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WHAT IS A PERVERSE FINDING?

Dictum

A perverse finding is when it runs against and counter to the evidence led and the pleadings of the parties or where it has been shown that the trial judge took into consideration or account of matters which he ought not to have taken into account or shuts his eyes to the obvious. See: Akinloye v. Eyiola (1968) NWLR 92; Isah Onu and Ors v. Ibrahim Idu and Ors (2006) 6 SCNJ 23 at Pg. 45-46.

— T.S. YAKUBU, JCA. Fayose v ICN (2012) – CA/AE/58/2010

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RELEVANT FACTS ARE FACTS SO CONNECTED WITH THE FACTS IN ISSUE

Tobi, JSC, held that: “Relevant facts are facts which, though not in issue, are so connected with a fact in issue as to form part of the same transaction and facts which are the occasion, caused or effect, immediate or otherwise of relevant fact or facts in issue, or which constitute the state of things under which they happened or which afforded an opportunity from their occurrence or transaction.” See Abubakar v. Chuks (2007) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1066) 319 at 402 paras G-H.

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RATIONALE FOR UPHOLDING CONCURRENT FINDINGS OF FACT

The attitude of this Court to concurrent findings of fact, is that it would not usually interfere with such findings unless they are shown to be perverse, not based on the evidence before the Court or where there has been an error of law or error in procedure which has occasioned a miscarriage of justice. The rationale for this position was eloquently stated by His Lordship, Belgore, JSC (as he then was) in Bamgboye v. Olarewaju (1991) LPELR 745 SC as follows: “Once a Court of trial has made a finding of fact, it is no more within the competence of the appellate Court to interfere with those findings except in certain circumstances. The real reason behind this attitude of appellate Courts is that the Court hearing the appeal is at a disadvantage as to the demeanour of witnesses in the lower Court as they were not seen and heard by the appellate Court. It is not right for the appellate Court to substitute its own eyes and ears for those of the trial Court which physically saw the witnesses and heard them and thus able to form an opinion as to what weight he place on their evidence…”

– Abdu Aboki JSC. Junaidu v. State (2021)

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CASES SHOULD BE DECIDED ON ITS OWN FACTS

It is also of paramount importance to always have it as a central theme that each case must be examined and decided on its own facts and circumstances as no two cases are alike in all particulars.

– Gumel, JCA. Ehanire v. Erhunmwuse (2007)

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PROPER EVALUATION OF FACT NEEDS NO INTERFERENCE FROM APPELLATE COURT

The law is also common knowledge that where a trial Court fails to properly discharge that primary duty or the evaluation value ascribed to and inference/findings made thereon cannot be supported by the evidence adduced before that Court, then an appellate Court is entitled to intervene and interfere with such decisions of the trial Court … However where a trial Court has unquestionably and properly evaluated the evidence adduced before it, an appellate Court has no business to and is usually slow in interfering with decisions arising from such an exercise.

– M.L. Garba JCA. Odogwu v. Vivian (2009) – CA/PH/345/05

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IF NO PERVERSITY IS SHOWN, FINDINGS OF FACT WILL NOT BE DISTURBED

The trial Tribunal and the court below have arrived at concurrent findings of fact and the attitude of the Supreme Court is replete in a number of judicial authorities which is that except there is established miscarriage of justice or violation of some principle of law or procedure or the findings are perverse the Supreme Court will not disturb such findings. See ADAKU AMADE V. EDWARD NWOSU (1992) 6 SCNJ 59. ONWUJUBA V. OBIENU (1991) 4 NWLR (PART 188) 16; OGUNDIYAN V. STATE (1991) 3 NWLR (PART 181) 519; IYARO V. THE STATE 1 NWLR (PART 69) 256. The list is indeed inexhaustive. I do not find the findings of fact bedeviled by any of these lapses.

— Alaoga, JSC. Akeredolu v. Mimiko (2013) – SC. 352/2013

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DISTURBED FINDING OF FACT

The trite position of the law is that where the Court of Appeal wrongly disturbed any finding of fact of a trial court, the Supreme Court will not hesitate in restoring that finding, See: Board of Customs and Excise v. Barau (1987) 10 SC 48.

— T. Muhammad, JSC. VAB Petroleum v. Momah (2013) – SC.99/2004

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