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International law, governor alamieyeseigha and sovereign immunity

Posted by By Itse Sagay on 2005/10/13 | Views: 410 |

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International law, governor alamieyeseigha and sovereign immunity


I have read the recent contribution of Professor David Ijalaiye on the subject of the entitlement of Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha to sovereign immunity, with great interest.

I have read the recent contribution of Professor David Ijalaiye on the subject of the entitlement of Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha to sovereign immunity, with great interest.

Professor Ijalaiye is a long standing scholar of International Law and his views deserve the utmost respect. Indeed, we both taught the International Law course at the University of Ife in the early seventies and we were both joint examiners in that programme. I am therefore not surprised at all about the well researched paper published at page 73 of the Punch Newspaper of Monday 10th October 2005.

2. Understandable Errors

However, inspite of his impeccable background in International Law, the paper suffers from some fundamental errors, some flowing from an improper appreciation of federalism, others from inadequate analysis of established facts and thirdly from lack of access to existing materials and the latest developments and thinking on the subject matter.

The best and most brilliant of International Lawyers can be forgiven for these understandable lapses because the subject of the sovereign immunity of a federating unit (State) within a federation is obscure, rarely discussed and almost recondite (to borrow a very apt term indicating the nature of our subject matter). Indeed, University undergraduate lectures in International Law rarely ever include this subject.

It was never specially discussed during my postgraduate student programme in International Law and I never specifically taught it myself in my International Law classes at Ife and Benin. State immunity was discussed. No one bothered to delve into the details of what constitutes a state for the purposes of immunity. Now that we are suddenly and frontally confronted with it, it would appear that all available materials and precedents point in the direction of states in a federation and their Heads of State/ Government, being entitled to state and sovereign immunity.

However, I must commence by pointing out the fundamental flaws and errors in Professor Ijalaiye’s presentation.

3. DOMESTIC IMMUNITY

In his discussion of Sovereign Immunity under Nigerian Law, Ijalaiye, relying on section 308 of our Constitution (full immunity of the President, Vice President, Governors, and Deputy- Governors) reaches the following contradictory conclusion.

"In practical terms, President Olusegun Obasanjo is currently the President under the Nigerian Constitution and he enjoys sovereign immunity in that capacity. Also Alamieyeseigha, as the head of the Government of Bayelsa State enjoys some measure of immunity in that capacity.

Section 308 of the constitution makes identical provisions for the immunity of the President and the Governors. There can therefore be no basis for concluding that whilst the President enjoys sovereign immunity "in that capacity", Governor Alamiesiegha who is protected by identical provisions in the same section " as head of the Government of Bayelsa State enjoys some measure of immunity in that capacity". Where in section 308 is the President granted sovereign immunity and Governors granted the down graded "some measure of immunity" What does "some measure of immunity" mean in the context of section 308 of the constitution which I now proceed to reproduce below.

"(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this constitution, but subject to subsection (2) of this section–

(a) no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against a person to whom this section applies during his period of office;

(b) a person to whom this section applies shall not be arrested or imprisoned during that period either on pursuance of the process of any court or otherwise; and

(c) no process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of a person to whom this section applies, shall be applied for or issued:

(3) This section applies to a person holding the office of President or Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor; and the reference in this section to "period of office" is a reference to the period during which the person holding such office is required to perform the functions of the office".

It can thus be seen that there is no distinction whatsoever between the immunity granted the President and that granted a Governor under section 308. Therefore the introduction of the term sovereign immunity for the President and some measure of immunity with respect to Governors, is an extra or indeed unconstitutional importation of foreign provisions into the constitution by Ijalaiye. Infact for both the President and Governors, the correct term for the identical immunity they enjoy under our constitution is absolute immunity.

(ii) Secondly, Professor Ijalaiye further states quite correctly that the President is granted the executive powers of the Federation in section 5(1) of the constitution, whilst section 5(2) of the same constitution vests the executive powers of each state in the Governor of that State.

Again, very sadly Ijalaiye draws different conclusions from similar facts. For according to him, "hence for the purposes of International Law, it is only the president that enjoys "independent sovereign immunity".

How on earth does such a conclusion arise from sections 5(1) and 5(2) of the constitution granting the President and Governors executive powers in their exclusive areas of authority?

