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WHAT ARE VAGUE AND UNREASONABLE GROUNDS OF APPEAL

Dictum

In this preliminary objection, the crux of the complaint is that the grounds of appeal in the notice of appeal are vague and unreasonable. Vague and unreasonable grounds of appeal from our established principles of law are those grounds of appeal couched in a manner which does not provide any solid or explicit standard for it to be understood. An illusive complaint which is lacking in depth and is more windy, evasive, ambiguous, debatable, disputable and inexplicable. See the cases of Set Success Ent.& Co., Ltd v. Ibeju-Lekki Local Government (2021) LPELR — 56608 (SC), Adamu v. C.O.P. Plateau State Command (2020) LPELR – 51956 (CA).

— S.J. Adah, JCA. Luck Guard v. Adariku (2022) – CA/A/1061/2020

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PURPOSE OF OMNIBUS GROUND OF APPEAL

An omnibus ground of appeal is therefore designed to allow a complaint on evaluation of evidence and it encompasses complaint of improper evaluation of evidence. It implies that the judgment of the trial court cannot be supported by the weight of the evidence adduced by the successful party which the trial judge either wrongly accepted or that the inference drawn or conclusion reached by the trial Judge based on the accepted evidence cannot be justified. An omnibus ground of appeal also implies that there is no evidence which if accepted would support the findings of the trial judge.

– Ogwuegbu JSC. Ajibona v. Kolawole (1996)

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EVALUATION OF FACT IS A GROUND OF FACT

Assessment or evaluation of evidence is a ground of fact; it requires the examination of documents used in securing the debt or payment thereof.

– Niki Tobi, JSC. Calabar CC v. Ekpo (2008)

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COMPLAIN FOR MISAPPLICATION OF THE LAW IS A GROUND OF LAW

Where the complaint in the ground of appeal is one of misunderstanding by the court of the law or misapplication of the law to the facts already established, it is a ground of Law. Where the ground of appeal disputes or questions the evaluation of facts by the court before applying the law, it is a ground of mixed law and fact.

– Rhodes-Vivour JSC. Nwaolisah v. Nwabufoh (2011)

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THERE CAN BE NO ISSUE WHERE THERE IS NO GROUND OF APPEAL

Issues for determination must therefore be based on, correlate and be tied to a ground of appeal. The grounds of appeal must reflect the grievance of the appellant against the judgment of the trial court. In the absence of a valid ground of appeal any issue formulated is necessarily incompetent and is liable to be struck out. Likewise any ground of appeal not related to any issue is deemed abandoned – becomes irrelevant to the appeal and is likely to be struck out.

– ADEKEYE, JCA. NOGA v. NICON (2007)

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MEANINGLESS AND VAGUE GROUND OF APPEAL WILL BE STRUCK OUT

My Lords, I have for the sake of doing substantial justice to the parties taken time to read over and over again the above ground 6 and the more I read it the more meaningless it comes across to me. Both the grounds and the particulars taken together reveal no complaint against the judgment of the Court below when not a single rule or regulation not identified and evaluated by the Court below in its judgment was disclosed in the ground and its particulars. I therefore cannot but agree with the apt and unassailable submissions of the learned counsel for the 1st -4th Respondent that ground 6 defies all understanding and is thus vague and incompetent and I so hold. This objection is hereby upheld and consequently ground 6 is hereby struck out for being incompetent.

— B.A. Georgewill JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Ors. (CA/L/427/2016, 9 Mar 2018)

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GROUNDS OF APPEAL MUST BE BASED ON THE CONTROVERSY / DISPUTE

In all cases, the subject matter for determination must be an issue in controversy between the parties. The decision appealed against must have decided the issue. In every appeal, the issue or issues in controversy are fixed and circumscribed by a statement of the part of the decision appealed against. Hence, the grounds of appeal must ex necessitate be based on such issues in controversy – See Niger Construction Co. Ltd v. Okugbeni (1987)4 NWLR. (Pt.67) 787. Where a ground of appeal cannot be fixed and circumscribed within a particular issue in controversy in the judgment challenged, such ground of appeal cannot justifiably be regarded as related to the decision. A fortiori, no issue for determination can be formulated therefrom.

— A.G. Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Saraki v. Kotoye (1992) – S.C. 250/1991

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