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NEW FACTS CANNOT BE INTRODUCED VIA A PETITIONER’S REPLY

Dictum

It is therefore clear that paragraph 16(1) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act does not permit a Petitioner in his Reply to introduce or bring in any new issue or fact which ought to have been raised in the petition itself. In other words, a Petitioner cannot in the guise of a Reply to a Respondent’s Reply, introduce a new issue of fact which was never raised in his Petition nor raised by the Respondent. To do that will amount to amending or adding to the petition, and also taking the Respondent by surprise because at that stage, the Respondent will not be in a position to react to such new issue or fact. It will therefore breach the Respondents fundamental right to fair hearing. Therefore, the Petitioner is not permitted to repair or rehash his averments in the Petition in such a way that it will amount to an amendment or reconstruction of the petition. See Dingyadi v. Wamako (2008) 17 NWLR (pt. 116) 395.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. APM v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/04/2023

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REPLY BRIEF IS FOR ANSWERING NEW POINTS RAISED

In Longe v. First Bank of Nig. PLC. 2010 2-3 SC p.61, It was held inter alia that: “… A Reply Brief is necessary and usually filed when an issue of Law or argument raised in the Respondents Brief calls for a Reply. Where a Reply Brief is necessary, it should be limited to answering new points arising from the Respondent’s Brief. Although, an Appellant’s Reply Brief is not mandatory, where a Respondent’s Brief raises issues or points of law not covered in the Appellant’s Brief, an Appellant ought to file a Reply Brief. It is not proper to use a Reply Brief to extend the scope of the Appellant’s Brief or raise issues not dealt with in the Respondent’s Brief.”

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PURPOSE OF FILING A REPLY BRIEF IS TO RESPOND TO NEW POINTS RAISED BY RESPONDENTS BRIEF

At the hearing of this appeal on 19 October 2015, the learned senior counsel to the 1st and 2nd respondents urged us to discountenance it as it was in contrast with what a reply brief is supposed to contain and he therefore A urged us to discountenance it. In his response, the learned senior counsel for the appellant felt otherwise and had explained that his reply brief is competent and should not be discountenanced. I have closely studied the appellant’s reply brief. I share the view of the learned silk for the 1st and 2nd respondents that large portion of the appellant’s reply brief contains repetition of submissions and arguments earlier advanced by the appellant in his main brief. The learned silk for the appellant merely succeeded in amplifying or fine-tuning them. It therefore does not qualify as what a reply brief should contain. It is trite law that the purpose of filing a reply brief to a respondent’s brief by an appellant is simply to reply to new points which were raised or canvassed in the respondent’s brief of argument. It is therefore not meant to be used to put right or fill any lacunae or error in the appellant’s brief or to fine-tune, repeat or amplify arguments proffered by the respondent in the respondent’s brief of argument. The instant appellant’s reply brief is therefore unnecessary, since it is largely a repetition of the arguments or submissions earlier made or provided in the appellant’s main brief of argument. I therefore for that reason, hereby discountenance the repetitive portions of the appellant’s reply brief and shall refuse to consider them. See Popoola v. Adeyemo (1992) 8 NWLR (Pt. 257) 1; Shuaibu v. Maihodu (1993) 3 NWLR (Pt. 284) 784; Chukwuogor v. Attorney-General of Cross Rivers State (1998) 1 NWLR (Pt. 534) 375; Ojiogu v. Ojiogu and Anor. (2010) All FWLR (Pt. 538) 840, (2010) 1 SC 13.

— Sanusi, JSC. Wike Nyesom v. Peterside, APC, INEC, PDP (SC. 718/2015, 27 Oct 2015)

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REPLY BRIEF IS NOT FOR CORRECTING ERRORS IN MAIN BRIEF

In Nyesom v. Peterside & Ors. (2015) 11 – 12 SCM, 139, (2016) 1 NWLR (Pt. 1492) 71 this Court held that “The purpose of a reply brief is to reply to new points raised in the respondent’s brief of argument and not fill any error in appellant’s brief.”

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REPLY BRIEF TO ATTACK NEW ISSUE(S)

The purpose of Reply Brief is to tackle new issues or argument raised in the respondents’ Brief of Argument and not dealt with in the appellant’s Brief of Argument otherwise a Reply Brief would be tantamount to a repetition of the appellant’s main Brief. In other words, it should not serve as a forum for reopening the appellant’s case over again. And where it is coterminous in every respect with the appellant’s main Brief, it should be discountenanced.

– Chukwuma-Eneh JSC. Yaro v. Arewa CL (2007)

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PURPOSE OF A REPLY BRIEF

A Reply Brief is meant to explain or contest fresh issue of law raised in the Respondents brief, which was not canvassed in/by the Appellants Brief. – Mbaba JCA. Aduba v. Aduba (2018)

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ESSENCE OF A REPLY BRIEF

The essence of a reply brief is not to reopen argument already canvassed. It is to reply to new issues that have arisen in the respondents brief of argument. — P.A. Galumje, JSC.

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