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AVERMENTS IN PLEADINGS WITHOUT EVIDENCE TO SUBSTANTIATE ARE USELESS

Dictum

Mere averments in pleadings, no matter how impressive they may be are useless if no evidence is led to prove them. Such averments in the pleadings unless, they are admitted, are regarded as mere suggestions of counsel and if they are not proved by evidence of witnesses are deemed to have been abandoned. [Adegbite v. Ogunfaolu (1990) 4 NW1,11 (Pt.146) 578; Balogun v. Amubikanhun (1985) 3 NWLR(Pt.11)27; Obmiami BrickAND Stone (Nig.) Ltd. v. A.C.B. Ltd. (1992) 3 NWLR (Pt.229) 260;Ayeniv. Sowemimo (1982) 5 SC 60; Idesoh v. Ordia (1997) 3 NWLR (Pt.491) 17 referred to].

— Adeyemo v. Ida & Ors. (1998) – CA/1/6/92

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THE STAGE PLEADINGS ARE SETTLED

The respondent, as plaintiff produced exhibits M, M1 photograph and negative to support averment in her pleadings that she is the daughter of L.O. Ukeje (deceased). The defendant/appellant denied the averment in the plaintiff’s pleadings. At that stage pleadings are settled. At trial, if the defendant seeks to disprove the plaintiffs documentary evidence (i.e. exhibits M, M1) which was used to support her claim to being the daughter of the deceased, the defendant is not bound to plead that the plaintiff’s documentary evidence is false, fraudulent or forged. The defendant is to cross-examine him and lead evidence to show beyond reasonable doubt that exhibit M, M1 are forgeries. This the defendants appellants were unable to do.

– Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Ukeje v. Ukeje (2014)

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FOREIGN LAW IS A QUESTION OF FACT TO BE PLEADED

In the case of PEENOK INVESTMENTS LTD. v. HOTEL PRESIDENTIAL (1982) 12 SC (REPRINT) the Supreme Court per A.G. IRIKEFE JSC stated that as a general proposition of law, foreign law is a question of fact which should be pleaded and proved in a trial Court.

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PLEADING IS NO EVIDENCE

Pleading, of course, is no evidence and a case is decided on the admissible evidence adduced before the court-see: Dumbo V Idugboe (1983) 1 SCNLR 29; (1983) 14 NSCC 22. A.S.H.D.C. v Emekwue (1996) – SC. 282/1989

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FOUR REASONS WHY AMENDMENT OF PLEADINGS MAY ARISE

Amendments arise because of a number of reasons. I can identify four main reasons here. First, at the time of filing the pleadings, the factual situation sought to be amended was not available or if available was not within the reasonable anticipation of the party and his counsel, employing all diligence and intellectual resources at their command. Second, although the factual situation sought to be amended existed at the time the pleadings were filed, human idiosyncrasies, human lapses and human frailties resulted in its non-inclusion. This could either be the fault of the party or counsel or both. . Third, when there is a Reply to either the Statement of Claim or the Statement of Defence. Four, when the court suo motu raises a factual situation. Since this last reason is not consistent with our adversary system, a trial Judge should only resort to it when it is absolutely necessary so to do and in the overall interest of the parties. He cannot do so willy nilly and by his whims.

— Tobi, JCA. Abraham v Olorunfunmi (1990) – CA/L/83/89

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PARTY WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO LEAD EVIDENCE ON MATTER NOT PLEADED

The elementary rule of pleading is that a party shall plead facts which he propose to rely upon in order to establish his own case. It is now trite law that a party will not be allowed to lead evidence in respect of facts not pleaded; or to lead evidence contrary to his pleading. The sole purpose of pleading is to ensure that the parties to the case know the case they will meet at the trial, to obviate element of surprise. Pleading saves time and brings out clearly the issues in the case.

— Olatawura JSC. African Continental Bank Ltd. v. Alhaji Umaru Gwagwada (SC.26/1990, 29 APR 1994)

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APPLICATION TO DISMISS AN ACTION WILL BE DETERMINED ON STATEMENT OF CLAIM ONLY

It is settled principle of law that when a Defendant files an application (such as the one that has given rise to this appeal) to strike out or dismiss an action on the ground that it disclosed no reasonable cause of action, he is, for the purpose of the application, taken to have admitted the facts alleged in the Statement of Claim. And in the determination of the application, the Court is bound to restrict itself to the Statement of Claim and to proceed on the assumption that the facts therein have been although the facts in the Statement of Claim are admitted, the Plaintiff has not, on the face of such facts, made out a case to warrant a trial or that he has, in law, a complete answer to the Plaintiffs case. See F.C.D.A. v NAIBI (1990) 3 N.W.L.R. (Part 138) 270 at 281; IMANA v ROBINSON (1979) 3-4 SC 1 at 9-10; U.D.C. v LADIPO (1971) 1 ALL N.L.R. 102; FADARE v A.G. OYO STATE (1982) 4 SC 1; TANDON v CFAO of ACCRA 10 WACA 186; AKANBI v ALAO (1989) 3 N.W.L.R. (Part 108) 118 at 140 and 153; EGBE v ADEFARASIN (1985) 1NWLR (Part 3) 549 at 556.

— F.F. Tabai JSC. Stephens Eng. Ltd. v. S.A. Yakubu (2009) – SC.153/2002

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