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DOCUMENTS INADMISSIBLE WHERE MAKER IS INTERESTED PARTY AND MADE DURING LIS PENDENS

Dictum

By Section 83(3) of the Evidence Act 2011, documents are inadmissible in Court where the maker is an interested person and had made the documents when the proceedings are pending or anticipated.

– Yahaya, JCA. Petroleum Resources v. SPDC (2021)

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REPORTS BY INTERESTED PERSONS ARE INADMISSIBLE

It is therefore evident from the above that PW4, PW7 and PW8 are persons interested in the outcome of this proceedings. The reports produced by PW4 and PW8 qualify as statements made by persons interested in anticipation or during the pendency of this Petition. As for PW7 she is admittedly an interested party having been a member of and even contested election under the umbrella of the 2nd Petitioner. Her interest is further underscored by the fact that she admitted under cross examination that she was attending court throughout the proceedings prior to her evidence. By virtue of Section 83(3) of the Evidence Act, 2011, the reports tendered by those witnesses which form part of their evidence are inadmissible.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. Peter Obi & Anor. v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/03/2023

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RELEVANCY GOVERNS ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE

When it is a question of admission of evidence, strictly, it is not whether the method by which it is obtained is tortious but excusable, but whether what has been obtained is relevant to the issue being tried. See Kuruma v. R. (1955) AC 197.

— Ogwuegbu JSC. Oshunrinde v Akande (1996) – SC.110/1990

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UNREGISTERED INSTRUMENT ADMISSIBLE TO PROVE RECEIPT OF MONEY

The law is well settled that an unregistered document which falls within the provisions of section 2 of the Land Registration Law of Kaduna State or under the corresponding provisions of the Land Instrument Registration Act can be admitted in evidence as a receipt of money transaction and memorandum of sale only. It cannot certainly be used to prove title. It may give rise to an equitable interest enforceable by specific performance.

– Sanusi JCA. Enejo v. Nasir (2006)

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ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE GIVEN IN PREVIOUS JUDICIAL PROCEEDING

The intent and purpose of Section 34 of the Evidence Act is clear. Simply put, it pertains to the admissibility in the present proceeding, of evidence given by a witness in a previous proceeding. Such previous evidence though hearsay, is admissible in the present proceeding under Section 34, which provide an exception to hearsay rule once the requisite conditions are fulfilled. See IKENYE VS OFUNE (1985) 2 NWLR (PT 5) 1. For the purpose of clarity, I herein below reproduce the provisions of Section 34 (1) of the Evidence Act:- 34(1) “Evidence given by a witness in a judicial proceeding, or before any person authorized by law to take it, is relevant for the purpose of proving, in a subsequent judicial proceeding, or in a later stage of the same judicial proceeding, the truth of the facts which it states, when the witness is dead or cannot be found, or is incapable of giving evidence or is kept out of the way by the adverse Party, or when his presence cannot be obtained without an amount of delay or expense which, in the circumstances of the case, the court considers unreasonable: Provided:- (a) that the proceeding was between the same parties or their representatives in interest; (b) that the adverse party in the first proceeding had the right and opportunity to cross examine; and (c) that the questions in issue were substantially the same in the first as in the second proceeding.” I do not need to say much again. The above provision is very clear and succinct to the effect that it relates to the admissibility of evidence given in a previous judicial proceeding in a subsequent judicial proceeding or in a later stage of the same proceeding.

— S.C. Oseji, JCA. ACB v Ajugwo (2011) – CA/E/66/2006

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RELEVANCY, ADMISSIBILITY, AND WEIGHT ARE IN SEPARATE DEPARTMENT IN THE LAW OF EVIDENCE

In the Law of Evidence, Relevancy, Admissibility of evidence, and weight to be attached to evidence, all these are each in a separate department. What value or weight to be attached to a piece of evidence, once it is admitted as evidence, is for the Jury, the judges of facts. And here in Nigeria, the trial judges sit in a dual capacity, qua Judges of law in matters of law and qua jury in matters of fact In my view, with due respect to the counsel, his criticism of the Tribunal is unwarrantable and so unjustified. It was for the Tribunal to accept or not to accept the evidence by the p.w.5. It was for it as well to ascribe weight or no weight to the exhibits. To be in the best position to reach a conclusion on the testimony of the p.w. 5 and the value to attach to the exhibits it adopted, in my view, the proper and right approach to reach its conclusion.

— Nsofor, JCA. Ugo v Indiamaowei (1999) – CA/PH/EP/97/99

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PARTY CANNOT BE GRANTED WHAT HE DID NOT CLAIM

In this regard, the law is long and well settled that where a plaintiff claims, say, a declaration of title to land or whatever, and his claim is dismissed, it will be wrong to grant the declaration to the defendant if he did not ask for it by way of counter-claim. See: Ntiaro v. Akpam 3 N.L.R. 10; Abisi v. Ekwealor (1993) 6 NWLR (Pt. 302) 643 etc. As has been pointed out repeatedly by this and other courts, courts of law are no father Christmas and they must not grant to a party a relief which he has not sought or claimed or which is more than he has claimed. see: Ekpenyong v. Nyong (1975) 2 S.C. 71 at 81-82.

– Iguh JSC. Awoniyi v. AMORC (2000)

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