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APPELLANTS’ ISSUE WILL BE ADOPTED

Dictum

It is observed that the issues raised by each party reproduced supra are similar save for difference in couching language style. I will therefore adopt the Appellant’s issues as my guide in the determination of this appeal for the simple reason that he is the owner of the appeal.

— B.B. Aliyu, JCA. Oboh v. Oboh (2021) – CA/B/372/12

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APPEAL COURT MUST DECIDE ALL RELEVANT ISSUES WITHIN THE RECORD

It is good law that an appellate court must examine and decide on all relevant issues in the appeal. That is what the Court of Appeal did and I cannot fault the court. This court cannot gag the Court of Appeal in the re-evaluation of evidence, as long as the court does that within the precinct or purview of the Record, and that is exactly what the court did; and so, a full stop.

— Niki Tobi JSC. Tijani Dada v Jacob Bankole (2008) – S.C. 40/2003

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WHAT AMOUNTS TO PROLIFERATION OF ISSUES IN AN APPEAL

Now, what would in law amount to proliferation of issues in an appeal is no longer a vexed issue as it has been pronounced upon severally by the appellate Courts, including the apex Court. While it is true that an issue for determination must flow from the ground(s) of appeal and that this Court has the power to formulate issues for determination in appropriate and deserving circumstances or to re-formulate or modify the issues formulated by the parties, it is well settled law that an Appellant, as well as a Respondent, is not permitted or allowed to raise issues in excess of the grounds of appeal and that where the number of issues formulated are more than the number of the grounds of appeal it amounts to nothing but a proliferation of issues, which in law is not acceptable. See Dr. Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo & Ors. v. Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua & Ors. (2010) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1209) 518. See also Unilorin v. Oluwadare (2003) 3 NWLR (Pt. 808) 557;Padawa v. Jatau (2003) 5 NWLR (Pt. 813) 243; Sogbesan v. Ogunbiyi (2006) 4 NWLR (Pt. 969) 19; Agu v. Ikewibe (1991) 3 NWLR (Pt. 130) 385;Adelusola & Ors v. Akinde & Ors (2004) 12 NWLR (Pt. 887) 295.

— B.A. Georgewill, JCA. University of Lagos v. Mbaso (2018) – CA/L/775/2016

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PROPER APPROACH TO ISSUES OF FACT

In Adeyeye v. Ajiboye (1987) 3 N.W.L.R. (Pt.61) 432 at p.451, I referred to what I thought was the proper approach to the issues of fact and findings of fact by trial Courts viz: “The proper approach for any trial court is first set out the claim or claims; then the pleadings, then the Issues arising from those pleadings. Having decided on the issues in dispute the trial Judge will then consider the evidence in proof of each issue, then decide on which side to believe and this has got to be a belief based on the preponderance of credible evidence and the probabilities of the case. After this the trial Judge will then record his logical and consequential findings of fact. It is after such a finding that the trial court can then discuss the applicable law against the background of his findings of fact.”

— Oputa JSC. Onwuka & Ors. V. Ediala & Anor. (SC.18/1987, 20 January 1989)

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ISSUE MUST ARISE FROM A GROUND OF APPEAL

I scarcely need to repeat that every issue in an appeal must arise from one or more grounds of appeal. It is usual for one, two or more grounds of appeal to constitute an issue, not the other way round. The reverse could not have arisen if counsel had done well to remember what an issue in an appeal really is.

– Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Petroleum v. Owodunni (1991)

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TRIAL COURT HAS A DUTY TO DECIDE ALL ISSUES ARISING

Adjudication in our courts is our human attempt, (however imperfect), circumscribed as it is by our human limitations, to do justice between the parties before the court. It is of the essence of justice and fairness that cases are decided on their merits. This imposes a duty on the trial judge to consider all the issues arising between the parties before deciding for or against any such party. When a trial court fails in this duty he has merely decided half the case and not the whole case.

– Oputa JSC. OLUFOSOYE v. OLORUNFEMI (1989)

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

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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