RULING. On the 10th day of May 2018, this matter came up before the Court for ruling on the Claimants’ application for committal for contempt of the Court’s order of 6th February 2018. However, the Court informed Counsel for both parties that the ruling of the Court is ready, but, the Court would like the Counsel to address it on ‘‘whether in view of the averments of the Defendants in their counter-affidavit in opposition to the motion for committal for contempt to the effect that an appeal had been entered at the Court of appeal in respect of the Order which is the subject matter of the ruling to be delivered by the Court, the Court still has the jurisdiction to deliver the ruling’’. The case was then adjourned to the 11th day of May 2018, for Counsel to address the Court on the issue of jurisdiction raised by the Court suo motu. Stephen Apeh, Esq; Counsel for the Claimants in his oral submission formulated lone issue for determination, to wit: ‘‘Whether a mere filing of appeal vitiate or renders nugatory the judgment or order of trial Court to the extent that it can flagrantly be disobeyed without consequence’’. Counsel submitted that the mere intention to appeal or the fact that appeal has been entered does not and cannot stop enforcement of order made by a decision of the trial Court until it is set aside. Counsel continued his submission by contending that parties in suit to whom order of Court is not favourably made in their favour cannot at first disobey the order of the Court and then rushed to Court of Appeal against the order it disobeyed as is done in this case. Counsel also submitted that the Court order is still alive, subsisting, valid and binding on all the parties and it must be obeyed by all the parties concerned until it is set aside by a Court of competent jurisdiction. It is further submitted that it is elementary rule of legal procedure that every order of Court must be obeyed until set aside. Counsel also submitted that it is unqualified obligation on every person whether high or low against or in respect of whom order is made by a Court of competent jurisdiction to obey unless or until the said order is set aside. This is even so when the person affected by the order believes that the order is irregular or void in so far as the order exist the order must be obeyed in support of this contention Counsel relied on KULAK TAAD INDUSTRIES PLC V TUG BOART M/V JAPAUL V & ANOR. (2012) ALL FWLR (PT.620) 1307 @ 1310 RATION 5. It is the submission of Counsel that the entry of appeal at the Court of Appeal has no effect whatsoever on the order of the Court until set aside. Counsel submitted that this Court is free to go ahead to deliver its ruling notwithstanding that appeal had been entered at the Court of Appeal. Counsel submitted that it is in the interest of justice, integrity of the judiciary, peace and unity of Nigeria that the ruling of the Court on contempt be delivered. N. A. Idako, Esq; Counsel for the Defendants in his argument submitted that this Court is robed of jurisdiction to continue with hearing of the application and delivery of ruling in respect thereof. According to Counsel the application is an offshoot of the ruling of 6/2/18, to which the Defendants were alleged to be in contempt. It is the submission of Counsel that the present application is subject of an appeal before the Court of Appeal with suit no. CA/A/146/2018. Counsel referred to section 241(1) (f) (ii) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and submitted that the Defendants are exercising their constitutional right of appeal guaranteed by the constitution. It is the submission of Counsel that once an appeal has been entered court should desist from doing anything in respect of the matter to prevent fait accompli, on this submission Counsel relied on IKPEAZU V OGA & ORS. (2016) LPELR-40845(CA). Counsel also cited Order 64 Rule 8 of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017. Counsel also relied on SHELL PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY V OJIOWHOR MONDAY AMADI (2011) LPELR (SC). Counsel finally submitted that this Court lacks jurisdiction to continue with the contempt proceeding. The Counsel for the Claimant confirmed being served with the Appellants brief of argument in respect of the appeal. COURT’S DECISION The issue raised by the Court suo motu is a simple but fundamental one i.e ‘‘whether in view of entry of appeal at the Court of Appeal this Court can deliver ruling in respect of the subject matter of the Appeal’’. The position of Counsel for the Claimants’ is that this Court is free to deliver its ruling notwithstanding the entry of appeal at the Court of Appeal. Counsel maintained that the order of this Court is subsisting and valid until set aside by a Court of competent jurisdiction. However, Counsel for the Defendants’ submitted that with the entry of appeal at the Court of Appeal this Court lacks jurisdiction to continue with hearing or delivery of ruling in respect of the contempt proceeding. Counsel contended that the Defendants are exercising their right of appeal and continuing with the application or delivery of judgment will have the effect of rendering the appeal nugatory. It is trite law that an appeal does not operate as a stay of proceedings. Where there is an appeal proceedings in the trial Court can only stop, when there is an application for stay and an order of Court to that effect. This proposition of law is true for appeal that is yet to be entered before the Court of Appeal. However, once an appeal has been entered the equation changes. See Order 4 Rules 10 & 11 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2016. For proper appreciation, it is apt at this juncture to reproduce the provisions of Order 4 Rules 10 & 11 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2016, which provides as follows: 10. An appeal shall be deemed to have been entered in the Court when the record of proceedings in the Court below has been received in the Registry of the Court within the time prescribed by the Rules. 11. After an Appeal has been entered and until it has been finally disposed of, the Court shall be seized of the whole of the proceedings as between the parties thereto. Except as may be otherwise provided in these Rules, every application therein shall be made to the Court and not to the Court below’’. It is without any doubt that the above provisions of Order 4 Rules 10 & 11 of the Court of Appeal Rules established that once an appeal has been entered at the Court of Appeal, by transmission of record of proceeding, the Court of Appeal has become dominus litus in respect of the proceedings in the matter the subject matter of the appeal. This position of the law has received blessing of case law. See NGIGE V ACHUKWU (2004) 8 NWLR (Pt.875) 383 and MOHAMMED HUSSEINI (1998) 14 NWLR (Pt584) 108. It is apparent from these decisions that between the time an appeal is filed at the trial court, but before the record of appeal is transmitted to the court of appeal, the trial court can entertain such interlocutory applications like application for committal for contempt, stay of execution and injunction pending appeal. But, cannot in effect re-open the case. When the record of appeal is transmitted to the Court of Appeal whereby it is seized of the matter, the trial Court lacks every jurisdiction to take any proceedings, interlocutory or otherwise. This is because the Court of appeal is in charge. See Order 4 Rule 11 Court of Appeal Rules 2016. It is plain, clear and unambiguous from the above quoted decisions of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court that, once it has been shown that an appeal has been entered at the Court of Appeal, this Court ceased to have jurisdiction on issue that is the subject matter of the appeal. In the case at hand apart from entering appeal the Defendants (Appellants) have filed and served the Claimants (Respondents) with their brief of argument. This clearly confirmed that the Court of Appeal is fully seized of the matter. The rationale behind the provisions of Order 4 Rule 11 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2016, is to ensure the preservation of the subject matter of the appeal since there is no certainty of which way the decision of the Appeal Court will go. It is also in accord with the hierarchy of courts, which shows the limit of each court. The authority of each court must be respected. Even if this court disagree with the Appeal court, this Court is duty bound to accord it respect In view of my finding above, delivery ruling in respect of the application for committal for contempt will amount to disrespect to the processes of the Court of Appeal. In the circumstance delivery of ruling in respect of the application for committal for contempt is hereby adjourned sine die. Sanusi Kado, Judge.