Date06 February 2019

(1) "I am satisfied that the word ‘include’ is generally used in order to enlarge the meaning of words or phrases occurring in the body of a statute; and when it is so used these words or phrases must be construed as comprehending, not only such things as they signify according to their natural import but also those things which the including clause declares that they shall include. But ‘include’ is susceptible of another construction which may become imperative if the context of the statute is sufficient to show that it was not employed for the purpose of adding to the natural significance of the words or phrases but for the purpose of setting out an exhaustive explanation of the meaning which, for the purposes of the statute, must invariably be attached to those words and phrases or for the purpose of repeating the preceding words or phrases for the sake of clarity and avoidance of doubt. It appears to me that upon a cursory reading of sub sections (2) and (3) and having regard to the meaning of the word ‘include’, it is reasonable to hold that sub section (3) is susceptible of the interpretation put to it by the majority of the Court of Appeal, i.e. it enlarges the scope of sub section (2). It is also reasonable to ascribe to sub section (3) the meaning advocated by Chief Williams that it merely repeats sub section (2). It follows that sub section (3) seems to have more than one meaning and in the circumstance the Court has discretion to choose between these meanings. In Chief Obafemi Awolowo v. Alhaji Shehu Shagari (1979) 6 9 S.C. 51 at 65 66, Fatayi Williams, C.J.N. then stated the relevant rule of construction thus: - If the words used are capable of more than one meaning, then the person interpreting the statute can choose between these meanings, but beyond that he must not go. Now, the question is: Which meaning is to be preferred? The formulae for the choice have been stated in many cases. The rules may be summarised that a construction which would promote in order to bring about an effective result and achieve the manifest purpose of the legislation should be preferred to that which would reduce the legislation to futility or absurdity: Sussex Peerage Claim (1844) C l and Fin 85 at 143, R. v. City of London Judge (1892) 1 Q.B. 273 at 290 and Nokes v. Doncaster Amalgamated Collieries (1940) A.C. 1014 at 1022 Guided by the rules of construction enunciated above, I choose that meaning of sub section (3) which would achieve the manifest purpose for which the Federal High Court was established at pp. 335 336." - Per Bello J.S.C. in Mandara v. A-G. Fed. Suit No. S.C. 152/1983; (1984) 15 N.S.C.C. 221 at 233 - 234.

(2) "In my opinion, this appears to be the natural meaning of the wordinclude in the context in which word include appears in Section 7(3) having regard to the contents of section 7(1) and (2). It means that the jurisdiction conferred by inference comprised the said offences under the...

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