The President’s executive powers are limited to the items in the Exclusive Legislative List and the Concurrent List. The Governors’ executive powers encompass not only those in the Concurrent Legislative List but go on to include all residual subjects, i.e., items not listed in the Exclusive and Concurrent Lists. That is why International Law describes the powers of a Federal Government as enumerative (that which has to be specifically listed) whilst a federating states powers are termed plenary. (meaning, complete, absolute). Indeed, when modern federations first emerged in 1789, with the coming together of the 13 United States Colonies, first as a confederation and subsequently as a federation, the international community looked at the new federal entity with suspicion and doubt, and whilst they acknowledged the sovereignty and individual international personality of the federating states, it was with reluctance that the international personality of the new federal state as an independent sovereign entity, was acknowledged. The present unchallenged international personality of a federal state only emerged over a period of time.

4. LOCATION OF SOVEREIGNTY IN A FEDERATION

The mistake Ijalaiye made repeatedly in his otherwise admirable contribution, was the assumption that a federation has a single undivided sovereignty. That is incorrect. A federation’s sovereignty is split between the federal state and the federating states. Let us look at some authoritative definitions of federalism.

According to Professor B.O. Nwabueze:

"Federalism may be described as an arrangement whereby powers within a multi-national country are shared between a federal or central authority, and a number of regionalized governments in such a way that each unit including the central authority exists as a government separately and independently from the others, operating directly on persons and property within its territorial area, with a will of its own and its own apparatus for the conduct of affairs and with an authority in some matters exclusive of all others. In a federation, each government enjoys autonomy, a separate existence and independence of the control of any other government. Each government exists, not as an appendage of another government (e.g., of the federal or central government) but as an autonomous entity in the sense of being able to exercise its own will on the conduct of its affairs free from direction by any government. Thus, the Central government on the one hand and the State governments on the other hand are autonomous in their respective spheres".

As Wheare put it, "the fundamental and distinguishing characteristic of a federal system is that neither the central nor the regional governments are sub-ordinate to each other, but rather, the two are co-ordinate and independent". In short, in a federal system, there is no hierarchy of authorities, with the central government sitting on top of the others. All governments have a horizontal relationship with each other".

Now let us see how federalism is defined in International Law.

In Whiteman’s Digest of International Law, the legal status of a federating unit (State) within a federation is defined as follows;

"A federal State is … a political contrivance intended to reconcile national unity and power with the maintenance of ‘States’ rights’. It is a union of a number or body of independent States whose territories are contiguous and whose citizens have certain affinities, either racial, ethnological or traditional, who have a common historical background or heritage, a community of economic interests, and feel a craving for spiritual and national unity, but at the same are anxious to maintain the identity and independence of their States, which are not strong enough in modern times to face external industrial competition or military menace. It is an organic union. A federal State is a distinct fact. The federating States also remain distinct facts…"

"…A federal State is a perpetual union of several sovereign States which has organs of its own and is invested with power, not only over the member-States, but also over their citizens. The union is based, first on an international treaty of the member-States, and, secondly, on a subsequently accepted constitution of the federal State. A federal State is said to be a real State side by side with its member-States, because its organs have a direct power over the citizens of those member-States. This power was established by American jurists of the eighteenth century as a characteristic distinction between a federal State and confederated States, and Kent as well as Story, the two later authorities on the Constitutional Law of the United States, adopted this distinction, which is indeed kept up until to-day by the majority of writers on politics. Now if a federal State is recognized as itself a State, side by side with its member-States, it is evident that sovereignty must be divided between the federal State on the one hand, and on the other, the member-States. This division is made in this way, that the competence over one part of the objects for which a State is in existence is handed over to the Federal State, whereas the competence over one part remains with the member-States. Within its competence the federal State can make laws which bind the citizens of the member-States directly without any interference by these member-States. On the other hand, the member-States are totally independent as far as their competence reaches."

(See Vol. 1, para 23 at p.308).

In the light of the split sovereignty of federations, the federating states have a certain degree of international personality and the head of State/Government of a federating State is entitled to sovereign immunity.

