As you may be aware, in Purification Techniques Nigeria Limited v Ag-Lagos State & Ors ((2004) 9 NWLR (PT 879) 665) and Hon Justice Sotonye Denton-West v Chief Chuks Muoma SAN ((2008) 6 NWLR (PT 1083) 418) the Court of Appeal decided that the existence of an application for a stay of execution precludes the judgment creditor from enforcing the judgment by other methods.
Now, in Nigerian Breweries Plc and Another v Dumuje, (2016), 8 NWLR (Pt 1515) 536, the Court of Appeal considered and departed from its earlier decisions on this matter. The Court unanimously held that garnishee proceedings cannot continue when a motion for a stay of execution has been filed by a judgment debtor. The court held that:· The distinction drawn between the terms ‘execution’ and ‘enforcement’ in its earlier decisions(10) had led to the incorrect belief that garnishee proceedings can continue while a motion for a stay of proceedings is pending; and the distinction was unnecessary because both ‘enforcement’ and ‘execution’ are means of giving effect to a judgment.
It would be absurd to allow garnishee proceedings to proceed as a means of execution when a motion for a stay of proceedings is pending, as such will of necessity would impose a fait accompli on a superior court deciding the appeal – a situation that has long been disapproved of.