“Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law or enactment, no suit shall lie against any member of the council, the Director General or any other Officer or employee of the Bureau for any act done in pursuance or execution of this Act or any other law or enactment or any public duty or authority or in respect of any alleged neglect or default in the execution of his duty under this Act or any other law or enactment, duty or authority, shall lie or be instituted in any court unless it is commenced within three months next after the acts, neglect or default complained of; or in the case of a continuation of jury, within six months next after the ceasing thereof”[1].

It seems to me that this limitation period for action under the Act is too short. Acts have always validly provided for limitation periods for actions or acts done or omissions made under them, but when we consider the Act in review and the nature of disputes that are likely to arise under it, we realize the shortcoming I am pointing at. Since the Privatization and Commercialization process are somewhat new to us, I submit that there is need for some judicial liberalization. Let people be given time enough to bring their disputes to Court after finding out their causes of action. This will not only enhance a peaceful execution of the program, it will also afford our Courts the opportunity to research and study the intricacies of the program and come out with seasoned legal decisions and principles that reflect our circumstances.

S. 23(1) Provides that:
No suit shall be commenced against a member of the Council, the Director General, officer or employee of the Bureau before the expiration of a period of one month after written notice of intention to commence the suit has been served upon the Bureau by the intending plaintiff or his agent”.
We need recall that under S. 23(2), the limitation period for action under this Act is three months. Then under this Subjection (3) one out of the three months must be spent on filing notice and waiting. This is clearly a further reduction of the limitation period to two months.
This situation is made worse by S. 24 which provides that:
“A notice, summons or other documents required or authorized to be served upon the Bureau under the provisions of this Act or any other law or enactment may be served by delivering it to the Director General or by sending it to the Director General at the principal office of the Bureau”
This provision makes palpable the difficulties which the intending litigant encounters in filing his notice within one month. He has to get to the Director General in person at the principal office of the Bureau. It means that if someone in Cross River State wants to sue the Bureau he must go to Abuja with his notice to see the Director General who he is most unlikely to actual see. It occurs to me that this good for nothing provision has the singular effect of frustrating litigants and their actions against the Bureau.
Furthermore, this provision is a violation of the rule of natural justice that nobody shall be judged in his own case. If for instance, I want to sue the Bureau for a claim the Director General is both my personal and nominal defendant. It may be that serving notice on the Director General does not mean that it is him that hears the matter but it nonetheless clothes him an air of superiority over the claimant. The question is why then am I presenting a notice of the action to the Director General? More seriously considered why must I be bound to wait for a month for my notice before I go on with the suit. These are fundamental legal questions, and I hope that when the time comes the legislature shall answer them and make corresponding amendments to the Act.

[1] S.23(2) of the Act
Share on Google Plus


The publications and/or documents on this website are provided for general information purposes only. Your use of any of these sample documents is subjected to your own decision NB: Join our Social Media Network on Google Plus | Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin