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THE COURT HAS A DUTY TO ACT ON UNCHALLENGED AND UNCONTROVERTED EVIDENCE

Dictum

It is settled that the Court has a duty to act on unchallenged and uncontroverted evidence. See: BRONWEN ENERGY TRADING CO.LTD v OAN OVERSEAS AGENCY (NIG) LTD (2022) LPELR-57307(SC) at page 31, paras. B-C; and OGUNYADE v OSHUNKEYE & ANOR (2007) LPELR-2355(SC) at pages 22 – 23, paras. B F.

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

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ANY OFFICIAL CAN GIVE TESTIMONY FOR A COMPANY

Comet Shipp. Agencies Ltd v. Babbit Ltd (2001) FWLR (Pt. 40) 1630, (2001) 7 NWLR (Pt. 712) 442, 452 paragraph B, per Galadima JCA (as he then was ) held that: “Companies have no flesh and blood. Their existence is a mere legal abstraction. They must therefore, of necessity, act through their directors, managers and officials. Any official of a company well placed to have personal knowledge of any particular transaction in which a company is engaged can give evidence of such transaction.”

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NO MATTER HOW BRILLIANT COUNSEL SUBMISSION IS, IT CANNOT TAKE THE PLACE OF EVIDENCE

The argument of the claimants that to adopt UTAS will promote inefficiency and discrimination in the public service of Nigeria has not been shown by any evidence other than the submission of the learned senior counsel to the claimants. No matter how brilliantly crafted an address of counsel is, it neither constitutes, nor can it take the place of evidence. See APC v. Sheriff & ors [2023] LPELR-59953(SC). And a a bare statement from the Bar by a counsel has no force of legal evidence. See Maduabuchi Onwuta v. The State of Lagos [2022] LPELR-57962(SC).

— B.B. Kanyip, J. FG v. ASUU (2023) – NICN/ABJ/270/2022

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CLAIMANT CAN RELY ON EVIDENCE OF THE DEFENDANT

The position of the law is that the Claimant is entitled to rely on the evidence put forward by the Defendant. See ODUTOLA V. SANYA (2008) ALL FWLR (PT. 400) 780 AT 793, PARAS. F – G (CA) where it was held that “… if the Defendant’s evidence supports that (the case) of the Plaintiff, he is entitled to rely on same to fortify his case. See Kodilinye v. Odu (1935) 2 WACA 336; Akinola v. Oluwo (1962) 1 All NLR 224″.

— E.N. Agbakoba, J. Igenoza v Unknown Defendant (2019) – NICN/ABJ/294/2014

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ORAL EVIDENCE CANNOT CONTRADICT DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE

Having regard to the provisions of section 132(1) of the Evidence Act, oral evidence cannot be admitted to contradict, alter, add to or vary a contract or document unless such evidence falls within any of the matters that may be proved by such oral evidence by virtue of the provisos thereto. The provisos only permit evidence which will not be inconsistent with the terms of the relevant contract or document.

– Uwaifo JSC. Fortune v. Pegasus (2004)

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THE COURTS LEAN AGAINST CALLING FRESH EVIDENCE ON APPEAL

Before concluding on the said prayer 7 it is helpful to call to mind the observations of Oputa JSC in Obasi v. Onwuka (1987) 3 NWLR (Pt. 61 ) 364, 372 in an application to call additional evidence on appeal: “To talk therefore of assessing the rightness or wrongness of the trial court’s verdict today by evidence that will be given tomorrow is to talk in blank prose. This is the reason why appellate courts are very reluctant to admit “fresh evidence”, “new evidence” or “additional evidence” on appeal except in circumstances where the matter arose ex improviso which no human ingenuity could foresee and it is in the interest of justice that evidence of that fact be led:- R v. Dora Harris (1927) 28 Cox 432. But by and large, at least in criminal cases (and the principle should also be the same in civil cases), the courts lean against hearing fresh evidence on appeal.”

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

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CLAIMANT IS TO ADDUCE EVIDENCE THAT WILL SUSTAIN HIS CLAIM ONLY

A claim is circumscribed by the reliefs claimed; and the duty of a claimant, therefore, is to plead only such facts and materials as are necessary to sustain the reliefs and adduce evidence to prove same So held the Supreme Court in Gabriel Ativie v. Kabelmetal (Nig.) Ltd [2008] LPELR-591(SC); [2008] 10 NWLR (Pt. 1095) 399; [2008] 5 – 6 SC (Pt. II) 47. I already held that by Dmez Nig Ltd v. Nwakhaba & 3 ors, the claimants cannot succeed on the evidence of the defendants; they can only succeed on their own evidence, something that is just not sufficiently before the Court. This means that the declaratory reliefs in terms of reliefs (1) to (3) cannot be granted given the insufficient facts/evidence advanced by the claimants in proof of same. I so hold.

— B.B. Kanyip, J. Olatunji v UBER (2018) – NICN/LA/546/2017

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