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WHERE SOME GROUNDS OF APPEAL ARE TO BE CHALLENGED, NOT A PO, BUT A MOTION ON NOTICE

Dictum

It is now trite law that a motion on notice is filed where a party intends to challenge the incompetence of one or two grounds of appeal in the presence of an existing valid ground(s), see Garba v. Mohammed (2016) NWLR (Pt. 1537) 114; Kente v. Ishaku (2017) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1587) 96; PDP v. Sheriff (2017) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1588) 219; NNPC v. Famfa Oil Ltd. (2012) LPELR 7812(SC), (2012) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1328) 148; Cocacola (Nig.) Ltd. v. Akinsanya (2017) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1593) 74; Ezenwaji v. UNN (2017) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1598) 45; Petgas Resources Ltd. v. Mbanefo (2018) 1 NWLR (Pt. 1601) 442; KLM Royal Dutch Airlines v. Aloma (2018) 1 NWLR (Pt. 1601) 473; Isah v. INEC (2016) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1544) 14 175; Lawanson v. Okonkwo (2019) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1658) 77. UBN PLC V. Ravih Abdul & Co. Ltd. (2019) 3 NWLR (Pt 1659) 203; FRN v. Atuche (2019) 8 NWLR (Pt. 1674) 338; Lolapo v. COP (2019) 16 NWLR (1699) 476. Opeyemi v. State (2019) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1702) 403. I have married the meat of the objection with the inelastic position of the law displayed above. The wisdom behind the comparison is not far-fetched. It is to ascertain if the objection is obedient to the law or desecrates it. An in-depth study of the objector’s objection, discernible from its arguments thereon, clearly, reveals that it mainly chastises the appellant’s grounds 2, 3, 7 and 11 of the notice of appeal. It is obvious that the objector’s objection spared grounds 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 – 19 of the notice of appeal. In other words, those grounds 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 – 19 are viable and valid with the potency to sustain the appeal. In the face of the existential validity of grounds 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 – 19, the objector ought not to have filed a preliminary objection. The proper/appropriate process is an application (motion on notice) challenging the viability of those grounds.

— 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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SUBMISSION NOT BASED ON GROUND OF MOTION AND AFFIDAVIT WILL BE AT LARGE

The appellant’s learned senior counsel argued the application on the basis of the issues formulated by him and seemed to have abandoned the supporting affidavit. This is clearly not correct. Parties to a motion are bound to restrict their submissions within the confines of the grounds upon which the application is predicated and the affidavits in support of the application. Where issues formulated by parties do not arise from the grounds and the affidavit in support, any argument thereon will certainly be at large and is of no effect.

— P.A. Galinje JSC. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Anor. (SC.535/2013(R), 23 June 2017)

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MOTION ON NOTICE NOT PRELIMINARY OBJECTION FOR PART COMPLAINT

Nowadays, preliminary objections are filed once a Respondent notices any error in the Appellant’s processes. This is wrong. Where the Respondent complains of the competency of a ground of appeal as in this appeal, and the other grounds are in order, and can sustain the appeal, the Respondent ought to file a motion on Notice to strike out the incompetent grounds and not a preliminary objection.

– A. Aboki, JSC. Sani v. Kogi State (2021) – SC.1179/2019

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COURT CANNOT GO OUTSIDE THE TERMS/ORDERS OF THE MOTION

The Court of Appeal cannot go outside the terms of the motion however misconceived it is. It is bound by the terms or prayers in the motion filed. (Commissioner for Works Benue State v. Devcon Construction Co. Ltd. (1988) 3 N.W.L.R. (Pt.83) 407 at 420). Since there was nothing to stay, the Court of Appeal was in error to have made the order prayed for.

— Agbaje JSC. Okoya & Ors. V. S. Santilli & Ors. ( SC.206/1989, 23 MAR 1990)

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MOTION ON NOTICE, NOT PRELIMINARY OBJECTION, IS THE PROPER PROCESS TO CHALLENGE SOME GROUNDS OF APPEAL

The emphasis is that a preliminary objection can only be issued against the hearing of the appeal, and not against a selection of grounds of appeal, which even if it is upheld cannot terminate the appeal in limine. In KLM Royal Dutch Airlines v. Aloma (2017) LPELR- 42588 (SC), this Court, per Kudirat Motonmori Olatokunbo Kekere-Ekun, JSC at pages 6-7, paras D-B, held:- The purpose of a preliminary objection is to truncate the hearing of an appeal in limine. It is raised where the respondent is satisfied that there is a fundamental defect in the appeal that would affect the Courts jurisdiction to entertain it. Where there are other grounds that could sustain the appeal, a preliminary objection should not be filed. Where the purpose of the objection is merely to challenge the competence of some grounds of appeal, the best procedure is by way of motion on notice. The reason is that the success of the objection would not terminate the hearing of the appeal. See Odunukwe v. Ofomata (2010) 18 NWLR (Pt.1225) 404 at 423 C-F, Ndigwe v. Nwude (1999) 11 NWLR (Pt.626) 314; N.E.P.A. v. Ango (2001) 15 NWLR (Pt. 734) 627; Muhammed v. Military Administrator Plateau State (2001) 18 NWLR (Pt.744) 183. See also the case of Adejumo v. Olawaiye (2014) 12 NWLR(Pt.1421) 252 at 279 where this Court, per Rhodes-Vivour said:- ‘A preliminary objection should only be filed against the hearing of an appeal and not against one or more grounds of appeal which are not capable of disturbing the hearing of the appeal… Where a preliminary objection would not be the appropriate process to object or show to the Court defects in processes before it, a motion on notice filed complaining of a few grounds or defects would suffice.’ From the authorities I have highlighted above, it is clear that the preliminary objection in the instant case is inappropriate and same is liable to be struck out. Accordingly, same is hereby struck out.

— P.A. Galumje, JSC. Compact Manifold v Pazan Ltd. (2019) – SC.361/2017

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WHEN TO FILE A MOTION ON NOTICE VS PRELIMINARY OBJECTION

In law therefore, it is only when a Respondent is challenging the one or more grounds of appeal but not the entire appeal that resort must be had to motion by notice to strike out the incompetent ground(s) of appeal. However, where it is the competence of the entire appeal that is being challenged the proper method is by means of a notice of preliminary objection as rightly employed by the Respondent in this appeal. The Respondent’s notice of preliminary objection was filed on 23/2/2017, that way beyond the three clear days requirement of the rules of this Court, was served and duly responded to by the Appellant in their Appellants’ Reply brief and therefore, the contention by the Appellants’ counsel in this regards is misconceived and hereby discountenanced. I shall say no more! See Clement Odunukwe v. Dennis Ofomata(2010) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1225) 404 per Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. See also Ndigwe v. Nwude (1999) 11 NWLR (Pt. 626) 314; NEPA v. Ango (2001) 15 NWLR (Pt. 737) 627; Muhammed v. Military Administrator of Plateau State (2001) 16 NWLR (Pt. 740) 524; NDIC v. Oranu (2001) 18 NWLR (Pt. 744) 183.

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

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DUTY OF THE COURT WHEN CONSIDERING AN APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO APPEAL

“There is no doubt that in considering an application of this nature, which calls for the exercise of judicial discretion, the Court must satisfied itself that the reasons given by an Applicant are good and substantial and that on clear facts placed before the Court, the Applicant deserves to be granted the indulgence being sought.”

– M.L Abubakar, JCA. Amalai & Ors. v The Government Of Adamawa State & Ors. ( CA/YL/33M/2020)

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