REPRESENTATION: O. M. ETIOWO (MRS) for the Claimant PATCIENCE AGALA (MISS) for the Defendant R U L I N G Claimant instituted this action via a Complaint with the accompanying frontloaded documents filed on 22nd April, 2014 against the defendant for the following reliefs: A DECLARATION that the claimantâ€™s appointment was wrongly terminated. Having not complied with Sections 22 and 23 of the Cross River State University of Technology Law, Cap. C19 Laws of Cross River State, 2004; and Sections 4.10.1 and 4.10.2 of the Cross River University of Technology, Calabar: Staff Handbook and Condition of Service for Senior Staff. A DECLARATION that all the allegation levelled against the claimant are false as there were no material evidence laid down before the Investigation Panel to substantiate same. A DECLARATION that the proceedings of the Investigation Panel were unlawful and unconstitutional as the claimant was denied an ample time and facility to defend himself. AN ORDER directing the defendant to reinstate the claimant and pay him all his monthly salaries/emoluments calculated at #200,000.00 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) only, (less relevant deductions) per month from 1st July, 2013 being the time of the purported termination of his appointment until his is finally reinstated. AN ORDER mandating the defendant to restore the claimantâ€™s monthly salaries and promote him to whatever level he would have attained but for the wrongful termination of his appointment. The sum of Four Hundred Thousand Naira (#400,000.00) only, being the cost of prosecuting this suit. Two Million Naira (#2,000,000.00) only, as general damages for the hardship, ignominy and psychological trauma the defendant subjected the claimant. Defendant filed a NOTICE OF PRELIMINARY OBEJCTION on 16th June, 2016 and dated same day, objecting to the following: The competence of this suit on the issue of lack of jurisdiction of this Court to adjudicate on the claims as presently constituted. That the suit is statute barred and brought outside the six months statutory period in the Public Officers Protection law of Cross River State as amended. That the suit as filed constitutes an abuse of court processes. GROUNDS FOR THE OBJECTION Suit is filed on 22/4/2016 whilst cause of action arose on 29/6/2013 hence outside the 6 months allowed by law. This Honorable Court lacks the jurisdiction to hear and determine this suit. WRITTEN ADDRESS IN SUPPORT OF PRELIMINARY OBEJCTION ISSUE Whether the action is statute barred having regard to Sec. 1a of the Cross River State Public Officer Protection Law as amended. Learned Counsel submitted that claimantâ€™s claim as expressed in his Writ of Summons and Statement of Facts that determines the jurisdiction of the court to adjudicate on the claim before it. ADEYEMI v. OPEYORI (1976) G â€“ 10 SC 31; BRONIK MOTORS LTD. V. WEMA BANK (NIG.) LTD. (1283) 6 SC 158; CRUTECH v. OBETEN (2012) ALL FWLR (PT. 641) 1567 @ 1574 H17. He submitted that the issue of jurisdiction has been clearly established on the writ of summons and statement of facts as in this case and it is no longer necessary to consider the statement of defence. NDMZU LTD. V. NAMSON FISHING ENT. (2000) FWLR (PT. 7) 1065. The claimant filed their reply RESEARCHED AUTHORITIES KANU v. ENUGU BROADCASTING SERVICE & ORS. (2014) 46 NLLR (PT. 148) 243 On Determination of whether a matter is statute barred or not n deciding whether a case is statute barred or not, the court only has to look at the writ of summons and the statement of claim alleging when the wrong was committed which give rise to the cause of action and comparing that date with the date the writ of summons was filed. If the time on the writ of summons is beyond the period allowed by the Limitation Law, the action is statute barred. ELABANJO v. DAWODU (2006) 6 â€“ 7 SC 24 referred to.] On Whether Public Officersâ€™ Protection Act applies to both natural and artificial persons The Public Officersâ€™ Protection Act applies to both natural and artificial persons. IBRAHIM v. JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION (1998) 14 NWLR (PT. 584) 1; ABUBAKAR v. GOVERNOR OF GOMBE STATE (2002) 17 NWLR (PT. 797) 533; NWAOGWUGWU v. PRESIDENT , FRN (2007) 1 ALL FWLR (PT. 389) 1327 referred to.] EBETALEYE v. MAINSTREET BANK LTD. & ORS. (2014) 44 NLLR (PT. 141) 596 NIC On When a cause of action is statute barred â€“ A cause of action is said to be statute barred if in respect of its proceedings it cannot be brought because the period laid down by the Limitation Law has elapsed. EGBE v. ADEFARASIN (1987) 1 NWLR (PT. 47) 1 @ 20. On How period of limitation is determined â€“ In determining the period of limitation, one has to look at the time the cause of action arose nd compare it with the date the complaint was filed. OKENWA v. MILITARY GOVERNOR IMO STATE (1997) 6 NWLR (PT. 507) 154. AGBOROH v. WAEC (2014) 43 NLLR (PT. 134) 31 NIC @ 34 On