Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution: Exclusive Jurisdiction of the Federal High Court

Exclusive

The 1999 Constitution

Section 251 (1)

Notwithstanding anything to the contained in this Constitution and in addition to such other jurisdiction
as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly, the Federal High Court shall have and exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of any other court in civil causes and matters –

(The Federal High Court has the exclusive jurisdiction (that is, the power to hear cases to the exclusion of any other court) to hear the following matters; )


Section 251 (1)(a)

relating to the revenue of the Government of the Federation in which the said Government or any organ
thereof or a person suing or being sued on behalf of the said Government is a party;

(The Federal High Court has the exclusive right to hear matters which relate to revenue of the Federal Government.)


Section 251 (1)(b)

connected with or pertaining to the taxation of companies and other bodies established or carrying on
business in Nigeria and all other persons subject to Federal taxation;

(The FHC has the exclusive jurisdiction to hear matters which relate to taxation of companies and bodies created to carry on business in Nigeria and persons that are to pay taxes to the Federal Government.)


Section 251 (1)(c)

connected with or pertaining to customs and excise duties and export duties, including any claim by or
against the Nigeria Customs Service or any member or officer thereof, arising from the performance of any duty imposed under any regulation relating to customs and excise duties and export duties;

(The FHC has the power to hear matter concerning customs and excise duties, exportation including claims by the Nigeria Customs Service or against them or concerning an officer in the exercise of his duties relating to customs and excise duties and exportation duties.)


Section 251 (1)(d)

connected with or pertaining to banking, banks, other financial institutions, including any action between one bank and another, any action by or against the Central Bank of Nigeria arising from banking, foreign exchange, coinage, legal tender, bills of exchange, letters of credit, promissory notes and other fiscal measures:

(The FHC has the power to hear matters concerning banking, banks and other financial institutions and this includes matters between banks, banking matters against the Central Bank of Nigeria, foreign exchange, coinage, legal tender, bills of exchange, letter of credit, promissory notes and any other financial related measure; )


Provided that this paragraph shall not apply to any dispute between an individual customer and his bank in respect of transactions between the individual customer and the bank;

(On the condition that this particular section does not relate to any dispute between customers and their banks regarding an individual customer and their bank. i.e. issues an individual has with their bank is not under the exclusive jurisdiction of the FHC; )


Section 251 (1)(e)

arising from the operation of the Companies and Allied Matters Act or any other enactment replacing the Act or regulating the operation of companies incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act;

(The FHC has the exclusive jurisdiction to hear matters relating to the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) or an Act regulating the operations of companies that have been incorporated under the CAMA; )


Section 251 (1)(f)

any Federal enactment relating to copyright, patent, designs, trade marks and passing-off, industrial designs and merchandise marks, business names, commercial and industrial monopolies, combines and trusts, standards of goods and commodities and industrial standards;

(The FHC has the exclusive jurisdiction over matters relating to intellectual property rights; )


Section 251 (1)(g)

any admiralty jurisdiction, including shipping and navigation on the River Niger or River Benue and their
affluents and on such other inland waterway as may be designated by any enactment to be an international waterway, all Federal ports, (including the constitution and powers of the ports authorities for Federal ports) and carriage by sea;

(The FHC has exclusive jurisdiction over matters relating to shipping and navigation, inland waterways that have been assigned to be an international waterway, Federal Ports including constitution and powers of the ports authorities for Federal ports and carriage by sea; )


Section 251 (1)(h)

diplomatic, consular and trade representation;

(The FHC has exclusive jurisdiction over diplomatic, consular and trade representation i.e. matters involving representatives from Nigeria to other countries; )


Section 251 (1)(i)

citizenship, naturalisation and aliens, deportation of persons who are not citizens of Nigeria, extradition,
immigration into and emigration from Nigeria, passports and visas;

(The FHC has the exclusive jurisdiction to hear matters regarding citizenship, naturalization, aliens, deportation of persons who are not citizens of Nigeria, extradition i.e. Extradition is the removal of a person (typically referred to as a fugitive) from a requested jurisdiction to another jurisdiction for criminal prosecution or punishment.), immigration into and emigration from Nigeria, passports and visas; )


Section 251 (1)(j)

bankruptcy and insolvency;

(The FHC has the exclusive jurisdiction to hear matters regarding bankruptcy (where a debtor has been declared by a judicial process to be unable to pay his debts) and insolvency (where a debtor cannot pay his debts);


Section 251 (1)(k)

aviation and safety of aircraft.

(The FHC has the exclusive jurisdiction to hear matters relating to aviation (flight) and safety of aircraft; )


Section 251 (1)(l)

arms, ammunition and explosives;

(The FHC has the exclusive jurisdiction to hears matters relating to arms i.e. weapons, ammunition and explosives; )


Section 251 (1)(m)

drugs and poisons;

(The FHC has the exclusive jurisdiction to hear matters relating to drugs and poisons; )


Section 251 (1)(n)

mines and minerals (including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas;

(It has the exclusive jurisdiction to hear matters relating to mines and minerals which include oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas; )


Section 251 (1)(o)

weights and measures:

(matters relating to weights and measures; )


Section 251 (1)(p)

the administration or the management and control of the Federal Government or any of its agencies;

(matters relating to the administration or the management and control of the Federal Government or any of its agencies; )


Section 251 (1)(q)

subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the operation and interpretation of this Constitution in so far as it affects the Federal Government or any of its agencies;

(matters which relate to the operation and interpretation of the 1999 Constitution as long as it concerns the Federal Government or any of its agencies but this is subject to whatever is contained in the 1999 Constitution; )


Section 251 (1)(r)

any action or proceeding for a declaration or injunction affecting the validity of any executive or administrative action or decision by the Federal Government or any of its agencies; and

(matters regarding a declaration or injunction (a court order which requires a person to do or stop doing a particular thing) that will affect whether or not an administrative action or decision of the Federal Government or any of its agencies is justifiable; )


Section 251 (1)(s)

such other jurisdiction civil or criminal and whether to the exclusion of any other court or not as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly:

(Anything else that an Act of the National Assembly has given the Federal High Court the exclusive jurisdiction to hear; )


Provided that nothing in the provisions of paragraphs (p), (q) and (r) of this subsection shall prevent a person from seeking redress against the Federal Government or any of its agencies in an action for damages, injunction or specific performance where the action is based on any enactment, law or equity.

(On the condition that nothing in sub sections (p), (q) and (r) prevent a person from seeking relief against the Federal Government or any of its agencies in a case for damages, injunction or specific performance where it is based on an enactment, law or equity.)


Section 251 (2)

The Federal High Court shall have and exercise jurisdiction and powers in respect of treason, treasonable felony and allied offences.

(The FHC has the power to hear matters regarding treason, treasonable felonies and allied offences i.e. offences in the category of treason; )


Section 251 (3)

The Federal High Court shall also have and exercise jurisdiction and powers in respect of criminal causes and matters in respect of which jurisdiction is conferred by subsection (1) of this section.

(The FHC has the power to hear matters regarding criminal cases which power has been given to it to hear based on sub section 1 of section 251.)


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