RABIU V STATE (1980) 1 LRLR Vol 1 Page 128





                                                                  RABIU V STATE
   Citation
         (1980) 1 LRLR Vol 1 Page 128 (Reprint)
                                                                                 Alternative Citation
                                                                (1980) 8-11 S.C. 130

The Appellant was discharged and acquitted at the end of his trial, in the State High court, on a criminal charge of culpable homicide (punishable with death) of his wife, Hajiya Fati Mohammadu Nafiu, on the 10th day of May, 1979.

On appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the judgment of the High Court of Kano State and convicted the Appellant of an offence of culpable homicide (not punishable with death).

The Appellant (respondent in the Court of Appeal) dissatisfied with the decision appealed to the Supreme Court on the substantial question of law, that under the provisions of Sections 220 and 222 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979, the Federal Court of Appeal had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal against the order of acquittal entered in his favor by the High Court, having regard to the meaning of the term "decision" as defined in Section 277 of the Constitution. He contended that the Federal Court of Appeal was wrong in law, to have entertained the appeal at all whereas it should have dismissed it.

The Supreme Court in dismissing the appeal stated that; in interpreting the Constitution, mere technical rules of interpretation are to some extent inadmissible in a way so as to defeat the principles of government enshrined in the Constitution.
Where the question is whether the Constitution has used an expression in the wider or in the narrower sense, the Court should always lean where the justice of the case so demands to the broader interpretation unless there is something in the context or in the rest of the Constitution to indicate that the narrower interpretation will best carry out its object and purpose.

The Court rejected the Appellant’s contention that an order of acquittal made by the High Court in criminal proceedings does not come within the term 'decision' in Section 277 (1) of the Constitution.
The judgment and sentence of the Court of Appeal was therefore affirmed.

This principle has been applied in cases such as DIAPIALONG V DARIYE 2007, FAWEHINMI V IGP (2002) 7 NWLR (PART 676) 606. GONI V.GAMBO (2002) FWLR (PT. 131) 1877 @1884-5, DIRECTOR OF SSS V. AGBAKOBA (1999)3 SC @77, SAVANNAH BANK (NIG.) LTD. V AJILO (1989) 1 NWLR (PT.97)






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