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WHEN IS A PIECE OF EVIDENCE CREDIBLE

Dictum

A piece of evidence is credible when it is worthy of belief, see Agbi v. Ogbeh (2006) 11 NWLR (Pt. 990) 1; Dim v. Enemuo (2009) 10 NWLR (Pt. 1149) 353, Eta v. Dazie (2013) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1359) 248; A. J. Inv. Ltd. v. Afribank (Nig.) Plc. (2013) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1359) 380; Emeka v. Chuba-Ikpeazu (2017) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1589) 345. In the same vein, a piece of evidence is conclusive if it leads to a definite result, .see Nruamah v. Ebuzoeme (2013) 13 NWLR (Pt. 1372) 474.

— O.F. Ogbuinya JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc v. Longterm Global Cap. Ltd. & Ors. (September 20 2021, ca/l/1093/2017)

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SPECIAL DAMAGES WILL BE UPHELD UPON EVIDENCE ADDUCED AND NOT CHALLENGED

On special damages, it has been held that where the plaintiff plead the special damages and gives necessary particulars and adduce some evidence of it without the defendant challenging or contradicting the evidence, he has discharged the onus of proof placed on him and unless the evidence adduced is of such a quality that no reasonable tribunal can accept, it ought to be accepted. The reason is that where evidence called by the plaintiff in a civil case is neither challenged nor contradicted, his onus of proof is discharged on a minimal of proof.

– ARIWOOLA J.S.C. Union Bank v. Chimaeze (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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CLAIMANT MUST RELY ON THE STRENGTH OF HIS OWN CASE AND SUPPORT FROM EVIDENCE OF DEFENDANT

I bear in mind the well-established principle of law that in every civil action in which a declaration is sought from the Court, a claimant who seeks the declaratory relief must succeed on the strength of his own case as made out creditably in the evidence put forward by him in support of his case and not to merely rely on the weakness or even absence of the Defendant’s case. However, where the evidence of the Defendant supports the case of the claimant, he is perfectly entitled to rely on such evidence. See Nsirim v Nsirim (2002) FWLR (pt. 96) 433 @ p. 441.

— B.A. Georgewill, JCA. Anyi & Ors. v. Akande & Ors. (2017) – CA/L/334/2014

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EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE CANNOT VARY A WRITTEN CONTRACT

The general rule is that where the parties have embodied the terms of their contract in a written document, extrinsic evidence is not admissible to add to, vary, subtract from or contradict the terms of the written instrument.

– Adio, JSC. UBN v. Ozigi (1994)

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RAISING AN APPEAL ON ADMITTED EVIDENCE

Chief Williams submits that a ruling on admissibility of evidence is provisional as a trial Judge in his final judgment may still exclude evidence that has been admitted if he discovers it has been wrongly admitted. In my respectful view, that submission appears rather too wide. The two authorities cited by him as supporting it do not go as far. In NIPC v. Thompson Organisation (1969) 1 NMLR 99, it is evidence that goes to no issue but wrongly admitted that is held should be expunged when considering the verdict. In Jacker v. International Cable Co. Ltd. 5 TLR 13, another case cited by Chief Williams, it was held there that where matter has been improperly received in evidence in the court of trial, even when no objection has been there raised, it is the duty of the Court of Appeal to reject it and to decide the case on legal evidence. With profound respect to the learned Senior Advocate these two decisions which he cited in oral argument before us do not support the rather wide submission he has made. In my view where evidence is tendered and objected to and the trial Judge, after full arguments by counsel for the parties, admits or rejects same, he cannot later, when considering his judgment reverse himself without hearing the parties; he cannot sit on appeal over his own judgment. Where evidence which goes to no issue has been inadvertently admitted the trial Judge is under a duty to disregard it when considering his verdict. If he fails to do so, an appellate court will.

— Michael Ekundayo Ogundare, JSC. Saraki v. Kotoye (1992) – S.C. 250/1991

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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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