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A RESPONDENT CANNOT FRAME ISSUE OUTSIDE THE APPELLANT’S GROUNDS, EXCEPT CROSS-APPEAL

Dictum

My close study of 1st respondent’s brief shows that it is only the first issue that is covered by ground three of the appellant’s notice of appeal. Hence the second and third issues formulated by the 1st respondent do not arise from any of the grounds of appeal. A respondent who does not cross-appeal or file a respondent’s notice cannot frame issue outside the grounds of appeal filed by the appellant. Indeed, none of the last two issues for determination as formulated by the 1st respondent has any relevance to the grounds of appeal. In Atanda v. Ajani (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt. 111) 511 at 543-544 the Supreme Court per Nnaemeka –Agu, JSC held: “This court has stated a number of times that a respondent’s primary duty is to support the judgment appealed against by showing that the contentions of the appellant as to the grounds of errors are without merit. Also, as they have not cross-appealed, they cannot formulate issues as it were, in nubibus – hanging in the skies. They can only either adopt the issue as formulated by the appellants based on the grounds of appeal before court or, at best, recast them by giving them a slant favourable to the respondent’s point of view, but without departing from the complaint’s raised by the grounds of appeal.” See also Idika v. Erisi (1988) 2 NWLR (Pt. 78) 563, 579, 580.

— S. Galadima, JCA. Jadesimi & Anor. v. Egbe (2003)

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COURT DOES NOT DETERMINE ISSUES THAT ARE INCOMPETENT

The law is that once a preliminary objection succeeds in respect of some issues for determination in an appeal, there will be no need to go further to consider the arguments proffered on those issues formulated for determination which have been found to be infirmed and incompetent. See: Mosoba v. Abubakar (2005) 6 NWLR (Pt. 922) 460; NEPA v. Ango (2001) 15 NWLR (pt. 737) 627 at 645-6 46; Ralph Uwazurike and Ors v. Attorney General of the Federation (2007) 2 SCNJ 369 at p.380; B.A.S.F. Nig. Ltd v. Faith Enterprises Ltd (2010) 1 SCNJ 223 at P.249.

— T.S. YAKUBU, JCA. Fayose v ICN (2012) – CA/AE/58/2010

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DUTY OF AN APPELLATE COURT TO EITHER ADOPT, REFRAME OR FORMULATE NEW ISSUES IN THE DETERMINATION OF AN APPEAL

“In Considering the issues for determination in an appeal formulated in the briefs of argument of the parties, an appellate court can, either adopt or reframe or even formulate new issues, in the determination of the appeal. This is the law as enunciated in the case of FRN V. Ogbegolu (2006) 18 NWLR (PT. 1010) P. 188 @ 225 where it was held that, after examining the issues for determination, it is the duty of an appellate court to either adopt those in the briefs of argument or formulate new ones which he believes would determined the real complaint or grievances of the appellant. See also Adaku Vs Ajeh (1994) 5 NWLR (PT. 346) P. 582 and Ikegwuha V. Ohawuchin (1996) 3 NWLR (PT. 435) P. 146.”

— I.S. Bdliya, JCA. Umar Ibrahim v Nasiru Danladi Mu’azu & 2 Ors. (2022) – CA/G/317/2019

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ESSENCE OF FORMULATION OF ISSUES – APPEAL SHOULD BE ARGUED ON ISSUES

Before considering the arguments of counsel in this appeal, I consider it a matter of cardinal importance to remind counsel of the often made errors in their argument of returning to the grounds of appeal filed after formulating issues for determination based on the grounds of appeal. All arguments in the appeal after formulation of issues should be based on the issues for determination as formulated. See Adelaja v Fanoiki (1990) 2 NWLR (Part 131) 137. Stricto sensu, no reference thereafter ought to be made to the grounds of appeal filed. The essence of the formulation of issues is to narrow the relevant issues in dispute within those so formulated Attorney-General Bendel State v Aidegun (1989) 4 NWLR (Part 118) 646. Hence as the issues arise from the grounds and may and usually encompass a number of grounds of appeal, it is sufficient to argue the appeal on the issues for determination formulated. See Ogbunyinya v Okudo (No.2)(1990) 4 NWLR (Part 146) 551 SC. The approach adopted by counsel in this appeal by arguing the appeal on the grounds rather than on the issues formulated, suggests that sufficient attention was not paid to the formulation of the issues for determination. Vide Egbe v Alhaji (1990) 1 NWLR (Part 128) 546. –

Karibe-Whyte JSC. Agbai v. Okogbue (1991) – SC 104/1989

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AN APPEAL COURT CAN FORMULATE AN ISSUE – RELATEABLE TO THE GROUND OF APPEAL

From the furore of the complaints of the appellant which seem more academic than based on legal principles, it needs be restated that the Court of Appeal has a wide unfettered discretionary power to formulate its own issues in the interest of Justice, provided they relate to the grounds of appeal and flow therefrom. Stated in other words, an Appeal Court can formulate its own issues where in its opinion, the issues formulated by the parties would not justify or equitably dispose off the appeal before it. Further still, an Appeal Court can also with in the same manner, prefer or adopt the issue or issues formulated by any of the parties to an appeal where same would enable it do justice to the appeal.

– M. Peter-Odili, JSC. Makanjuola v. State (2021)

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REASON FOR THE FORMULATION OF ISSUE IN AN APPEAL

It cannot be over-empahsised that the object of the formulation of issues for determination in an appeal is to enable the parties narrow the issues arising from the grounds of appeal filed in the interest of clarity, brevity and accuracy, thus enabling the court to consider together a number of associated and related grounds of appeal within the issue to which they are related in the determination of the appeal.

– Iguh, JSC. Clay v. Aina (1997)

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