RULING The 1st Defendant by a notice of preliminary objection dated 14/11/17 and filed on the same day, challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear and determine this matter on the following grounds: 3. That this suit was instituted on the 31st day of January 2017 against the Defendants claiming the reliefs contained in the writ of summons and statement of facts. 4. That the complaint by the claimant against the Defendants is the alleged termination of employment of the Claimant by the 1st Defendant which occurred in 9th February 2016. 5. That by section 2(a) of the Public Officers (protection) Act Cap. P.41 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the Claimant has three Months within which to commence any action against a public officer. 6. That the Claimant has lost her right to enforce her cause of action (if any) against the Defendants as the suit is instituted outside the period of limitation established by statute. 7. That the Claimant has not satisfied the condition precedent before the commencement of this action in line with the agreement of parties. In support of this objection the 1st Defendant filed an 11 paragraphs affidavit and a written address. In the written address Counsel submitted single issue for determination to wit: ‘‘Whether this action as presently constituted is not statute barred.’’ T. R. Agbanyi, Esq; Counsel for the 1st Defendant/Applicant submitted that this suit is statute barred as the suit does not meet the requirements of section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act. Counsel submitted that an action against a public officer can only be properly commenced, if filed within 3 months from the date of the occurrence of the act complained of. Counsel submitted Public Officers (protection) Act applies to both artificial and natural persons. To support this contention Counsel relies on OFFOBOCHE V OGOJA LOCAL GOVERNMENT (2001) 6 NWLR (Pt.739) 458. Counsel submitted that section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act applies to all the Defendants in this suit. It is the submission of Counsel that time begin to run, from the date on which the cause of action accrues. The cause of action generally accrues on the date on which the incident giving rise to the cause of action occurs. Proceedings must begin, normally by the issue of writ of summons within a period prescribed by the relevant statute. EBOIGBE V NIGERIA NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION (1994) 5 NWLR (Pt.347) 649, NPA V LOTUS PLASTICS LIMITED (2005) 12 SC (Pt.1) 19. WOHEREM V EMEREUWA (2004) 6-7 SC 161. Where an action is statute barred a plaintiff who might have had a cause of action, loses the right to enforce the cause of action by judicial process because the period of limitation laid down for institution of such an action has elapsed. In response to this objection the Claimant filed a 13 paragraphs affidavit and a written address. In the written address counsel distilled lone issue for determination, to wit: ‘‘Whether this action as presently constituted is not statute barred’’. Eboh E. idikwu, Esq; in arguing the issue for determination submitted that the Claimant’s action is not statute barred. Counsel submitted the relationship between the 1st Defendant and the Claimant was that of contract for work or labour entered into by them as private persons, outside the statutory or constitutional duty of the Defendants, which is one of the exceptions to the provisions of section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act. Counsel submitted that section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act, is not applicable or relevant to the claimant’s case as presently constituted. It is only acts in the course of the Defendant’s statutory/constitutional duty is protected, but this case is not. On this submission counsel relied on HASSAN & ORS. V BORNO STATE GOVERNMENT & ORS. (2016), ENERGY MARINE AND INDUSTRIAL LTD V MINISTER OF THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY & ANOR. (2010) LPELR-19774(CA), NPA V CONTUZANI GENERALI FARSURA COGEFAR SPA & ANOR (1974) 1 ALL NLR (PT.2) 945, AG-RIVERS V AG-BAYELSA STATE (2012) 6-7 MJSC (PT.111) 149, NWANKWESA V ADEWUNMI 1967 NMLR 45, ANOZIE V AG FEDERATION 2008 10 NWLR PT.1095 278, NIGERIA STORED PRODUCTS RESEARCH INSTUTUTE V BOARD OF INTERNAL REVENUE KWARA STATE 2013 LPELR-22093CA. Counsel submitted that the preliminary objection was brought in bad faith and it is baseless, hence should be dismissed. It is the contention of counsel that the claimant was not engaged under the civil service as part of the defendants statutory functions/duties, but engaged by the 1st Defendant outside the colour and flavour of her statutory duty to work for her as a nanny/housemaid in the Republic of Island and they entered into the contract voluntarily they are bound to give effect to same. AD FERRERO & CO LTD V H.C. NIG. LTD 2011 13 NWLR PT.1265 592, CHUKWUMAH V SPDC 1993 4 NWLR PT.287 572, UNION BANK OF NIGERIA V OZIGI 1994 3 NWLR PT.333 385, AJEGBE V IDOWU 2011 17 NWLR PT.1276 422. REPLY ON POINTS OF LAW Counsel submitted that paragraphs 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 of the counter-affidavit offends section 115(2) of the Evidence Act2011. Paragraphs 7, 9, 10 and 11 are conclusion. While paragraph 8 and 12 are arguments. The law is settled that the power to make conclusion is an exclusive reserve of the court. No deponent can share this power of the court not even his counsel can make such conclusion on his behalf. Bamaiyi v State (2018) NWLR (Pt.715) 270. Counsel urged court to strike out these paragraphs for offending evidence Act. It is the submission of Counsel that some of the claims are on vicarious liability, if the Claimant is making claim against 2nd defendant on vicarious liability then the action is statute barred, NOTICE OF PRELIMINARY OBJECTION BY 2ND DEFENDANT The 2nd Defendant also filed notice of preliminary objection dated 20/12/17 and filed on 21/12/17, the NPO was brought pursuant to section 6(6) (B) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act and under the inherent jurisdiction of the Court. The application is paying for: 1. An order dismissing this suit for it is statute barred. 