an account number to the Claimant, a fiduciary relationship is established, and that the fiduciary relationship imposes a duty of care by the Defendant to the Claimant. In resolving the second issue also against the Defendant, the CCPT held that since the Claimant instructed the Defendant to carry out a transfer on his behalf for a specified sum which was less than the funds in his account at the said time, the inability of the Defendant to complete the transfer as instructed is a clear breach of the duty of care the Defendant owed the Claimant.


On the third issue, the Defendant had argued that the instruction of the Claimant did not fail on their platform but on the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (“NIBSS”) platform, and as such the Defendant cannot be held liable for breaching its duty to the Claimant because it has no control over the NIBBS platform. The CCPT, however, disagreed with the Defendant and held that the Claimant had no direct dealings with NIBBS. According to the CCPT, NIBBS was marketed to the Claimant by the Defendant and as such, the Defendant cannot avoid liability for any breach of its duty of care to the Claimant.


On the fourth issue, the CCPT held that the Claimant was unable to prove that he suffered any injury from the alleged breach of the duty of care by the Defendant. However, the CCPT awarded N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira) as general damages for breach of duty and N1,000,000.00 (One Million Naira) as cost of action in favour of the Claimant. The CCPT also found the Defendant liable for contravening section 130(1)(a) of the FCCPA and a fine of N120,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Twenty Million Naira) was imposed on the Defendant.


 

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY


The CCPT held that (i) section 39 of the Act confers it with primary and original jurisdiction to “adjudicate” over conduct prohibited under the FCCPA, and (ii) by the combined reading of sections 39 and 47 of the FCCPA, it has both original and appellate jurisdiction. In reaching this finding, the CCPT appears to have been galvanized by the word ‘adjudicate’ used in section 39 of the FCCPA. Further, the CCPT held that if the framers of the FCCPA intended the CCPT to be only an appellate body or merely to review the decisions of the FCCPC and sector regulators, it would have been established as the “Competition and Consumer Protection Appeal Tribunal”.


Whilst the reasoning of the CCPT in this regard would appear to make sense, it is, with the greatest respect to the CCPT, a very simplistic approach to the interpretation of section 39 and other sections of the FCCPA. The word adjudicate simply means to hear and decide judicially and give judgment on a matter or dispute.[6] The Black’s Law Dictionary defines ‘adjudicate’ to mean ‘to rule on judicially” and ‘adjudication’ to mean ‘the legal process of resolving a dispute; the process of judicially deciding a case’[7] . The process of ‘adjudication’ can be used to describe both proceedings before a court or tribunal sitting as a court or tribunal of first instance and a court or tribunal exercising appellate jurisdiction. It would therefore be shortsighted to assume that the use of the word ‘adjudicate’ in section 39 suggests that the FCCPA was intended to confer original jurisdiction on the CCPT.


The law is settled that to discover the real intention of the lawmakers in enacting a statute, the legislation or the particular section or sections to the issue in controversy must be read as a whole[8] . In Mobil Oil (Nig) Olc v. IAL 36 Inc[9] the Supreme Court held that: “[i]t is an elementary principle and fundamental to the construction of the provisions of any statute to read the sections as a whole to enable the interpreter gather the collective sense of the provisions… It is imperative in the construction of a section to read together all the sections and paragraphs. This is because the sub-sections or sub-paragraphs may be and are necessarily complimentary to and explain the meaning and scope of the main section or paragraph. The meaning of a section may be controlled by other individual sections or subsections in the same Act”.


A community reading of sections 39, 47 and 146 of the FCCPA shows that the only jurisdiction conferred on the CCPT is appellate jurisdiction to hear appeals from or review any decision of the FCCPC. Whilst section 39 says that the CCPT ‘shall adjudicate over conducts prohibited under the Act and exercise the jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on it under the Act’, section 47(1) spells out the jurisdiction of the CCPT. The jurisdiction to entertain complaints directly from consumers was not included in section 47(1).