Determination of whether a suit is statute barred â€“ The determination of whether a suit is statute barred or not involves the determination of the date on which the cause of action arose and comparing same with the date on which the suit was filed. If the date on which the suit was filed shows that the claimant came outside the period within which he should have come to court, the suit will said to be statute barred. This comparison can be done without taking oral evidence from witnesses. On Persons not covered by the Public Officers Protection Act â€“ The persons whom the provisions of the Public Officers Protection Act would not cover are persons who are independent contractors for the provision of services for a public services body or authority by virtue of contract. BUREAU OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES v. REINSURANCE ACQUISITION GROUP LTD. & ORS. (2008) LPELR-8560 (CA) referred to.] Courtâ€™s Decision Having carefully summarized the position of both sides, the arguments of opposing counsel and having carefully reviewed all the authorities cited, read through all the relevant processes and digested the contention of the parties and their written submission are herewith incorporated in this ruling and specific mention would be made to them where the need arises. The issue for determination in this suit to my mind is whether there is any merit to the defendants application. The defendants have raised a preliminary objection on the basis that the claimant had filed this suit on the 22nd April 2016 whereas the cause of action arose on the 29th June 2013. The claimant in response argued that following the courts order of non suit they, the claimants were entitled to another bite of the cherry. The claimant posed the question Can the claimant/Respondent re- file his suit following the order of Non suit and went on to answer in the affirmative, and proceeded to submit that the court has the requisite jurisdiction to hear this matter. The defendants filed a reply on point of law, the crux of their argument was that although non suit may give a claimant a second bite in the instant case the POPA had caught up with the claimant they surmised. Parties adopted their written addresses on the 18th October 2016 and further adopted their additional processes on the 3rd March, 2017 . The issue and import of non suit has been well stated in the listed cases and would be appropriate to consider the position of the law in this respect. Non-suit implies giving the Plaintiff another opportunity of proceeding in the same suit against a Defendant, who in any event is not entitled to judgment. ODUOLA V NABHAN (1981) 5 S.C 197 â€œThe implication of non-suit is that, although on that particular occasion the party has failed to prove his case, he will not be denied an opportunity to have another bite of the 'Cherry or another chance to go the second time in proving his claim. An order non-suiting a party cannot be made where on the facts, the party has not proved his claim. In the instant case it has become clear that the Respondent did not have any counter - claim to prove." Per OMOLEYE, J. C. A. DIVINE IDEAS LIMITED V. UMORU (2007) LPELR-9009(CA) (Pp. 55-56, Paras. G-B) "The order of non suit is granted based upon the provision of High Court Civil Procedure Rules being Order 30 rule 3 Oyo State High Court Civil Procedure Rules. The principle to grant or refuse a non suit is based on sound legal principle to be exercised cautiously as laid down in the celebrated case of MARIAN ASHABI CRAIG V. VICTOR EMMANUEL CRAIG & CAROLINE TITILOLA CRAIG (1967) NMLR PAGE 52 SC, that a non suit means giving the plaintiff a second chance to prove his case. The court has to consider whether in the case, that would be doing wrong to the defendant and on the other hand, whether the dismissal of the suit would be doing wrong to the plaintiffs. JAIYEOLA V. ABIOYE (2002) LPELR-7169(CA) "An order of non-suit decides nothing in respect of the matter in dispute between parties. It merely terminates the suit leaving the claimant at liberty to start de novo either in the same or a subsequent suit. OKPALA V IBEME (1989) 2 NWLR (PT. 102) 208." Anode v. Mmeka (2008) 10 NWLR (Pt.1094) 1 at 20, paras, D-E (CA) Per Saulawa JCA "The implication of non-suit is that, although on that particular occasion the party has failed to prove his case, he will not be denied an opportunity to have another bite of the cherry or another change to go the second time in proving his claim. An order non-suiting a party cannot be made where on the facts, the party has not proved his claim." DIVINE IDEAS LTD. V. UMORU (2007) ALL FWLR (PT. 380) 1468 AT 1507 - 1508 PARAS. H - A (CA) Per Omoleye JCA. See also the case of â€UGBODUME V ABIEGBE (1991) LPELR - 3316 (SC) where the apex Court held as follows: "A non - suit is not a favour to either side. It is not meant to rob a party of a technical success but it is based