The original independence and sovereignty of the states, nations and autonomous communities constituting the present state of Nigeria was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Attorney-General of the Federation v The Attorney-General of Abia State and 36 others in the following passage from the leading Judgment of Ogundare, JSC:

"Until the advent of the British colonial rule in what is now known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Nigeria, for short), there existed at various times various sovereign states known as emirates, kingdoms and empires made up of ethnic groups in Nigeria. Each was independent of the other with its mode of Government indigenous to it. At one time or another, these sovereign states where either making wars with each other or making alliances, on equal terms. This position existed throughout the land now known as Nigeria. In the Niger-Delta area, for instance, there were the Okrikas, the Ijaws, The Kalabaris, the Efiks, the Ibibios, the Urhobos, the Itsekiris, etc. Indeed certain of these communities, (e.g Calabar) asserted exclusive right over the narrow waters in their area. And because of the terrain of their area, they made use of the rivers and the sea for their economic advancement in fishing and trade – and in making wars too! The rivers and the sea were their only means of transportation. Trade then was not only among themselves but with foreign nations particularly the European nations who sailed to their shores for palm oil, kernel and slaves".

([2002] Vol. 16, WRN, 1 at p.68)

5. THE STATUS OF FEDERATING STATES WITHIN A FEDERATION AND IN INTERNATIONAL LAW

The leading English Practitioner’s book in International Law, Oppenheim’s International Law edited by Sir Robert Jennings QC, (former President of the International Court of Justice) and Sir Arthur Watts KCMG, QC (former Legal Adviser to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office), states as follows;

"Since a federal state is itself a state, side by side with its member states, sovereignty is divided between the federal state on the one hand, and, on the other, the member states; competence over one part of the objects for which a state exists is vested in the federal state. Whereas competence over the other part remains with the member states. Within its competence the federal state can make laws which bind the citizen of the member states directly without any interference by these member states. On the other hand, the member states are totally independent as far as their competence reaches.

For International law this division of competence is of interest insofar as it concerns competence in international matters. Since it is always the federal state (and not the member states) which is competent to declare war, make peace, conclude political treaties, and send and receive diplomatic envoys, the federal state is itself an international person, with all the rights and duties of a sovereign state in international law. On the other hand, the international position of the member states is not so clear. There is no justification for the view that they are necessarily deprived of any status whatsoever within the international community; while they are not full subjects of international law, they may be international persons for some purposes. Everything depends on the particular characteristics of the federation in question. Thus two member states of the Soviet Union – a federal state since 1918 – are separate members of the United Nations and are parties to many treaties".

(See Oppenheim, Vol.1. Part 1. Peace, 9th edition, 1992, para 75, p.249.

The eminent Editor’s of Oppenheim go on to demonstrate that federating units (states) within a federation are subjects of international law and that they and their heads of government are covered by state immunity.

"The Constitution of federations may allow member states to conclude treaties. Thus Article 32 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany provides that insofar as the member states are competent to legislate they may, with the approval of the federal Government, conclude treaties with foreign states. Similarly, the member states of Switzerland retain the right to conclude treaties with foreign states as regards matters of minor interest. In the judicial settlement of disputes which have arisen between member states of a federation, the municipal courts in question have often had recourse to rules of international law. Furthermore, member states have in a number of cases been granted immunity from jurisdiction by the courts of other countries, at least so far as concerns matters in which the member states retain their sovereign powers. Member states lacking international status may also sometimes have their own representatives abroad although they will not be diplomatic agents in the usual sense of that term".

I shall of course later supply more modern and detailed examples of the current theory and practice of sovereign immunity for federating states.

The two cases cited by Professor Ijalaiye on sovereign immunity are in support of the entitlement of federating states in a federation and their heads, to sovereign immunity. In Mighell v. Sultan of Jahore a 19th Century case, the Sultan who successfully claimed immunity from suit in response to an action against him for breach of promise of marriage, was the head of a tiny sultanate inside India, which was itself not yet an independent country. Yet he was held immune from British legal process and the English woman was denied a remedy. Two points need to be noted in this case.

(i) Jahore was not a sovereign state. It was a territory inside colonial India.

(ii) The Sultan was in Britain on a private visit and made the promise to marry the English lady under a false name. Nevertheless, the Sultan was granted immunity from suit. (See [1895] 1Q.B. 149)

When a sovereign is within a foreign jurisdiction, it is irrelevant that he is there in a private capacity, because his immunity is absolute since it is ratione personae, i.e., it covers his person completely.

