The Claimants instituted this action via a Complaint with the accompanying frontloaded documents filed on 3rd March, 2016 against the defendants for the following reliefs: 1. Payment of the Three Hundred and Eighty Five Thousand Naira (#385,000.00) forthwith. 2. Cost of the action to be assessed at One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (#150,000.00). 3. General damage of Five Million Naira (#5,000,000.00). 1st defendant filed a NOTICE OF PRELIMINARY OBJECTION on 27th June, 2016, praying the Court for an Order that this suit is incompetent and that the Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain it, on the ground that the suit is statute barred having been instituted more than 3 months after the cause of action arose. The 1st defendants in their WRITTEN ADDRESS IN SUPPORT OF PRELIMINARY OBJECTION raised two ISSUES: 1. Whether this action is statute barred; 2. Whether this Court can dismiss this suit for lack of jurisdiction on account of being statute barred. ON ISSUE 1 Whether this action is statute barred; Learned Defence Counsel Kingsley Umoh Esq. relying on Sec. 1 (1) of the Public Officers Protection Law, Cap. 104, Vol. 5, Laws of Akwa Ibom State; Sec. 2 (a) of the Public Officers Protection Act, 1916, submitted that claimant’s action is statute barred having been filed on 3rd March, 2016, 6 months after the cause of action arose. Furthermore, that the action not having been brought within the statutory period prescribed by the Limitation Law of Akwa Ibom state is statute barred. AJAYI v. ADEBIYI (2012) 11 NWLR (PT. 1310) 137 @ 169-170. He submitted that time begins to run for the purposes of limitation law from the date the cause of action accrued. YARE v. NSWIC (2013) 219 LRCN (PT. 2) P H.8 @ P. 75, per Ogunbiyi, JSC. It is defence counsel’s submission that the Supreme Court has in the case of HASSAN v. ALIYU (2010) 17 NWLR (PT. 1223) 547 @ Pp. 619-620, PARAS. H-C, pronounced how to determine whether an action is caught up by the period of limitation. He submitted that in determining whether this action is statute barred or not the processes this Court ought to look at is the Writ of Summons and the Statement of Facts alleging when the wrong was committed which gave rise to the cause of action and comparing the date with the date with the date the Writ of Summons was filed. If the time on the Wit is beyond the period allowed by limitation law, then this Court should hold that this action is statute barred. KANU v. ENUGU BROADCASTING SERVICE & ORS. (2014) 46 NLLR (PT. 148) 243; KOLO v. FBN PLC (2003) 3 NWLR 9PT. 806) 216 @ 234, PARAS. E-G; OFILI v. C.S.S. (2008) 2 NWLR (PT. 1071) 238 @ 253, PARAS. F-H; EBOIGBE v. NNPC (1994) 5 NWLR (PT. 347) 649. It is counsel’s submission that when dealing with statute of limitation to determine the precise date the cause of action accrued, time will begin to run from the moment the cause of action arose. WOHEREM v. EMERUEWA (2004) VOL. 120 LRCN 4752 @ 4753 RATIO 1, PARAS. JJ-K. Furthermore, that where an action is statute barred, a claimant who might otherwise have had a cause of action loses the right to enforce it by judicial process because the period of time laid down by the limitation law for instituting such action has elapsed. AREMO II v. ADEKANYE (2004) VOL. 121 LRCN 4853 @ 4857 RATIO 7. ON ISSUE 2 Whether this Court can dismiss this suit for lack of jurisdiction on account of being statute barred. Learned Defendants Counsel submitted that once at any stage of the proceedings, the Court becomes aware that it lacks jurisdiction to deal with a matter before it, it is bound to terminate the proceedings and strike out the suit because no matter how well a case is conducted, it is a nullity if the court has no jurisdiction ab initio to deal with it. BRAITHWAITE v. SKYE BANK PLC. (2013) 5 NWLR (PT. 1346) P. 1; AHAH v. N.Y.S.C. (2004) 13 NWLR (PT. 891) 691. He submitted that issue No. 1 having been resolved in favour of the defendants, this Court is bereft of its requisite jurisdiction to entertain this suit. He urged the Court to dismiss the suit. AJAYI v. ADEBIYI (2012) 11 NWLR (PT. 1310) 137 @ 197, PARAS. F-H.; GBADEHON v. KILADEJO (2012) 16 NWLR (PT. 1326) 392 RATIOS 2 & 3. It is counsel’s submission that jurisdiction is fundamental to adjudication and is also the lifeblood of any adjudication, the fiat and the stamp of authority to adjudicate. LADO v. CPC (2011) 18 NWLR (PT. 1279) 689; KATTO v. CBN (1999) 9 NWLR (PT. 213) 149 @ 216. The claimants failed to file any process in response despite the Learned Counsel to the claimant Ernest Usang Esq. having informed the court during proceedings on 26th June 2016 that the claimants had been served and were opposed to the defendant Preliminary objection. On 12th October 2016 after another adjournment and no response from the claimant, the parties were invited to adopt their final written address. The defendant adopted his written address and adumbrated his position accordingly and the matter adjourned to 2nd December 2016 for Ruling. From that date and up to the date of preparing this decision the claimants have not entered any response to the defendant’s process. On the 1st of December 2016 the claimants filed a motion to set aside the court’s order for ruling and a written address in support and a reply to the 1st defendant’s preliminary objection. The Court’s Decision Having carefully summarized the position of the defendants, the arguments of defendant’s counsel and having carefully reviewed all the authorities