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EXCEPTION TO DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE BEING TENDERED BY THE MAKER

Dictum

The general rule as to who can tender documentary evidence is that documentary evidence should be tendered through its maker. This is because the maker of such documents can validly answer the questions put forward with regards to the documents so his attendance may be necessary to facilitate cross-examination. See Section 91 of the Evidence Act 2011. See also the cases of Statoil Nig. Ltd v. Inducon Nig. Ltd [2014] 9 NWLR (Pt 1411) (P. 94, Paras, A-B). It is not however, at all times that documentary evidence must be tendered by the maker, as the person to whom it is made can also produce it in Court. If it can be shown to the Court by the person seeking to tender same that the maker of the document is dead or unfit by reason of his body or mental condition; that the presence of the maker of the document may also be excused if he is overseas or if it is not reasonably practicable to call him to tender the document in view of attendant expense.

— O. Oyewumi, J. Aseidu v Japaul (2019) – NICN/AK/01/2016

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DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE IS THE BEST FORM OF EVIDENCE

Tritely, the best form of evidence for the resolution of election matters are documentary evidence. A complaint that a candidate did not score the majority of lawful votes at the election is an invitation to compare and contrast figures. See the case of ANOZIE VS OBICHERE (2008) 8 NWLR (PT. 981) 140 AT 155 PARAS. H. In election petition cases the decision of the Court, particularly when the issue is as to who had the majority of lawful votes, is based largely on documentary evidence, mainly election result forms. See the case of NGIGE VS OBI (2006) 14 NWLR (PT. 2006) 14 NWLR (PT. 999) 1 AT 233. It is trite that results of election declared by an independent electoral commission are presumed correct, authentic and genuine. See SECTION 168 (1) OF THE EVIDENCE ACT (AS AMENDED) 2022. Thus, in order to rebut the presumption of regularity in favour of the election results declared by INEC, the admissibility, inadmissibility and the probative value of Forms EC8As, EC8Bs, EC8Cs, EC8D, EC8E, etc, will be seriously contested. On the veracity of documentary evidence, it has been held that a Court is right to place a greater value on documentary evidence than oral testimony. As the most reliable if not the best evidence, is documentary evidence. It is certainly more reliable than oral evidence. When tendered and admitted in Courts are like words uttered and speak for themselves, on the strength of which the tribunal has powers to add to the votes found to have been wrongly excluded to the score by the affected candidate. See the following cases: SAM V. EKPELU (2001) 1 NWLR (PT. 642) 582 – 797, FAYEMI VS. ONI (2009) 7 NWLR (PT. 1140) 223, AIKI VS. IDOWU (2006) 9 NWLR (PT. 984) 47 AT 65. Therefore, in the resolution of this issue, it will be on the dissection of the principles governing election result forms and documents and the admissibility of the same.

— A. Osadebay, J. APC v INEC & Ors. (EPT/KN/GOV/01/2023, 20th Day of September, 2023)

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DOCUMENTS ARE ALLOWED TO SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

In my view this is the best starting point because words in a document are allowed to speak for themselves and unless a statement will lead to ambiguity or absurdity words are to be interpreted and understood based on their ordinary grammatical con or meaning. – A.A.B. Gumel, JCA. Alechenu v. AG Benue (2011) –...

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DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE WEIGHS ORAL TESTIMONY

The Documentary evidence lends weight to oral testimony. It serves as an action from which oral testimony is weighed for good measure. – Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009) Was this dictum helpful? Yes 0 No 0...

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ONLY DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE CAN CONTRADICT DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE

However the conflict is not strong to hold his evidence is of no value when the documentary evidence speaks for itself. It is trite the best evidence to challenge documentary evidence is same Documentary evidence. – Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009) Was this dictum helpful? Yes 0 No 0...

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A TRIAL JUDGE MAY EXPUNGE DOCUMENT SUO MOTO

The law is elementary that a trial Judge has the right to expunge from the record a document which he wrongly or wrongfully admitted. He can do so suo motu at the point of writing judgment. He needs no prompting from any of the parties, although a party is free to call his attention to...

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DUMPING OF DOCUMENTS ONLY GOES TO WEIGHT TO BE ATTACHED

The simple and straightforward answer to this argument is that the issue of dumping of documents on court, which expression in any case suggests that the documents so dumped are already in evidence before the court, only goes to the weight to be attached to the documents by the court. On this reasoning, this ground...

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