Emirate Airline v. Ngonadi (No. 2) [2014] 9 NWLR (Pt. 1413) 506 at 546 paras. B-F, per Iyizoba,  JCA:

“…The terms “general” and “special” damages are normally inapt in the categorization of damages for the purposes of awards in cases of breach of contract. We have had occasion to point out before and we make the point that apart from damages naturally resulting from the breach, no other form of general damages can be contemplated… Assessment of damages for breach of contract “is restitutio in integrum – that is, so far as the damages are not too remote, the plaintiff shall be restored, as far as money can do it, into the position in which he would have been if the breach had not occurred. The principle is not restitutio in opulentiam – giving him a windfall.”


The Court of Appeal rightly relied on the Supreme Court case of Okongwu v. NNPC [1989] 4 NWLR (Pt. 115) 296 at 315 while discountenancing the earlier Court of Appeal cases to the contrary.
The question in the lips of many is how then will a claimant recover what is conveniently known as “special damages” where a breach of contract occurs and the claimant suffered some losses associated with the breach. The answer is that such claims should be well particularised. It should then form the basis for the quantum of damages sought.

Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has advised a number of both established and startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
Send this to a friend