on the foundation of justice itself that the door of temple of justice should not be shut against a party who has not totally failed to prove his case. Sometimes the fault is that of the trial judge who has misdirected himself in law. The overall essence is to see that justice is done and that opportunity be given for another trial." It is trite that the order of non suit is no longer a technical issue but one that is meant to achieve substantial justice between contending parties when upon a calm and full view of the scale of justice, the Court can say that no side deserves judgment because of a defect in the claimants' case. But for the defect in the claimants' case, there was some evidence which is insufficient for a declarationâ€. A claimant must fully satisfy the Court by credible evidence." Per NIMPAR, J.C.A. FAMUREWA v. ANJORIN & ORS (2016) LPELR-41411(CA) (Pp. 20-21, Paras. D-E) And from OKADIGBO & ANOR V. OKADIGBO (2012) LPELR-20436(CA) â€œLaw reports are replete with decisions in which the nature or effect of "non-suit" and circumstances when it can be granted have been stated. See in this regard ODI v. IYALA (2004) SCNJ 35 where the Supreme Court dwelling on "non-suit" per Tobi, JSC; stated at pages 54 - 55 thus: "...A non-suit is a termination of an action which did not adjudicate all relevant issues on the merit, as where the plaintiff is unable to prove his whole case and it will be unjust to dismiss the case in its entirety or where there was failure of the trial Judge to make proper and specific findings and an appellate court can neither do the same on the printed evidence, a re-hearing or non-suit, depending on the circumstances of the particular case may be ordered. See Awote v. Owodunni (No. 2) (1987) 2 NWLR (pt. 57) 325; Chief Olufosoye Basorun v. Olorunfemi (1989) 1 NWLR (pt. 95) 26. Where on the evidence before the court neither party will be entitled to judgment, the court can enter a non-suit after giving the parties opportunity to address it on the issue. See Ikoro v. Stfrap Nig. Ltd. (1977) 2 SC 123; Craig v. Craig (1966) 1 All NLR 173." Still on non-suit is the case of CHIKERE V. OKEGBE (2000) SCNJ 128, where the Supreme Court per Ayoola, JSC; stated at page 139 thus: "An order of non-suit implies that although on that particular occasion, the plaintiff has failed to prove his case against the defendant he should in fairness, not be denied an opportunity of relitigating the same case (see Melifonwu v. Adazie (1964) a All NLR 346; Olayioye v. Oso  1 All NLR 281; Oduola v. Nabhan  NSCC 180)." What Ayoola, JSC; stated above would appear to have been expressed in different words by Karibi-Whyte, JSC; some years before in the case of OKPALA V. IBEME (1989) 2 NWLR (pt. 102) 208 at 227, when his lordship said thus: "The order of non-suit made by a court is an expression that at the conclusion of the trial the plaintiff who brought the action has not established his claim to the satisfaction of the Court to deserve judgment in his favour. At the same time the defendant who has been brought before the court by the plaintiff is similarly not entitled to judgment. This is because although the plaintiff may not be entirety devoid of any right or title as regards the matter in dispute, he has not established any claim as against the defendant. It therefore means that Plaintiff should be able to have a second chance to litigate the issue - See Okpaloka & Ors. v. Umeh (1976) 9 SC 269 ... he or those who have rights in respect of the matter should not be permanently shut out in the exercise of their rights against the defendants or any other person. This will be the effect of a dismissal of Plaintiffs claim - See Bozson v. Altrincham UDC (1903) 1 KB 547. Thus justice demands that the court as stated in Craig v. Craig (1967) NMLR 52, 55 (sic) consider whether the order of non-suit would be doing wrong to the defendant, or whether the order of dismissal would be doing wrong to the Plaintiffs. Thus, a non-suit is the appropriate order where there is no satisfactory evidence enabling the Court to give judgment to either of the parties and doing wrong to neither - see Adeyola v. Akinsan (1939) 15 NLR 10; Epi &Anor. V. Aigbedion (1973) 1 NMLR 31." Per LOKULO-SODIPE, J.C.A. (P. 15-17, paras. F-F) All the authorities considered above establishes that a non-suit terminates the claimantâ€™s suit. OKPARA v IBENEME Supra where the termination did not adjudicate all the relevant areas on the merit AWOLE v ODUNWUMI Supra. Giving the claimant another chance to go a second time to prove his claim â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.serve suit or a subsequent suit OKPARA v IBEMEME Supra. It would also be worthy to look at the Court of Appeal pronouncement in respect of whether termination laws are said to apply to suits See SIFAX NIG. LTD & 4 ORS V. MIGFO NIG. LTD & ANOR  LPELR-24655(CA) as the hottest case in town on the issue at stake. It may be