It would be erroneous to argue that such power need not be spelt out in section 47(1) since it is assumed to have been incorporated in section 39. Section 39 is not the section dealing with the jurisdiction of the CCPT. Rather section 39 is the section which establishes the CCPT and clearly states that the CCPT shall exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on it under the FCCPA. This is clear from the marginal notes in section 39.[10] The jurisdiction, powers and authority referred to in section 39 have been clearly set out in section 47(1). It is therefore wrong to refer to section 39 to determine the jurisdiction of the CCPT.


What is more, if the intention of the draftsmen of the FCCPA - to the effect that the CCPT was only created to exercise appellate jurisdiction by way of appeal or review of the decision of the FCCPC – were not clear enough from the provisions of sections 39 and section 47(1), then the provision of section 47(2) puts the matter beyond doubt. To be sure, section 47(2) of the FCCPA provides ‘notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1)(b), all appeals or request for review of the exercise of the power of any sector or specific authority shall first be heard and determined by the Commission [FCCPC] before such appeals can lie before or be determined by the Tribunal [CCPT]” (emphasis supplied).


The foregoing provision of section 47(2) clearly shows that the draftsmen did not intend that any matter or dispute would go directly to the CCPT without having been first entertained and determined by the FCCPC. Otherwise, what would be the need to require that appeals from or requests for review of decisions of sector regulators be first heard and determined by the FCCPC before such appeals can lie before or be determined by the CCPT? Section 47 resonates with section 38 of the FCCPA, and a combined reading of both sections would clearly reveal that the CCPT can only exercise its jurisdiction in an appellate capacity.


Instructively, section 146 of the FCCPA sets out how a consumer may enforce his or her right under the FCCPA. Section 146 clearly shows the bodies empowered to receive and entertain complaints directly from consumers. To be sure, section 146 of the FCCPA provides as follows:


“(1) A consumer may seek to enforce any right under this Act, a transaction or agreement, or otherwise resolve any dispute with an undertaking that supplied the goods or services to the consumer by-


(a) referring the matter directly to the undertaking that supplied the goods or services;

(b) referring the matter to the applicable industry sector regulator with jurisdiction, if the undertaking is subject to the jurisdiction of the regulator; or

(c) filing a complaint directly with the Commission


(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), an aggrieved consumer can directly approach a court with appropriate jurisdiction to seek redress”.



Section 146 did not mention the CCPT. The courts mentioned in section 146(2) are regular civil courts and not the CCPT. We agree with the dissenting opinion of Chu’ma Mbonu in that case that if the intention of the draftsmen was to confer original jurisdiction on the Tribunal, section 146(2) would have clearly read that, “an aggrieved consumer may directly approach the Tribunal or Court with appropriate jurisdiction”. Section 39(2) merely defines the scope of the area or subject matter of jurisdiction of the CCPT in its appellate and review capacity and power. It does not vest the power and jurisdiction of the FCCPC also in the CCPT. The holding of the CCPT that the word “Court” as used in section 146(2) of the FCCPA includes the CCPT is fundamentally wrong.


The CCPT has held that it maintains concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal High Court and the High Courts of the Federation and as such, it has the jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes arising from banker/customer relationship. This position taken by the CCPT is completely erroneous for more than one reason. First, as submitted above, the CCPT can only sit in an appellate capacity on appeals or requests for reviews arising from the decision of the FCCPC or specific regulatory industry. There is no provision in the FCCPA that confers original jurisdiction on the CCPT. The CCPT, not being a civil court cannot therefore be said to have concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal High Court and the High Courts of the Federation in relation to banker/customer relationships. The authorities are clear that only the Federal High Court and the High Courts of the States have the jurisdiction to entertain disputes arising from banker/customer relationships.[11]


Interestingly, the Tribunal Judgment strongly rested on the breach of the Defendant’s duty of care which it owes to the Claimant. The CCPT found that (i) the Defendant breached the banker/customer contract between the parties, (ii) the Defendant breached its duty of care owed to the Claimant, and (iii) because there was a breach of duty of care, the Claimant is entitled to general damages. The CCPT thereafter, in addition to the fine of N120,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Twenty Million Naira) awarded against the Defendant for violating the provisions of the FCCPA, also awarded the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira) against the Defendant for breach of duty of care and illegally withholding the Claimant’s funds longer than the time approved by the sector regulator.