cited, read through all the relevant processes and digested the contention of the defendant’s counsel and his written submission are herewith incorporated in this ruling and specific mention would be made to them where the need arises. Before addressing the main issue I shall address the application of the claimant demanding the court set aside it order to rule on the processes filed prior to the 31st January, 2017and allow the claimant file its reply to the 1st defendants reply to Preliminary objection. Having heard and determined the issue raised therein in a separate desk ruling I shall nor proceed to the ruling at hand. The main issue for determination in this suit to my mind is whether there is any merit to the defendant’s Preliminary objection. The defendants have asked whether this claimants suit, this action is statute barred and whether this Court can dismiss this suit for lack of jurisdiction on account of being statute barred. In 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. KANU v. ENUGU BROADCASTING SERVICE & ORS. (2014) 46 NLLR (PT. 148) 243 see also ELABANJO v. DAWODU (2006) 6 – 7 SC 24. OLORA V. ADEGBITE (2013) 1 NWLR (PT. 1334) 45, held that “in determining whether or not a case is statute-barred, the court is restricted to the writ of summons and statement of claim, where the issue is raised in limine by preliminary objection. EGBE V. ADEFARASIN (NO. 2) (1987) 1 NWLR (PT. 47) 1; S.B.N. LTD. V. PAN ATLANTIC SHIPPING & TRANSPORT AGENCIES LTD. (1987) 1 NWLR (PT. 49) 212. In the instant case it is from the reliefs and pleadings I am to find that the claimant cause of action; The claimant’s reliefs are as follows 1. Payment of the Three Hundred and Eighty Five Thousand Naira (#385,000.00) forthwith. 2. Cost of the action to be assessed at One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (#150,000.00). 3. General damage of Five Million Naira (#5,000,000.00). And from the pleadings I find the claimant in paragraph 4 of his statement of fact averred that “he was entitled to monthly allowance of Fifty five thousand Naira which was withheld by the 1st defendant”, and from paragraph 5 the claimant averred that “The entitlement withheld by the 1st defendant stood at Three Hundred and Eighty Five Thousand Naira (#385,000.00) ranging from March 2015 to September 2015” The position of the law as regards periodical payments such as salaries and allowances is that where the payment of such salaries or allowances has been wrongfully withheld, the cause of action accrues from the date the salaries are due not paid. LUTH & MB V. ADEWOLE  5 NWLR (PT. 550) 406, and where the payment is for a fixed period of time the cause of action would accrue when the last payment was due and not paid. In the instant case the case of action in this suit is the non-payment of the claimants month allowance which was being owed the claimant from March 2015 to September 2015, which means the cause of action arose in September 2015, especially as it a been shown that the claimant was in employment during the said period. A cursory regard of the case file would reveal that this matter was instituted on the 3rd March 2016 which by simple mathematics means that this suit was instituted five months and 15 days after the cause of action arose. The defendants have argued relying that the Section 2 (a) of the Public Officers Protection Law Cap. P.17, Laws of Akwa Ibom State, which provides Where any action, prosecution, or other proceeding is commenced against any person for any act done in pursuance or execution or intended execution of any Law or of any public duty or authority, or in respect of any alleged neglect or default in the execution of any such Law, duty or authority, the following provision shall have effect. (a) the action, prosecution, or proceedings shall not lie or be instituted unless it is commenced within three months next after the act, neglect or default complained of, or in case of a continuance of damage or injury, within Six months next after the ceasing thereof: The 1st defendant maintains that the claimants case is statute barred in that the action would have been live up until December 2015. Having found that the action was instituted five months a 15 days after the cause of action arose I find that the matter arose outside the barometers of the law. When a matter has been found to have been caught up by the limitation act the next thing the court is required to do is to ascertain if the matter falls within any of the known exceptions. The claimant in their reply to the preliminary objection have submitted that the matter falls within the exceptions by reason that the public officer acted out of the scope of his employment citing CBN Vs. OKOJIE  14 NWLR Pt. 231 at 260 para E-G, relying on OKOH Vs. NIGERIAN NAVY  25 WRN Pt. 1 at 52 Held 1. The claimant also raised the questions of Continuous injury, Damages and contended that a contract of employment creates an exception to the “doctrine” of Public Officer Protection law. This court had cause to consider the concept of the exception of a public officer acting outside of the color of his employment in the unreported case of SUIT NO. NICN/LA/07/2016 MRS AGUBUZOR NKECHI VS. CENTRE FOR BLACK AND AFRICAN ARTS AND CIVILIZATION & 6 ORS delivered on the 7th December 2016 where this court held that “there is something curious and illogical about this argument. A review of case law authorities brings out the point being made succinctly. RAHAMANIYYA UNITED (NIG.) LTD Vs. MINISTRY FOR FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY & ORS  43 WRN 124 CA at PAGE 146, applying CHIGBU Vs. TONIMAS (NIG.) LTD  31 WRN 179;  9 NWLR (PT. 986) 189 SC at 210, held that the propriety or otherwise of the act of the defendants is not a relevant consideration for the applicability of the Public Officers Protection Act. The case continued that if an action against a public officer or public institution and organization is statute-barred having not been brought within the prescribed period of three months, there will be no basis for investigating the conduct of the public officer which gave rise to the action. That the conduct of the defendant as to whether he was malicious or not is irrelevant in determining whether the cause of action is statute-barred under section 2 of the Public Officers Protection Act, referring to EGBE V. ADEFARASIN  14 WRN 57 AND AREMO II V. ADEKANYE  42 WRN 1 SC. And in JOSHUA MNENGE V. NIGERIAN ARMY UNREPORTED SUIT NO. NICN/IB/22/2012, the ruling of which was delivered on December 18, 2012, this Court dealing with an argument similar to the instant applicant held thus: It is in the attempt to show that the defendant acted mala fide that the claimant posited that the defendant did not act pursuant to the law. This argument turns the principle over its head as it is the very fact of the claimant complaining that his dismissal was not in accordance with the law that brought him to Court in the first place. If the claimant’s counsel turns round to say that for this reason, the defendant cannot enjoy the benefit of the Public Officers Protection Act 2004, then there is some warped reasoning on his part in that regard. The argument of the instant applicant is that the respondents did not have the requisite statutory and constitutional power to do what they did to her; as such they acted mala fide, and outside of the colour of their offices. The illogicality of the applicant’s argument is that it is that very fact of acting mala fide and outside of the colour of their offices that brought the applicant to this Court, and which the limitation laws dictate that she comes within 3 months. She cannot sit in house and wait for the expiration of the 3 months before coming to court and then pleading that the acts she complains of were acts done mala fide and outside of the colour of an office. I do not see any merit in the argument of the applicant in this regard. Her argument in that regard is accordingly discountenanced”. With regard to the submission as to continuous injury the, this court in BELLO & ORS. v. NIGERIA CUSTOMS SERVICE BOARD (2015) 53 NLLR (PT. 179) 343 NIC @ 351 held that “the definition of the phrase “continuance of the injury” by case law authorities means continuance of the “act which caused the injury” and not the injury itself”. OKAFOR V. A.G, ANAMBRA STATE (2001) FWLR (PT. 58) 1127 at 1146 D-G; CARREY V. BERMONDSEY METROPOLITAN BOUROUGH COUNCIL (1903) 675 P. 447; 20 TLR 2; AMAMIWE V. THE LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD (1971) 2 NMLR 57 58; OBIEFUNA V. OKOYE (1961) ALL NLR 357. The case went on to hold that “for the exception of “continuance of damage or injury” to limitation of action rule to avail an employee, there must be periodicity of payment. For instance, where an allocation which comes periodically, say, monthly (like salary and allowances) is deprived an employee, there is continuing damage or injury for which the Public Officers Protection Act or Law will not apply. HON. RUNYI KANU (JP) & ORS. v. ATTORNEY-GENERAL & COMMISSIONER FOR JSUTICE, CROSS RIVER STATE & ORS. (2013) 32 NLLR (PT. 91) 63 NIC. Now in the instant case having found that the claimant was being owed from March 2015 to September 2015 and that the claimant was in employment during the said period the exception of continuous injury cannot apply. The argument of the claimant with regard to claims for wages not being susceptible to public Officer’s protection Law cannot stand having regard to the legal position as stated in LUTH & MB V. ADEWOLE A claim for damages is not one of the prescribed exceptions to Section 2 (a) of the Public Officers Protection Law Cap. P.17, Laws of Akwa Ibom State, 2000, I find. The law is well settled on the question of jurisdiction of a court which is fundamental that the absence of same renders any proceeding conducted as null and void and without any legal effect whatsoever. KAYILI V. YILBUK (2015) 61 NSCQR 359 @ 367 And that it is the plaintiff’s claim in a matter that determines the jurisdiction of the court. C.B. Ogunbiyi, JSC @ P. 400. Furthermore in HALLMARK BANK PLC v. OBASANJO (2014) 4 NWLR (PT. 1397) 209 C.A. @ 212It was held that “Jurisdiction of a court is the lifeline of an action; if a court lacks jurisdiction, it automatically lacks the necessary competence to try to try the case. ACHEBE v. NWOSU (2003) 7 NWLR (PT. 818) 103. Having found that this matter is caught up with the provision of the Public Officers Protection Law Cap. P.17, Laws of Akwa Ibom State, 2000, and does not come within any of the prescribed exceptions it means that this court is robbed of jurisdiction to determine this suit and it ought to be dismissed The defendants’ application therefore succeeds, it has merit. This matter is statute barred by virtue of Section 1(a) Public Officers Protection Law Cap. P.17, Laws of Akwa Ibom State, 2000 and is hereby dismissed. This is the court’s Judgement and it is hereby entered I make no order as to costs. …………………………………… Hon. Justice E. N. Agbakoba Judge.