necessary to rehearse the facts of this case. The respondents had filed Suit No. FHC/L/CS/664/2006 in respect of the dispute at hand and got judgment, which was appealed against at the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court (FHC). On a further appeal to the Supreme Court, the case was struck out by the Supreme Court on 8th June 2012 on the grounds that the FHC which heard the matter had no jurisdiction to do so. The respondents accordingly filed a fresh action at the High Court of Lagos State on 18th July 2012. The appellants as defendants reacted by filing a motion on notice wherein they prayed that the suit be struck out on the ground that it is statute-barred. In a ruling delivered on 5th July 2013, the Lagos High Court held that the action was not statute-barred because it was not caught up by section 8 of the Limitation Law of Lagos State. Dissatisfied, the appellants appealed against the ruling on a number of issues including whether or not the suit was statute-barred. In determining whether the trial judge was right in holding that the action is not statute-barred, the Court of Appeal first accepted that the cause of action that gave rise to the respondentsâ€™ right of action accrued on 20th July 2006, the date they obtained the certified copies of the documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) showing that the 5th appellant was incorporated and the 1st and 3rd appellants were made shareholders and Directors to the exclusion of the respondents contrary to their joint venture agreement. The Court of Appeal then proceeded to hold that â€œcomputing the Limitation period of six years from the said 20-7-2006 to 18-7-2012 when the respondents commenced this action, it no doubt shows that they are still within the ambit of the six years period of Limitation as prescribed by Section 8(1)(a) of the Limitation Law of Lagos State, granted that the transaction falls within the realm of a simple contractâ€. On the issue whether time can be suspended or put in abeyance in certain instances for the purpose of computing time for limitation period, the Court of Appeal agreed with the trial judge that time does not run between 2005 and 8th June 2012 when the Supreme Court decided the matter. The trial judge had reasoned (which was reiterated and affirmed by the Court of Appeal) that learned senior counsel for the applicants (appellants) did not put forward any contrary argument on the point. The Court of Appeal then held that the appellants must be deemed to have conceded that point at the Lagos High Court. The Court of Appeal then proceeded to address what it termed â€œthe recondite nature of the law relating to whether time ceases to run upon the filing of an action by a party, which Suit is subsequently struck out for the purpose of the Limitation Lawâ€. Here, after considering a number of case law authorities, the Court of Appeal agreed with the trial judge that time ceases to run when a plaintiff commences legal proceedings in respect of a cause of action in question. That this accords with justice and common sense. To the Court of Appeal, where an aggrieved person commences an action within the period prescribed by the statute and such action is subsequently struck out for one reason or the other without being heard on the merit or subjected to an outright dismissal, such action is still open to be recommenced at the instance of the claimant and the limitation period shall not count during the pendency of earlier suit. In other words, that computation of time during the pendency of an action shall remain frozen from the filing of the action until it is determined or abates. The Court of Appeal then held that as regards the suit before it, time ceased to run from the filing of Suit No. FHC/L/CS/664/2006 on 9-8-2006 until 8-6-12 when it was struck out by the Supreme Court. In other words, that the suit was not caught up by the statute of limitation. Bearing in mind that an order of non suit does not determine the case but it merely terminates the suit leaving the claimant at liberty to start de novo either in the same or a subsequent Halsbiryâ€™s law And considering the position of the law and the SIFAX case I find that in the circumstance the position of the law is as was stated in the Court of Appeal an aggrieved person commences an action within the period prescribed by the statute and such action is subsequently struck out for one reason or the other without being heard on the merit or subjected to an outright dismissal, such action is still open to be recommenced at the instance of the claimant and the limitation period shall not count during the pendency of earlier suit. From the foregoing I find that the claimant suit is as long as it is the refiling of the earlier suit is not caught up with the limitation Act. This is the courtâ€™s ruling and it is hereby entered. _______________________________ Hon. Justice E. N. Agbakoba Judge.