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IT IS THE PLAINTIFF THAT DICTATES TO THE COURT WHAT RELIEF HE WANTS, AND THE COURT DETERMINES

Dictum

I have always believed that it is the prerogative of a Plaintiff to dictate the reliefs he or she is seeking from the Court. It is the Court that also has the power to award to a Plaintiff what he believed is justifiable based on the evidence before it and the law. Why I am saying this is based on the submission of the learned counsel representing the Appellant where in he seriously argued that the claim of the Respondent should come under special damages. This I believe does not lie in his mouth. The Court and the Court alone has the vires to determine what a litigant is entitle to. All the litigant need do is to ask. In this case the Respondent asked for general damages and adduced evidence on the pleaded facts in that direction. The Court in his wisdom awarded the relief sought.

— M.N. Oniyangi JCA. Presentation National High School & Ors. v. Ogbebor (CA/B/105/2012, 17 MAY 2018)

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PRAYERS NOT OPPOSED IN A MOTION WILL MOVE IN SMOOTHLY

Let me say in this ruling that it is only necessary to consider the facts A deposed to by parties in their affidavit evidence and counsel’s argument with respect to only prayer 7 as respondent’s counsel is not opposing prayers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8. Appellant/applicant’s counsel had also indicated that he was not pursuing prayers 5, 9 and 10.

— Oguntade, JSC. UBA v BTL (SC. 301/2003, 15 April 2005)

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A COURT SHOULD NOT GRANT TO A PARTY RELIEF NOT ASKED FOR

He could not, rightly have raised it himself in his judgment and without hearing the parties proceeded to strike out the case on that ground. It is of material significance that counsel for the defence never asked for such a remedy. I cannot over-emphasize the fact that on no account should a court give to a party a remedy he has not asked for. If it does so, it cannot escape the accusation of playing “father Christmas” to one party visa-vis the other. See: Nigerian Housing Development Society Ltd. v. Mumuni (1977) 2 S.C. 57, at p. 81; Ekpenyong & Ors. v. Nyong & Ors. (1975) 2 S.C. 71, at p. 80.

— Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Ugo v Obiekwe (1989) – SC.207/1985

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THE COURT MAY MAKE CONSEQUENTIAL RELIEF WHETHER SOUGHT OR NOT

It is still trite that ‘no action or other proceedings shall be open to objection on the ground that a merely declaratory judgment or order is sought thereby, and the court may make binding declarations of right whether or not any consequential relief is or could be claimed.’ Order 15 R. 16 (English Rules of the Supreme Court, 1979). See- GUARANTY TRUST CO. OF NEW YORK v. HANNAY (1915) 2 KB. 536.

– A.G. Irikefe JSC. AG Kaduna State v. Hassan (1985) – SC.149/1984

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DECLARATIVE RELIEFS MUST BE PROVED; EVEN ADMISSION CANNOT MAKE IT SUCCEED

It will be recalled that the 1st and 2nd respondents sought declaratory reliefs before the tribunal. The law is that where a party seeks declaratory reliefs, the burden is on him to succeed on the strength of his own case and not on the weakness of the defence (if any). Such reliefs will not be granted, even on admission. See Emenike v. PDP (2012) All FWLR (Pt. 640) 1261, (2012) LPELR – SC 443/2011 at 27- G;Dumez Ltd v. Nwakhoba (2008) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1119) 361 at 373 – 374, (2009) All FWLR (Pt. 461) 842; Ucha v. Elechi (2012) 13 NWLR (Pt. 1317) 230. The 1st and 2nd respondents herein failed to establish the allegation of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act in the manner enjoined by this court in Ucha v. Elechi , polling unit by polling unit. Voters registers were tendered in respect of only 11 out of 23 Local Government Areas and were not demonstrated before the tribunal.

— Kekere-Ekun, JSC. Nyesom v. Peterside (SC.1002/2015 (REASONS), 12 Feb 2016)

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COURT SHOULD NOT AWARD RELIEFS NOT CLAIMED BY PARTIES

DUMEZ (NIG) LTD VS NWAKAOBA & ORS. (2009) 12 S.C.M. (PT 2) 504 at 517 – 518 where the Supreme Court held that:- “It is both fundamental and elementary principle in the determination of actions before a court or tribunal, that the adjudicating body is bound to limit itself to the claims before it. A court may indeed make incidental orders which flow naturally from the relief claimed. However a court has no power and is not under any circumstances entitled to award a relief not claimed by the party in the writ of summons and the statement of claim.”

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