Here is the text with the preceding paragraph:

Without much hesitation, the then Attorney General of Kaduna State, Mr. Rabo Barde stood up and informed the court that of the state’s decision to discontinue with the case. The press and indeed the policemen present were highly surprised with his statement: “I, Mr. Rabo Barde, the Attorney General of the State, by the powers conferred unto me by ... , move for the discontinuance of the case of a three- count charge filed against Sheikh Ibraheem Yaqub Zakzaky, Alhaji Hamidu Danlami, Abubakar Abduallahi and Shittu Muhammad”.

Having moved the application, Justice Adamu Abdul Kafarati shrugged off his shoulders in total resignation and turned to Sheikh Zakzaky for his response. (source)

What does the phrase in bold mean?

Thanks in advance!

1 Answer 1


This is going to be difficult to discern. To complete your ellipsis, the sentence above reads

by the powers conferred unto me by section 19(2) of the 1979 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended by Decree 107 of 1993.

As far as I can tell, there was no section 19(2) of the Nigerian constitution, and Decree 107 suspended that constitution in any case. Your source is also filled with grammatical errors, so I wouldn't put too much reliance on it.

That said, in countries with a tradition of English law, the parties appearing in court generally have the right to ask the court for a ruling on an issue in their case or in fact, for a judgment. So an attorney might say to a judge

I move the court to strike the witness' testimony.

The judge then decides whether to grant or deny the motion. This is also called making an application to the court.

So one party (the movant) moves the court or makes an application to a court, and the presiding official (judge or justice) grants or denies the motion or application.

Your bold phrase seems to say that it was the judge who moved the application, but the story makes it clear that it was the attorney general (acting as prosecutor) who made the motion (to dismiss the charges).

  • Oh, that was an amazing elucidation! Now understood! Thanks!
    – infatuated
    Dec 21, 2015 at 6:07
  • 1
    Good answer. For the record this use of move is sense 28b of the verb to move in the OED. b. trans. To propose formally in a court or deliberative assembly that something be done, or to do something. Occasionally (esp. in earlier use) used in less formal contexts. I am always astonished at how countries which have phased out the teaching of English, can continue to use English law. I don't know if that is the case in Nigeria, but from the grammar here one suspects it may be the case. In law so much depends on how things are expressed.
    – WS2
    Dec 21, 2015 at 11:27

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