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WHAT AMOUNTS TO PROLIFERATION OF ISSUES IN AN APPEAL

Dictum

Now, what would in law amount to proliferation of issues in an appeal is no longer a vexed issue as it has been pronounced upon severally by the appellate Courts, including the apex Court. While it is true that an issue for determination must flow from the ground(s) of appeal and that this Court has the power to formulate issues for determination in appropriate and deserving circumstances or to re-formulate or modify the issues formulated by the parties, it is well settled law that an Appellant, as well as a Respondent, is not permitted or allowed to raise issues in excess of the grounds of appeal and that where the number of issues formulated are more than the number of the grounds of appeal it amounts to nothing but a proliferation of issues, which in law is not acceptable. See Dr. Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo & Ors. v. Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua & Ors. (2010) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1209) 518. See also Unilorin v. Oluwadare (2003) 3 NWLR (Pt. 808) 557;Padawa v. Jatau (2003) 5 NWLR (Pt. 813) 243; Sogbesan v. Ogunbiyi (2006) 4 NWLR (Pt. 969) 19; Agu v. Ikewibe (1991) 3 NWLR (Pt. 130) 385;Adelusola & Ors v. Akinde & Ors (2004) 12 NWLR (Pt. 887) 295.

— B.A. Georgewill, JCA. University of Lagos v. Mbaso (2018) – CA/L/775/2016

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WHEN FRESH ISSUE WILL NOT BE ENTERTAINED

The general rule, on fresh point or issue in this Court, is that it will not be entertained if this Court had not the benefit of the views of the Justices of the Court below: see FADIORA v. GBADEBO (1998) 3 SC 219; ENANG v. ADU (1981) 11 – 12 SC 25; ADEGOKE MOTORS v. ADESANYA (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt.109) 250, etc.

– Ejembi, JSC. GTB v. Innoson (2017) – SC.694/2014(R)

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A DOUBLE BARRELED ISSUE

Let me take the first issue, which looks to me a double – barrelled one. I say this because it involves both adjectival law as well as substantive law.

— Tobi, JCA. Abraham v Olorunfunmi (1990) – CA/L/83/89

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ISSUE MUST ARISE FROM GROUNDS OF APPEAL

It suffices to state, firstly, that an appellate court can only hear and decide on issues raised on the grounds of appeal filed before it and an issue not covered by any ground of appeal is incompetent and will be struck out. – Iguh, JSC. Oshatoba v. Olujitan (2000)

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ESSENCE OF FORMULATION OF ISSUES – APPEAL SHOULD BE ARGUED ON ISSUES

Before considering the arguments of counsel in this appeal, I consider it a matter of cardinal importance to remind counsel of the often made errors in their argument of returning to the grounds of appeal filed after formulating issues for determination based on the grounds of appeal. All arguments in the appeal after formulation of issues should be based on the issues for determination as formulated. See Adelaja v Fanoiki (1990) 2 NWLR (Part 131) 137. Stricto sensu, no reference thereafter ought to be made to the grounds of appeal filed. The essence of the formulation of issues is to narrow the relevant issues in dispute within those so formulated Attorney-General Bendel State v Aidegun (1989) 4 NWLR (Part 118) 646. Hence as the issues arise from the grounds and may and usually encompass a number of grounds of appeal, it is sufficient to argue the appeal on the issues for determination formulated. See Ogbunyinya v Okudo (No.2)(1990) 4 NWLR (Part 146) 551 SC. The approach adopted by counsel in this appeal by arguing the appeal on the grounds rather than on the issues formulated, suggests that sufficient attention was not paid to the formulation of the issues for determination. Vide Egbe v Alhaji (1990) 1 NWLR (Part 128) 546. –

Karibe-Whyte JSC. Agbai v. Okogbue (1991) – SC 104/1989

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ARGUMENT SHOULD BE BASED ON THE ISSUE NOT GROUND OF APPEAL

But he should know that once the issues for determination have taken full account of the grounds of appeal filed, he ought not to abandon those issues and base his arguments on the grounds of appeal one by one. Quite apart from the intendment of the Rules, that argument in a brief shall be based on the issues, the advantage of this is that whereas a successful argument of a ground of appeal does not necessarily result in the appeal being allowed.

– Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Adejumo v. Ayantegbe (1989)

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JUDGEMENT MUST BE CONFINED TO PARTIES ISSUES

This is because it is a fundamental principle of the determination of disputes between parties that judgment must be confined to the issues raised by the parties and it is not competent for the court to make a case for either or both of the parties and then proceed to give judgment on the case so formulated contrary to the case of the parties.

– Iguh, JSC. Oshatoba v. Olujitan (2000)

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