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WRITTEN ADDRESS IS SIMPLY TO AID THE COURT AND DOES NOT REPLACE THE EVIDENCE

Dictum

At this juncture, permit me to restate the elementary and trite law as correctly submitted by learned Defendants’ counsel, that the submission of counsel can never ever take the place of evidence, no matter how beautifully and convincingly couched. In the Supreme Court case of Ogunsanya Vs State [2011] 6 MJSC (Pt 1) 24, it was stated per Rhodes- Vivour JSC that: “A case is won on credible evidence and not on address. No amount of brilliance or playing to the gallery by counsel can make up for lack of evidence to prove or defend a case. The main purpose of address is to assist the Court and is never a substitute for compelling evidence….”

— S.O. Adeniyi, J. Nwabueze v. ABU Zaria (2023) – NICN/KD/34/2021

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NEW EVIDENCE CANNOT BE ATTACHED TO A REPLY TO A WRITTEN ADDRESS

Aside from this, there is sense in the submission of the 1st and 2nd defendants calling for the discountenance of the claimants’ reply on points of law. The claimants had, for instance, filed two further affidavits in response to the counter-affidavits of the defendants, attaching in the process exhibits that they refused to attach to their affidavit in support. These are exhibits that the defendants could not have reacted to. What the claimants did by this procedure is to force a fair accompli on the defendants and make it look like they are the claimants and the claimants are the defendants. In reacting to the bare affidavit in support with no supporting exhibits, the defendants played into the hands of the claimants when they exhibited documents. In the guise of reacting to the defendants, the claimants now chose to bring in their documents knowing that the defendants cannot thereby react to the said exhibits. For example, the argument of the claimants that after every trip, the 2nd defendant (Uber) issues a receipt to the passenger evidencing payment for transportation services provided by the 2nd defendant (Uber), referring to Exhibits 1 to 5 attached to their further affidavit which clearly show Uber’s logo, is one that the defendants cannot react to since it is offered in the reply on points of law, not the main address supporting the originating summons. In effect, what the claimants have done is to introduce new evidence in a reply on points of law, evidence that the defendants cannot react to. This cannot be.

— B.B. Kanyip, J. Olatunji v UBER (2018) – NICN/LA/546/2017

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IMPORTANCE OF FINAL WRITTEN ADDRESS

It is important to catalogue the gains of final address as contemplated by the sacrosanct provision of Section 294(1) of the Constitution as amended. Address of counsel, though unable to cover lack of evidence, are designed to aid the Courts to appreciate the nature, strength and weakness in the cases of parties. It has the...

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COUNSEL CANNOT USE HIS ADDRESS TO INTRODUCE EVIDENCE NOT PRESENTED AT THE TRIAL

The law prohibits counsel from introducing evidence that a party did not offer at the trial. The law is trite that counsel cannot use his address to the Court to introduce evidence which was not adduced by the party during the trial. Such evidence in counsel’s address shall not be used for the resolution of...

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ORAL APPLICATION FOR CORRECTION OF WRITTEN ADDRESS WILL BE ALLOWED

We have read through the submission of all the Counsel and will flow along with the decision of the Supreme Court in Adeleke v Oyetola (supra) and allow Chief Awomolo SAN’s application. In essence the prayer of the Petitioners’ Counsel to reflect the correction/amendments prayed for is hereby granted as prayed as all the Respondents counsel responded to all the issues despite the fact that it was not raised in the issues for determination but addressed in the body of the address as an issue.

— K.M. Akano, J. Edeoga v Mbah (2023) – EPT/EN/GOV/01/2023

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