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A RELIEF DOES NOT STAND IN ISOLATION TO AVERMENTS IN THE PLEADINGS

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I find this contention as highly misconceived and this is because a relief does not in law stand in isolation from the averments of the party seeking the reliefs and in my view relief no. 6 is rather clearly in tandem with the averment in paragraph 39 of the 1st – 4th Respondent Statement of Claim to the effect that the transaction between the 2nd-4th Respondents and the 1st Respondent in respect of their shares in the 5th Respondent was one of consolidation of their shares for effective management by the 1st Respondent.

— B.A. Georgewill JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Ors. (CA/L/427/2016, 9 Mar 2018)

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DECLARATORY RELIEF CANNOT BE GRANTED WITHOUT EVIDENCE

A declaratory relief implies a declaration by the Court of the action, cause or right of the parties before the Court. It is the law that declaratory reliefs are not granted as a matter of course and on a platter of gold. They are only granted when credible evidence has been led by a person seeking the declaratory relief. See Anyanru v. Mandilas Ltd (2007) 4 SCNJ and Chukwumah v. S.P.D.C (Nigeria) Ltd., (1993) LPELR – 864 SC. It invariably therefore means that a declaratory relief cannot be granted in the absence of any evidence or where the evidence led is unsatisfactory. A declaratory relief such as what was sought by the plaintiff is discretionary. If a substantial question exists to which one person has a real interest to raise, and the other to oppose, then the Court has a discretion to resolve it by a declaration which it will exercise if there is a good reason for so doing. It is the form of judgment which should be granted only when the Court is of the opinion that the party seeking it is, when all facts are taken into consideration, fully entitled to the exercise of the Court’s discretion. The power of the Court to make a declaration where it is a question of defining rights of two parties is only limited by its own discretion. The discretion should of course be exercised judicially, but it seems to me that the discretion is very wide. See Ibeneweka v. Egbuna and Ors., (1964) 1 WLR 210.

— S.J. Adah, JCA. Luck Guard v. Adariku (2022) – CA/A/1061/2020

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COURT SHOULD NOT AWARD RELIEFS NOT CLAIMED BY PARTIES

DUMEZ (NIG) LTD VS NWAKAOBA & ORS. (2009) 12 S.C.M. (PT 2) 504 at 517 – 518 where the Supreme Court held that:- “It is both fundamental and elementary principle in the determination of actions before a court or tribunal, that the adjudicating body is bound to limit itself to the claims before it. A court may indeed make incidental orders which flow naturally from the relief claimed. However a court has no power and is not under any circumstances entitled to award a relief not claimed by the party in the writ of summons and the statement of claim.”

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DECLARATORY RELIEF IS AN EQUITABLE RELIEF

Declaratory relief is an equitable relief and whenever a court is asked to grant declaratory relief, the court is bound to apply equity in granting the same.

– Musdapher, JSC. Atta v. Ezeanah (2000)

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DECLARATORY RELIEFS MUST BE PROVED

It must be emphasized that declaratory reliefs are not given just for the asking. A party seeking declaratory relief must satisfy the court by cogent and proven evidence that he is entitled to such declaration. It cannot be proved half way. Where parties, as in this case, are in agreement that the land in dispute is a family land or originally founded by a family, any party who claims exclusive ownership of the land or part thereof must fail unless he is able to plead and prove by evidence how that exclusive ownership or title devolves on him.

– Denton West JCA. Salaja v. Salaja (2013)

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IT IS THE PLAINTIFF THAT DICTATES TO THE COURT WHAT RELIEF HE WANTS, AND THE COURT DETERMINES

I have always believed that it is the prerogative of a Plaintiff to dictate the reliefs he or she is seeking from the Court. It is the Court that also has the power to award to a Plaintiff what he believed is justifiable based on the evidence before it and the law. Why I am saying this is based on the submission of the learned counsel representing the Appellant where in he seriously argued that the claim of the Respondent should come under special damages. This I believe does not lie in his mouth. The Court and the Court alone has the vires to determine what a litigant is entitle to. All the litigant need do is to ask. In this case the Respondent asked for general damages and adduced evidence on the pleaded facts in that direction. The Court in his wisdom awarded the relief sought.

— M.N. Oniyangi JCA. Presentation National High School & Ors. v. Ogbebor (CA/B/105/2012, 17 MAY 2018)

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