What is Mandamus and Example in Nigeria Legal System

What is Mandamus and example

What is Mandamus and Example in Nigeria Legal System | The legal system of Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic, in which the judiciary is largely based on the common law legal system. The judicial branch of government is headed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The court consists of several courts with different jurisdictions. In Nigeria, different courts have different jurisdictions and different levels of hierarchy.

In this article, we shall discuss the meaning of the order of mandamus in Nigeria. We shall also go further to let you know what an applicant must show before the court will make an order of mandamus. Thereafter we shall proceed to give examples of the Order of Mandamus and when it has been used in Nigeria. Let us get started.

Meaning of an Order of Mandamus

Mandamus is a Latin term meaning ‘we command’ or ‘we order’. It is a court order issued by a higher authority to a lower authority compelling it to perform its mandatory or discretionary duty. Mandamus is also known as prerogative writ, which is defined as a writ issued by a superior court to an inferior court or to an inferior court ordering the latter to perform some act in which it has the discretion.

An order of mandamus, simply put, is an order issued by a Court of law, usually the High Court to compel the performance of a public duty in which the person applying for the same (mandamus) has sufficient legal interest. See the recent case of FANYAM v. GOV. OF BENUE STATE & ORS (2022) LPELR-57035(SC).

In the case of CBN v. SYSTEM APPLICATION PRODUCTS (NIG) LTD (2004) LPELR-5432(CA), the court held an Order of Mandamus cannot be issued where there is an exercise of discretion or where there is an alternative specific remedy. It is only possible there is a duty and the person has failed to carry out the duty.

Mandamus is issued from the High Court and directed to any person, corporation, or inferior Court, requiring them to do some particular thing that pertains to their office and duty.

What an applicant must show before the court will make an order of mandamus in Nigeria

To succeed in an action for mandamus, it is mandatory for an applicant to show  the following:

  1. That he has a legal interest or right which he seeks to protect.
  2. The applicant must also show the existence of a public duty on the part of the person or body against whom he applies for an order of mandamus.
  3. Applicant must show that a distinct demand for the performance of duty has been made and that the demand has deliberately not been complied with.See the case of AKPUCHUKWU VS. NYSC & ANOR (2018) LPELR-44619(CA) per Pemu, JCA.
  4.  Lastly, the Applicant must show that there is no other sufficient available remedy to ensure the performance of the public.

See generally, the cases of Ohakim v Agbaso (2011) 47 NSCQR 324 at 367, Shitta-Bey vs Federal Public Service Commission (supra), Fawehinmi v IGP & Ors (2002) LPELR-1258 (SC), Ayida & Ors v Town Planning Authority & Anor (2013) LPELR-20410 (SC).”

See Also: VALIDITY OF CONTRACT – Essential Elements of a Valid Contract

At what point will a Court not make an Order of Mandamus in Nigeria

There are also circumstances where an Order of Mandamus cannot be granted. These circumstances are as follows:

  1. Where there is discretion to act. See: Miss Akintemi & Ors. v. Prof Onwumechili & Ors. (1985) 1 NWLR (Pt.1) 68, (1985) 1 SC 132 at page 173.
  2. Where the order asks for something which is impossible for performance.
  3. Where the doing of the act ordered would involve a contravention of the law. See the Republic v. Registrar of Trade Marks (1967) NMLR 324.
  4. Where there is an alternative specific remedy at law that is not less convenient beneficial and effective. See R v. Registrar of Joint Stock Companies (1888) 21 QBD 131; See Prof Onwumechill’s case (supra).
  5. Where there has been undue delay by the applicant before bringing his application. See Broughton v. Commissioner of Stamp Duties (1889) AC 25 Volume II,

See generally, the case of CBN v. SYSTEM APPLICATION PRODUCTS (NIG) LTD (2004) LPELR-5432(CA) Per IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD, JCA (Pp 23 – 24 Paras D – E)

Example Mandamus in Nigeria Legal System

As we stated earlier, an order of mandamus is issued for the performance of a Public Duty. The performers must have been required and refused by the officer in charge of the performance. Being aggrieved, the law entitles you to bring an action for an order of mandamus to compel the performance.

Now, what is Mandamus and its’ example in the scenarios below.

Mr. A is a law student from the University of Abuja. He was given an assignment an administrative law to be submitted to Mr. B, the course representative. The assignment is to be submitted at the hour of 9 a.m.

On the first day of July 2022. On the 1st day of July 2022 at the hours of 9 a.m., Mr. A, was in class to submit his assignment. However, Mr. B, the course representative refused to accept his assignment because he did not support him during the last course election.

Despite several demands by Mr. A to Mr. B throughout the whole day to accept his assignment, Mr. B refused.

The example above is a good example. This is because Mr. B as the Course Rep is occupying a public office for the class. Mr. A on the other hand has demanded the performance of the public Duty which he has refused to perform.

Thus, Mr. A can bring an application for an order of mandamus compelling Mr. B to perform his public duty of accepting his assignment and submitting it accordingly.

See Also: Principles guiding grant of an Order of mandamus in Nigeria

Conclusion of their article on What is Mandamus and example in Nigeria

Another good example of an order of mandamus in Nigeria is if for instance you’ve reported the matter to the police and they are refusing to investigate the matter because of bribery and corruption or what have you. You can bring an action for Mandamus compelling the police to perform their public duty by investigating and charging the suspects to court if found culpable.

Finally, I sincerely believe that this article has been of help to you. So if this article has been helpful please kindly share it with your friends. However, if there is any question or contribution you wish to make to this article, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

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