Apart from the fine of N120,000,000.00 awarded against the Defendant for violation of the provisions of the FCCPA, other findings set out above and the award of N5,000,000.00 damages made in favour of the Claimant were not made pursuant to the alleged breach of the FCCPA. They were made pursuant only to the breach of the Defendant’s duty of care. The question at this juncture is “is the CCPT empowered to make findings on civil rights and liabilities of parties and award damages in favour of a party (other than fines) for breach of duty?” The answer to the question must be ‘NO’. The FCCPC and the CCPT established under the FCCPA are special bodies with limited jurisdiction empowered to entertain only disputes relating to breach of the provisions of the FCCPA and to impose fines for breach of any provisions of the FCCPA. They are not empowered to determine the civil rights and liabilities of parties and to award damages for breaches of duty. That is strictly within the jurisdiction of civil courts. This fact can be gleaned from sections 51 and 152 of the FCCPA. Section 51(1) of the FCCPA which deals with the powers of the FCCPA to impose penalties provides that “[t]he Tribunal may impose administrative penalties only for- (a) a prohibited practice under this Act; or (b) the contravention of, or failure to comply with, an interim order of the Tribunal”.


No provision of the FCCPA gives the CCPT or the FCCPC the power to award damages for breach of duty[12]. Section 152 of the FCCPA puts this beyond doubt. Section 152 of the FCCPA provides as follows:


“Where upon an investigation by the Commission of a complaint by a consumer, it is proved that-


(a) the consumer’s right has been violated, or

(b) a wrong has been committed by the way of trade, provision of services, supply of information or advertisement thereby causing injury or loss to the consumer,


the consumer shall in addition to the redress which the Commission may impose, have a right of civil action for compensation or restitution in a court of competent jurisdiction.”



The foregoing is clearly to the effect that the FCCPA intended that the FCCPC and the CCPT will not have the jurisdiction to (i) determine the rights of parties as they relate to contracts entered between them, or to (ii) award damages for breach of duty. This is why consumers were reminded in the text of their right of civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction for compensation or restitution for any breach of duty or violation of their rights.


The CCPT acted beyond the scope of its powers under the FCCPA when it held that the Defendant breached (i) the banker/customer contract between the parties, and (ii) its duty of care owed to the Claimant, and proceeded to award N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira) damages in favour of the Claimant for the Defendant’s breaches of duty.


In AG Bendel State et al. V. Aideyan[13] the Supreme Court held that “[i]t must be regarded as perfectly settled, in this country at least, that when a court or tribunal is created as one of limited jurisdiction, it can only exercise judicial powers within the confines of the jurisdiction so conferred. See on this: Bronik Motors Ltd. v. Wema Bank Ltd. (1983) 1 S. C. N. R. 396; Alhaji Zanner Bukar Mandara v. The Attorney- General of the Federation (1984) 4 SC. 8.”


Pronouncing on a similar issue, Kutigi, J.S.C (as he then was) aptly put it in Yusuf v. Obasanjo[14] as follows:


"Strictly speaking, I think matters or things which Constitute infractions of the Constitution and Companies and Allied Matters Act or any Act for that matter, should go before the High Court and or Federal High Court as the case may be. The Courts are vested with jurisdiction under the Constitution and the laws to listen to those infractions or complaints, and not the Tribunal. " There is no gainsaying that election petitions are sui generis. They are in a special class of their own. The jurisdiction of an election petition Tribunal to deal with election petitions is of a very special nature different from that in an ordinary civil case. The proceedings are special for which special provisions are made by and under the Constitution. Grounds for an election petition must be limited to those prescribed by S.239 of the 1999 Constitution and S.145(1) of the 2006 Electoral Act. Other matters in dispute must be litigated upon in other Courts prescribed by the Constitution. See Yusuf v. Obasanjo supra. See also Buhari v. Yusuf (2003) 6 S.C.N.J 344 at 359. The case of A.G. Abia State v. A.G. Fed. (2002) 3 S.C.N.J 158 supports the stand that where there is a dispute as to the legality of the exercise of any legislative power, the dispute cannot be resolved by Courts or Tribunals created for a specific purpose, but can only be resolved by the regular Courts of the land. That is a Court vested with original jurisdiction to pronounce on the legality of the exercise of legislative powers by the President of the Court of Appeal. That in my opinion would be in this case the Federal High Court”.


Banker/customer relationships are completely outside the purview of the CCPT. It is submitted that the CCPT does not have original jurisdiction over disputes arising from an alleged breach of the FCCPA. Even assuming (but not conceding) that it has such original jurisdiction, the said jurisdiction should be limited to the determination of complaints of breaches of the provisions of the FCCPA without more. Any attempt by the CCPT to determine issues which are outside the remit of the FCCPA would be a usurpation of the powers of the civil courts.


 

CONCLUSION


The CCPT was not created to exercise original jurisdiction over disputes on breaches of consumer rights. The CCPT can only sit on appeals from decisions of the FCCPC or at most, other specific regulatory authority such as that of the CBN. The powers of the CCPT to determine disputes that affect the interests of consumers should be limited to such disputes relating to or alleging breaches of the FCCPA. No provision of the FCCPA gives the CCPT the power to determine allegations of breach of contract or award damages for breach of duty. By assuming jurisdiction to determine the case and proceeding to award damages against the Defendant, the CCPT had adorned itself with illegally borrowed plumes.



 

End Notes


*LLB, BL, MCIArb (UK). Senior Associate at G. Elias, Lagos Nigeria

**LLB, BL. Associate at G. Elias, Lagos Nigeria *

**LLB, BL. Associate at G. Elias, Lagos Nigeria

  1. Section 39

  2. Ibid. Section 47

  3. Suit No: CCPT/OP/2/2022

  4. Clement Osuya (n 3).

  5. The CCPT refused to pronounce on whether or not the Claimant should have first referred the matter to the FCCPC, or any sector regulator because, according to it, same has no practical significance since CCPT has no power to investigate as distinct from a power to adjudicate, and it was being called upon to adjudicate and not to investigate the Claimant’s claims.

  6. See Websters New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (2nd edition), at 24.

  7. Bryan A Garner, Black’s Law Dictionary (10th edn, Thomson Reuters 2014) pg. 50

  8. Nwobike v. FRN (2021) LPELR-56670 (SC)

  9. (2000) 6 NWLR (Pt. 659) 146 at 168

  10. Marginal notes to sections are good guides to knowing the intention of the law makers. Marginal notes are useful in considering the purpose of a section and the mischief at which it is aimed. See Osiec et al. V. AC et al (2010) LPELR-2818 (SC)

  11. In Michmerah Intl ltd v. Nigeria Intl Bank Ltd. (2015) LPELR – 25768 (CA); Sambawa Farms Ltd et al. v. Bank of Agriculture Ltd. (2015) LPELR – 25939 (CA).

  12. The only situation where the FCCPC is allowed to award damages against a Defendant and in favour of a Claimant (as distinct from fines) is upon the entry of a consent order by the FCCPC on terms agreeable to the Defendant. See section 149 of the FCCPA. Hence, in the absence of the Defendant’s consent, the FCCPC’s power to award damages in favour of the Claimant is not exercisable. The CCPT on the other hand completely lacks the power to award damages under any circumstances.

  13. (1989) LPELR-3158(SC)

  14. (2004) 5 S.C.N.J 1



Originally published by Chimezie Onuzulike on LinkedIn



Oyemaja Law, a division of The Oyemaja Group.



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