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APPRAISAL OF FACT

Dictum

It is settled law that the appraisal of facts is the duty of the trial Judge and the Appellant court will only intervene when the finding is perverse or wrongly made. – Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009)

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WHERE LOWER COURT FINDINGS WILL BE SET ASIDE

Although appellate courts are very slow and reluctant in interfering with the findings of fact by the trial lower courts, nevertheless where such findings are not borne out by conclusive or positive evidence, or where the lower court did not properly evaluate the evidence before making the findings or where the lower court failed to apply the law properly to the facts proved, the appellate courts are under a duty to interfere with such findings. To neglect to do so will certainly occasion a miscarriage of justice sufficient to warrant a superior appellate court to interfere with the trial court’s findings.

– Mahmud JSC. Ogiorio v. Igbinovia (1998)

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MEANING OF A PERVERSE FINDING

A perverse finding is a wrong, unreasonable or unacceptable finding, having due regard to the evidence before the court. A perverse finding is one not supported by the evidence before the court. It is a finding raised on a wrong assessment of the evidence before the court. A finding of fact based on exaggerated or bloated evidence on the part of the trial court could be perverse. So too finding of fact borne out from addition or subtraction from the evidence before the court.

— Niki Tobi, JSC. Buhari v. INEC (2008) – SC 51/2008

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NATIVE CUSTOM IS A QUESTION OF FACT

Native law and custom being a question of fact in an action in the High Court, it is true that the findings in these cases are not binding as precedents, and it is also true, as has been pointed out by Mr Oseni on behalf of the respondents, that however learned and experienced the Judges whose judgments are relied on may have been, they could only act on the evidence which the parties in the cases concerned chose to call before them.

Odunsi Lasisi Ajibola v. Aminu Akindele Ajani Ojora (1961)

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EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE; INTERFERENCE BY APPELLATE COURT

It has long been established that the function of the evaluation of evidence is essentially that of the trial Court, Igago v State (1999) LPELR – 1442 (SC) 27; Onuoha V. The State [1998] 5 NWLR (pt. 548) 118. Where the trial Court has unquestionably, evaluated evidence and, justifiably, appraised the facts, it is not the business of an appellate Court to interfere, and to substitute its own views for the view of the trial Court. – Nweze JSC. Abdullahi v. Adetutu (2019)

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APPELLATE COURT WILL NOT UPSET FINDING OF FACT MADE BY TRIAL COURT UNLESS

The law remains that an Appellate Court is reluctant to upset a finding of fact made by a trial court which had the opportunity of listening to witnesses testify and observing their demeanour and that evaluation of evidence and the ascription of probative value thereto are the primary functions of a trial court which saw, heard and assessed the witnesses. Where a trial court clearly evaluated the evidence of the parties and justifiably appraised the facts, it is not the business of an Appellate Court to substitute its own views of the facts for those of the trial court. It is only where the trial court is proved to have abdicated this function or in carrying out the function makes an unsound finding that an Appellate Court can justifiably step in to do so or set aside such unsound finding for being perverse. (See Oduwole v Aina (2001) 17 NWLR (Part 741) 1 at 47 and Udengwu v Uzuegbu (2003) 13 NWLR (Part 836) 36 at 156).

— Onnoghen JSC. Ndukwe v LPDC [2007] – SC 48/2003

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APPELLATE COURT WILL NOT INTERFERE IN FINDING OF FACT

In concluding this Issue, it is now firmly established, that where the question involved are purely those of fact, an Appellate Court, will not interfere, unless the decision of the trial Judge, is shown to be perverse and not the result of a proper exercise of judicial discretion (to believe or disbelieve witnesses) or that there is no evidence at all to support a particular crucial finding or that the trial court made wrong deductions or drew wrong inferences from admitted or established facts. See Ubani & 2 ore, v. The State (2003) 12 SCNJ 111 @ 727-728.

— Ogbuagu, JSC. Moses v State [2006] – S.C.308/2002

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