2. An order of court striking out the name of the 2nd defendant as a non-juristic entity. 3. An order of court dismissing this suit as there is no actual cause of action against the 2nd defendant in this case. 4. An order that this Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain this matter. 5. And for such further or other orders as Honourable court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case. The grounds for seeking the above reliefs are: 1. That contrary to section 2(a) of Public Officers (Protection) Act, the Claimant did not commence this action within 3 months envisaged by the Act. 2. The 2nd Defendant is not juristic person and therefore not known to law. 3. The Claimant failed to prove any cause of action against the 2nd Defendant in this suit. 4. That there is absolutely no cause of action against the 2nd Defendant. 5. That the Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain this suit. The notice of preliminary objection is supported by a 16 paragraphs affidavit and a written address. Counsel relied on all the paragraphs of the affidavit in support and adopted the written address as his argument. In the written address three issues were distilled for determination. To wit: 1. ‘‘Whether the Claimant’s application has disclosed any cause of action against the 2nd Defendant. 2. ‘‘Whether or not this action is statute barred vis a vis section 2(a0 of the Public Officers (protection) Act. 3. ‘‘Whether the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a juristic personality capable of suing or being sued as was done in this case. ARGUMENTS Issue one. While relying on SAVAGE V UWAECHIA (1972) 1 ALL NLR (Pt.1) 251, and EGBUE v ARAKA (1988) 2 NWLR 598, submitted that the claimants action did not disclose cause of action against the 2nd defendant. Counsel submitted claimant’s claims is against the 1st Defendant. Counsel submitted where a party did not disclose any cause of action in a suit against another party, no further evidence shall be required to determine the action against such party. To buttress his submission Counsel cited TOBIOWO V DISU (2008) 7 NWLR (Pt.1087). Counsel submitted a claimant cannot sue a defendant against whom he has no cause of action against. Counsel urged the Court to strike out the name of 2nd defendant for non-disclosure of cause of action. Issue two. It is the submission of Counsel this action is statute barred for having been commenced more than three months after the accrual of cause of action. Issue three. It is the contention of Counsel that the 2nd defendant is not a juristic person capable of suing or being sued, the 2nd defendant is not creation of statute, nor is it natural person. On this submission Counsel relied on AGBOOLA & 2 ORS. V SAIBU (1991) 2 NWLR 166, DALHATU V TURAKI (2003) 15 NWLR (PT.843) 310. Counsel urged the court to strike out the name of the 2nd defendant or dismiss this suit as it is caught by the statute of limitation, unmeritorious and having failed to comply with provisions of the law. CLAIMANT’S REPLY In reaction to the notice of preliminary objection, the Claimant filed a 15 paragraphs affidavit and a written address. Counsel for the Claimant relied on all the paragraphs of the counter-affidavit and adopted the written address as his argument. Counsel adopted the issues formulated by the 2nd defendant. On issue one Counsel submitted that the claimant has disclosed a cause of action against the defendant. Counsel submitted that the 2nd defendant being principal of the 1st defendant is liable. To support hid submission Counsel cited IFEANYI CHUKWU V SOLEH BONEH NIG. LTD (2000) 1 SCNQR 469. It is the contention of Counsel that the law regards both master and servant joint tort feasors. Being joint-tort feasors the person injured is at liberty to sue anyone of them separately or may sue both jointly, their liability being joint and several. On issue two statute barred. Counsel submitted that this action is not statute barred due to the fact that section 2(a) of the Public Officers (protection) Act is not applicable to this action. The action is based on contract for work or labour entered into by them as private persons outside statutory duties. Counsel further submitted, it is only act done in the Course of statutory duties that are subject of the Public Officers (Protection) Act. On issue four Counsel submitted that 2nd Defendant has juristic personality capable of suing or being sued as was done in this case. Counsel submitted ministry has artificial personality. OFFOBOCHE V OGOJA LOCAL GOVERNMENT 2001 16 NWLR PT.739 458, relied on this submission. COURT’S DECISION: I have carefully perused all the processes filed in this suit. I have equally examined the two notices of preliminary objections filed by the 1st and 2nd Defendants, respectively, as well as the addresses of Counsel for all the parties. After considering the various issues submitted by counsel, I shall proceed to formulate two issue, which I feel can dispose of the issues raised in the two preliminary objections as follows: 1. ‘‘Whether the Claimant’s action is statute barred by virtue of the provisions of section 2(a) of the Public Officers (protection) Act. 2. ‘‘Whether or not the 2nd Defendant is a proper party clothe with juristic personality to sue and be sued’’. Before resolving the two issues formulated for determination of the preliminary objections, I shall endeavor to treat the objection to certain paragraphs of the affidavit of the Claimant. Counsel for the 1st Defendant has argued that paragraphs 7, 8, 9. 