In Mellenger v. New Brunswick Development Corporation also cited by Ijalaiye, a federating unit in Canada was granted sovereign immunity by the English Court of Appeal. We shall come to this case later.

6. INDEPENDENCE AND AUTONOMY OF FEDERATING STATES

Of all the errors contained in the Professor’s article, perhaps the most grave and disturbing is the suggestion or assertion that the Governor of a Nigerian State visiting another country could be regarded as representing the President and could therefore enjoy immunity in a representative capacity "during the period of representation consequently in that case, the immunity enjoyed by such a governor should not be higher but only similar to the immunity enjoyed by a diplomatic envoy".

In the first place the very idea that a Governor of an autonomous and independent state sharing sovereignty within a federation with the federal government could be a representative of the President, constitutes a major assault on federalism.

The Governor of a State is directly and independently elected by his People into office. He has a separate government, territory, population, judiciary, civil service and legislature from the Federal Government. He is sovereign in his own sphere just as the President is sovereign in his own sphere. Their Governments are parallel Governments independent of each other. Under no circumstance can a State Governor represent the President inside and outside Nigeria. They are both Heads of independent Governments, as was stated in the definitions of Federalism.

The Diplomat is a Federal Civil servant who is under to the Federal Government. The Laws governing his immunity are different and internationally it is the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic immunity. States and their Heads or sovereigns are not covered by this Convention. Rather, they are covered by Customary International Law. The United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Properties, concluded on 2nd December 2004, which shall enter into force on the 30th day following the ratification, acceptance or approval by states does not modify the absolute immunity enjoyed by Heads of State including the Head of a Federating State. Rather customary international law on state and sovereign immunity is specifically preserved by the Convention. More of this later.

It is standing federalism and Constitutional law on its head to suggest or imply that the Head of the Federal Government can waive the immunity of an independent and autonomous co-government in a federation. It is a faux pas of enormous proportions and a consequence of prolonged military rule, culture and mentality. Only State Governor’s can waive their own immunity and that of their sub-ordinates in the State’s service.

7. THE PINOCHET CASE



Again, the learned Professor missed the ratio of the Pinochet case. All that case decided was that a Head of State who commits or authorizes the commission of a crime against humanity, or a war crime, or genocide, etc, can be tried for his crimes after he has left office. His immunity is therefore effective whilst he remains in office and he cannot be arrested, prosecuted or imprisoned whilst in office. Two more points about this case may be noted.

1. His loss of immunity after leaving office is limited exclusively to crimes against humanity, war crimes genocide and such major international crimes regarded as belonging to the class of rules called jus cogens, i.e. preemptory rules of International Law. For this class of crimes, his immunity ratione personae is down graded to immunity ratione materiae after he leaves office. This means instead of absolute personal immunity, only his official acts are covered.

2. If the offence does not belong to this category, then a head of state or government cannot even be prosecuted after he has left office. His immunity continues to be ratione personae.

This comes out clearly in the following two passages from the Pinochet case, officially known as Stipendiary Magistrate and others, exparte Pinochet Ugarte (No.3) [1999] 2 All E.R. 97 at p.111-2. Lord Browne – Wilkinson put the matter succinctly as follows:

"It is a basic principle of international law that one sovereign state (the forum state) does not adjudicate in the conduct of a foreign state. The foreign state is entitled to procedural immunity from the processes of the forum state. This immunity extends to both criminal and civil liability. State immunity probably grew from the historical immunity of the person of the monarch. In any event, such personal immunity of the head of state persists to the present day: the head of state is entitled to the same immunity as the state itself. The diplomatic representative of the foreign state in the forum state is also afforded the same immunity in recognition of the dignity of the state which he represents. This immunity enjoyed by a head of state in power and an ambassador in post is a complete immunity attaching to the person of the head of state or ambassador and rendering him immune from all actions or prosecutions whether or not they relate to matters done for the benefit of the state. Such immunity is said to be granted ratione personae".

