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FACTS SHOULD NOT BE IMPORTED TO A DOCUMENT

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In the construction of the contents of a document a court is bound to look at the words used therein and not import facts not stated in the document except where reference is made to another document. – Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009)

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HOW CONTENTS OF A DOCUMENT MAY BE PROVED

Goodwill & Trust Investment Ltd & Anor. vs. Witt & Bush Ltd (2011) 8 NWLR Part 1250 page 500 at 533, where Onnoghen, J.S.C. at page 533 stated thus: “it is settled law that contents of a document can be proved in a proceeding by tendering the original documents or where the original is unavailable by a certified true copy of the said original as secondary evidence of the contents of the said original.”

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WEIGHT CANNOT BE PLACED ON A DOCUMENT TENDERED BY A PERSON WHO IS NOT IN A POSITION TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ON THE DOCUMENT

Weight can hardly be attached to a document tendered in evidence by a witness who cannot be in a position to answer questions on the document. One such person the law identifies is the one who did not make the document. Such a person is adjudged in the eyes of the law as ignorant of the contents of the document. Although section 91(2) allows him to tender the document, the subsection does not deal with the issue of weight, which is dealt with in section 92. Weight in section 92 means weight of evidence, which is the balance or preponderance of evidence; the inclination of the greater amount of credible evidence offered in a trial to support one side of the issue rather than the other. (See Black’s Law Dictionary (6ed) page 1594). In view of the fact that cross-examination plays a vital role in the determination of the weight to be attached to a document under section 92, and a person who did not make the document is not in a position to answer questions on it. I see the point made by the Court of Appeal.

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

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THE MERE REGISTRATION OF A DOCUMENT DOES NOT IPSO FACTO GIVES POWER TO IT

Thus, mere possession of a Power of Attorney does not tantamount to valid title to the land. I am not discounting the fact that the said Exhibit P1 was registered as No. 3 on Page 3 in Volume 221 of the Lands Registry in Awka. However, the registration of a document does not confer any legitimacy or validity to it if it had no power to convey anything ab initio. See Akpene v. Barclays Bank (1977) NSCC (Vol. II) 29 at 36; Rockonoh Property v. Nitel (2001) 7 SCNJ 225 at 248-250.

— H.M. Ogunwumiju JCA. Osakwe V. Nwokedi & Anor. (CA/E/168/2014, 13 July 2018)

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THERE NEED NOT BE REFERENCE TO OTHER DOCUMENT TO CONSTITUTE A SUFFICIENT MEMORANDUM

Timmins v. Moreland Street Property Co. Ltd. (1958) Ch. 110 which shows the relaxation of the earlier rules and that there need not be a specific or express reference from one document to the other document in order to constitute a memorandum required under the Statute of Frauds as is sufficient if by necessary implication there should be reference from one to the other. Jenkins L.J., (as he then was), said at page 130: “The rule has no doubt been considerably relaxed since Peirce v. Corf LR. 9 QB. 210 was decided in 1874, but I think it is still indispensably necessary, in order to justify the reading of documents together for this purpose, that there should be a document signed by the party to be charged, which, while not containing in itself all the necessary ingredients of the required memorandum, does contain some reference, express or implied, to some other document or transaction. Where any such reference can be spelt out of a document so signed, then parol evidence may be given to identify the other document referred to, or, as the case may be, to explain the other transaction, and to identify any document relating to it. If by this process a document is brought to light which contains in writing all the terms of the bargain so far as not contained in the document signed by the party to be charged, then the two documents can be read together so as to constitute a sufficient memorandum for the purpose of Section 40.”

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PURPOSE OF A SIGNATURE ON A DOCUMENT

It is pertinent to note that a signature on a document identifies the document as an act of a particular person and without a signature, the document cannot pass as the act of such unnamed person, and it is therefore totally useless. See N.N.P.C. V. ROVEN SHIPING LTD (2019) 9 NWLR (prt.1676) 67 at 83 and TSALIBAWA V. HABIBA (1991)2 NWLR (prt 174) 461.

— M.L. Shuaibu, JCA. FBN v Benlion (2021) – CA/C/31/2016

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DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE WEIGHS ORAL TESTIMONY

The Documentary evidence lends weight to oral testimony. It serves as an action from which oral testimony is weighed for good measure. – Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009)

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