10, 11, and 12 of the counter-affidavit have offended the provisions of section 115(2) of the Evidence Act. I have perused the paragraphs of the counter-affidavit being objected to it is manifestly clear that they contained legal argument, opinion, objection and conclusion, which are within the preserve of Counsel and the Court. In the circumstance those paragraphs are hereby struck out for non-compliance with section 115 of the Evidence Act. RESOLUTION OF ISSUE ONE Counsel for both the 1st Defendant and 2nd Defendant have in their respective written addresses in support of their notices of preliminary objections submitted that this suit is statute barred as the suit does not met the requirements of section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act. An action against a public officer can only be properly commenced, if, filed within 3 months from the date of the occurrence of the act complained of. Counsel submitted Public Officers (protection) Act, applies to both artificial and natural persons. It is the submission of Counsel that time begin to run, from the date on which the cause of action accrues. A cause of action generally accrues on the date on which the incident giving rise to the cause of action. Where an action is statute barred a plaintiff who might have had a cause of action, loses the right to institute such an action to enforce the cause of action by judicial process because the period of limitation laid down by the limitation law for institution of such action has elapsed. The Claimant in response to both parties submitted that the Claimant’s action is not statute barred. The reason being that the claims of the Claimant as disclosed by the originating processes commencing this suit is in respect of contract for work or labour entered into by them as private persons, outside the statutory or constitutional duty of the Defendants, which is one of the exceptions to the provisions of section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act. Counsel submitted that section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act, is not applicable or relevant to the claimant’s case as presently constituted. It is further argued that it is only acts in the course of the Defendant’s statutory/constitutional duty that is covered or protected, which is not the case here. For the provision of section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Act to apply, it must be established that: 1. The action was not instituted within three Months from the date of accrual of cause of action. 2. The applicant is a public officer, 3. The act complained of was done by public officer in acting 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. It is not in dispute that the grouse of the Claimant based on which this action was commenced was hinged on alleged wrongful termination of the Claimant’s employment on 9th day of February 2017. This action was instituted on 20th day of July 2017. It is clear from these undisputed facts agreed by all the parties concerned that this action was caught by the limitation of time. Therefore, as earlier pointed out, the Claimant instituted this action for period of more than three Months from the occurrence of the act complained of (termination) of the Claimant from the services of the Defendant. However, it must be noted that the institution of an action beyond three months period is not enough to render suit statute barred. The other two ingredients must be established. The next question to answer is, are the 1st and 2nd defendants in this case Public Officers?. The case of IBRAHIM V JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMITTEE (1987) comes handy, this case has settled this issue, wherein it was held that the word ‘any officer’ in section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Act of the Northern Nigeria which is impairi material with section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Act (federal). The term public officer is not limited to only natural persons or human beings. It admits and includes artificial persons such as corporation sole, company or anybody of persons corporate or incorporate. The Defendants in this case going by the definition of public officer as provided by the Supreme Court are without any fear of contradiction are public officers. I therefore hold that the Defendants in this suit are public Officer. The next question is whether the Defendants were acting in pursuance of or execution or intended execution of any law or of any duty or authority? To answer this question the averments in the statement of facts have to be closely examined to be able to find an answer to this question. For this purpose it suffice to state that the pleadings of the Claimant clearly shows that this action was instituted by the Claimant to challenge alleged wrongful termination of appointment by the 1st Defendant. Then the question to ask is was the termination of Claimant’s in pursuance of execution of public duty by the Defendants. The claimant has stated that sometime in 22/10/15, the 1st defendant employed the claimant herein to work for her as a nanny in Dublin Republic of Island. The Claimant stated that in pursuance of the contract of employment the claimant travelled to Dublin Republic of Island wherein she commenced work immediately. While in Dublin, the claimant worked for the 1st defendant as house help by doing domestic chores. That when the 1st defendant noticed the agitation of the Claimant and constant agitation for her entitlement. The 1st Defendant falsely notified the Irish Embassy that the Claimant’s father has died and needed to return home urgently. That following the 1st defendant shocking falsehood the claimant was bundled back home without any notice. It is based on these facts that Claimant instituted this action for wrongful termination of her employment. It is clear from the statement of facts that the acts being complained of are not acts in the discharge of public officer