In this case, Lord Goff also declared as follows:

"There can be no doubt that the immunity of a head of state, whether ratione personae or ratione materiae, applies to both civil and criminal proceedings. This is because the immunity applies to any form of legal process. The principle of state immunity is expressed in the Latin maxim par in parem non habet imperium, the effect of which is that one sovereign state does not adjudicate on the conduct of another. This principle applies as between states, and the head of a state is entitled to the same immunity as the state itself, as are the diplomatic representatives of the state. That the principle applies in criminal proceedings is reflected in the 1978 Act, in that there is no equivalent provision in Pt III of the 1978 Act to s 16(4) which provides that Pt 1 does not apply to criminal proceedings."

Therefore when the issue is that of the personal immunity of a Head of State or Government, the only restriction whatsoever other than the limited case of crimes against humanity, torture, genocide etc for which his immunity is lifted only after he has left office. Subject to that the sovereign’s immunity remains absolute.

7. CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

Ijalaiye’s suggestion that money laundering, could be classified as a crime against humanity is a feeble and futile one in the face of the rules of International Law. This is not a matter involving conjecture,, suggestions, proposals, hypothesis etc. The position is clear and settled. Crimes against humanity are listed in Article 7 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court and money laundering is not one of them. They are (a) Murder, (b) Extermination, (c) Enslavement, (d) Deportation or forcible transfer of populations, (e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of International Law, (f) Torture, (g) Rape, s-xual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of s-xual violence of comparable gravity, (h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religions, gender or other grounds recognized as impermissible in International Law….

(i) Enforced disappearance of persons

(ii) The crime of apartheid

(iii) Other inhuman crimes of a similar character.



Thus crimes against humanity are limited to breaches of civil rights, as in chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution, and not economic, social and cultural rights as in chapter 2. At the International Law level, they are limited to violations of the rights contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) and not of the rights contained in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966). Therefore money laundering cannot by the wildest stretch of the imagination be described as a crime against humanity. You cannot re-classify an offence expost facto, the actus reus.

The issue of restrictive immunity, by which states are no longer entitled to immunity in respect of trading and commercial activities (acts jure gestionis) is totally irrelevant to this case. States are generally only entitled to immunity for political and public acts (jure imperri) and not for commercial transactions (jure gestionis).

These restrictions on state activities do not affect the absolute immunity still being enjoyed by the persons of sovereigns (heads of state/government), diplomatics and their families. Therefore, the Trendex Case in which the Central Bank of Nigeria was denied immunity in its cement buying transaction (commercial activity) is totally irrelevant to the present case which raises the question whether the Head of State and Government of a state within a federation is entitled to immunity ratione personae (absolute immunity of the person) when he is in a Foreign Country.

8. FEDERATING STATES AND SOVEREIGNS IMMUNITY

Now, the question still remains, what is the Legal status of a federating state in International Law, and to what extent are they and their Heads of State/Government entitled to immunity. I have already provided some information on this issue above, but there is need to further buttress it.

The international status of federating unit within a federation and the entitlement to immunity of the heads of these federating units is even better expressed in the eight edition of Oppenheim"s International Law, edited by H. Lauterpacht, late Whewell Professor of International Law in the University of Cambridge and former President of International Court of Justice, in the following passage (See para 65 and p. 119)

"A State in it normal appearance does possess independence all round, and therefore full sovereignty. Yet there are States in existence which certainly do not possess full sovereignty, and are therefore named not-full sovereign States. All States which are under the suzerainty or under the protectorate of another State, or are member-States of a so-called federal State, belong to this group. All of them possess supreme authority and independence with regard to a part of the functions of a State, whereas with regard to another part they are under the authority of another State. This fact explains the doubt as to whether such not full sovereign states can be international persons and subjects of the Law of Nations at all.

That they cannot be full, perfect, and normal subjects of International Law there is no doubt. But it is inaccurate to maintain that they can have no international position whatever. They often enjoy in many respects the rights, and fulfill in other points the duties, of International Persons. They frequently send and receive diplomatic envoys, or at least consuls. They often conclude commercial or other treaties. Their monarchs enjoy the privileges which, according to the Law of Nations, the Municipal Laws of the different States must grant to the monarchs of foreign State. No other explanation of these and similar facts can be given except that these not-full sovereign States are in some way or another International Persons and subjects of International Law".