in the discharge of his official functions. What remain is to see whether this action was instituted within three months next after the cause of action has arose. The statement of facts and the endorsement on the complaint will now be considered to see whether the termination of the action is within the period of limitation or not. The endorsement on the complaint as well as statement of facts clearly shows that the termination of Claimant’s employment took place on 9/2/17 and this complaint was filed at the Registry of this Court on 20th day of November 2017. This means that this action was instituted more three month from the date of accrual of the cause of action. This is without any fear of contradiction outside the statutory period allowed by section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Act for institution of action against a public officer. However, since the acts complained of were not in respect of performance of his official duties, the provisions of section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act, is not application and the Claimant’s action is not caught by the statute of limitation. In view of the reasons given above I hold that this suit is not statute barred. ON ISSUE TWO In our jurisprudence two categories of persons are recognised as having juristic personality to sue or be sued. The case law is replete with decisions asserting that any person, natural or artificial, may sue or be sued in a court of law. No action can be brought by or against any party other than a natural or artificial person or persons, expressly or impliedly, unless status, rules of court or common law has given such a person legal persona under a name or a right to sue or be sued by that name. See FAWEHINMI V N. B. A. (NO.2) (1989) 2 NWLR (PT.105) 558; IYKE MED. MMERCH V PFIZER (2010J 10 NWLR (Pt.722) 540. All authorities on issue of legal personality or juristic personality, are in agreement that the power of a party including corporate bodies to sue and be sued, can therefore be expressly conferred on it by the statute creating it. However, where the statute creating the body or artificial person is silent on issue of suing or being sued. The statute of the body must of necessity go through the task of examining meticulously the relevant statutory provisions of the statute which establishes, confers rights, and imposes duties on the body can be inferred. The court in doing this bear in mind the relationship of the body to other persons or bodies such that unless legal personality is ascribed to it, an injustice to such person or bodies might result. Therefore, it follows that an enactment can create an indeterminate group of persons or even inanimate objects juristic persons that may sue or be sued eo nomine, as prescribed by the enactment. The controversy in this case is surrounding the legal personality of the 2nd Defendant, the counsel for the Defendant has made copious submissions to the effect that the Defendant is not a juristic person for not having been expressly conferred with it in any law. RESOLUTION OF ISSUE TWO ‘‘Whether the 2nd Defendants is a proper party before the Court’’. It is trite law that a party wishing to commence an action has the right to sue one or more parties against whom right to any relief is alleged to exist whether jointly, severally or in the alternative. See Order 13 Rule 4 of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017. Where there is no complaint against a party, the non-joinder or misjoinder of that party will not affect proper determination of suit. ALHAJI AMINU DANTSOHO V ALHAJI ABUBAKAR MOHAMMED (2003) 5 SCM 59. The current position of law is that non-joinder or misjoinder of party or parties will not defeat any proceedings by divesting a court of its jurisdiction to adjudicate. Non-joinder or misjoinder is a procedural irregularity which can be corrected by the Court in the course of proceedings upon appropriate application to that effect. The absurdity of misjoinder is to create a situation where the party suing would be unable to pursue the case against the mis-joined parties. Therefore, the court has the requisite competence to upon appropriate application strike out the names of parties mis-joined. The 2nd Defendant is claiming not to be proper party, because it was not a creation of any statute. There is no doubt that the 2nd Defendant is not a natural or juristic person that can be sued. Since it was not a creation of statute. In law only natural or juristic person whether corporate or incorporated that can sue and be sued see FAWEHNMI V NBA (NO 2) (1989) 2 NWLR (105) 558, where it was held that no action can be brought by or against any party, other than a natural person persons unless such party has been given statute, expressly or impliedly, or by common law either (a) a legal persona under the name by which it sues or be sued (b) a right to sue or be sued by that name. In actions where there are single parties and any one of them is shown not to be juristic and consequently incompetent to sue or be sued, the proper parties would be absent in the action and the Court would not have jurisdiction to entertain it. However, where there are more than one party, the non-juristic party will be struck out and the matter proceed with the remaining juristic persons. It is trite non-juristic person cannot sue or be sued. See FGN & ORS V SHOBU NIGERIA LTD & ANOR. 2013 LPELR-21457 CA. having held that the 2nd Defendant in this suit is not a juristic person the proper order to make is for striking the name of the 2nd Defendant from this suit. In view of the foregoing, I hold that this suit is not statute barred, as section 2(a) of the Public Officers (Protection) Act is not applicable in cases where the acts complained of is not acts performed in the course of performance of official functions or duties. The name of 2nd Defendant is struck out for mis-joinder. Sanusi Kado, Judge.