The most recent authority on this issue is the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property, concluded on December 2, 2004. Article 2 (b) defining States, classifies as States: at 2(b) (ii) "Constituent units of a federal state or political subdivisions of the state, which are entitled to perform acts in the exercise of sovereign authority and are acting in that capacity". Law making, (Legislature) State judiciary, a civil service, directly elected Governors with sole executive powers, exclusive powers in the plenary areas of governance in their territories (health, agriculture, education, housing, environment, regional planning etc) are all indices of sovereignty.

The Convention, is basically intended to codify the customary rules of International Law as they relate to acts jure imperri and jure gestionis, and in article 3, it specifically exempts diplomatic missions, Heads of State and other entities enjoying special protection under special conventions, treaties or customary International Law, from the restrictive provisions of the Convention. Thus articled 3(2) states that "The present Convention is without prejudice to privileges and immunities accorded under international law to heads of state ratione personae". In its 1991 draft, (U.N Document A/46/10) the International Law Commission (which drafted the Convention commented that this explicit exclusion was intended to preserve existing rules of customary International Law. These rules provide that heads of state are absolutely immune and that even former heads of state are entitled to immunity for their official acts.

Again in Halsbury’s Laws of England 4th Edition, para 1549, "sovereign state" is defined as follows:

"For the purposes of the rules of sovereign immunity, the term "sovereign state" applies not only to the foreign state itself, but also to the head of state personally, and to the government or any department of government including in the case of composite states, the government of a province [federating unit] of the state. It includes independent countries of the commonwealth and their sub-divisions and states under British protection".

In Mellenger and Another v New Brunswick Development Corporation ([1971] 2 All E.R. 593), cited by Ijalaiye, the Plaintiffs, Canadian citizens, brought a claim against the defendant corporation, which was owned and controlled by the State of New Brunswick, a federating unit in the state of Canada. Upholding a claim of state immunity put forward by the defendant corporation, the English Court of Appeal held that it was entitled to plead immunity and set the writ aside on the following grounds:

"(i) although a province (State) of Canada under the federal constitution of Canada, the province of New Brunswick retained within its own sphere its independence and autonomy and was thus a sovereign state in its own right entitled to claim sovereign immunity.

(ii) the defendant corporation could avail itself of that sovereign immunity since, by the express provisions of the 1959 Act setting it up, it was in the same position as a government department; and even apart from the Act, the corporation’s functions as carried out in practice, showed that it was carrying out the policy of the government of New Brunswick and was its alter ego.

In coming to the above conclusion, Lord Denning M.R. stated thus:

"It was suggested by counsel for the plaintiffs that Province of New Brunswick does not qualify as a sovereign state so as to invoke the doctrine of sovereign immunity. But the authorities show decisively the contrary. The British North America Act 1867 gave Canada a federal constitution. Under it the powers of government were divided between the dominion government and the provincial governments. Some of those powers were vested in the dominion government. The rest remained with the provincial governments. Each provincial government, within its own sphere, retained its independence and autonomy, directly under the Crown. The Crown is sovereign in New Brunswick for provincial powers, just as it is sovereign in Canada for dominion powers: See Maritime Bank of Canada (Liquidators) v Receiver-General of New Brunswick. It follows that the Province of New Brunswick is a sovereign state in its own right, and entitled, if it so wishes, to claim sovereign immunity".



In a concurring judgment, Salmon L.J. had this to say:

"Before us the point has been taken at the last moment on behalf of the corporation that a writ cannot be issued out of the jurisdiction calling upon them to appear before the courts of this country because it is entitled to sovereign immunity. I have come to the conclusion, in spite of counsel for the plaintiffs’ attractive argument, that this point which was not taken before the judge is unanswerable. There can be no doubt, I think, that the government of New Brunswick is sovereign within its own sphere of influence. That appears from Maritime Bank of Canada (Liquidators) v Receiver-General of New Brunswick and also from Hodge v R.



Now the Canadian Federation and the Nigerian Federation are similar types of federation and the English Courts cannot apply one principle to New Brunswick Canada and the opposite to Bayelsa State of Nigeria. Furthermore there are numerous other cases, English and otherwise confirming the right of a state within a federation and its Head of State/Government to immunity, which need not be paraded in a newspaper article. But the conclusion to which a careful and comprehensive enquiry into this matter leads inevitably to, is that Governor Depreye Alamieyeseigha, is entitled to absolute immunity ratione personae in England, and should be released immediately with apologies, to return to his State and People.

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