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A RESPONDENT IS TO DEFEND THE JUDGEMENT ON APPEAL

Dictum

A Respondent’s role in an Appeal is to defend the judgment on Appeal, and not attack it. On the other hand, it is duty of the Appellant to attack the judgment. After all he filed the Appeal because he believes it is wrong. If a Respondent is not satisfied with the judgment on Appeal he should file a Cross Appeal or Respondents Notice. See New Nig Bank PLC v Egun (2001) 7 NWLR (Pt. 711) p.1 and Ibe v Onuorah (1999) 14 NWLR (Pt. 638) p. 340. It must be noted, though that a Cross Appeal and a Respondents Notice cannot co-exist.

— O. Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Bakari v. Ogundipe (2020) – SC.514/2015

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ONLY FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES WHICH ARE INCIDENTAL TO THE MAIN CLAIM CAN BE RAISED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE SUPREME COURT

✓ It is this clear that the jurisdiction to entertain any suit which seeks to enforce the observance of a fundamental right under chapter 4 of the Constitution, including the right of any person not to be subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment guaranteed under section 31(1)(a), of the 1979 Constitution, ties only with the High Court of a State or a Federal High Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is appellate and not original. See Attorney-General of Anambra State and others v. Attorney-General of the Federation and others (1993) 6 NWLR (Pt.302) 692. However, constitutional issues which pertain only to the breach of a fundamental right in the course of trial or hearing before the lower courts may be raised in an appeal to the Supreme Court. Such issues are those that relate mainly to breach of the right to fair hearing and the right to personal liberty under sections 32 and 33 of the Constitution. Other rights such as right to life and those to private and family life, peaceful assembly and association and freedom of the press can only be enforced through a substantive action in the appropriate High Court and cannot be raised in an appellate court, including the Supreme Court, as being incidental to the proceedings in the lower courts. The appellate courts, inclusive of the Supreme Court, have no original jurisdiction to entertain, determine or pronounce on questions relating to an alleged breach of fundamental rights, especially where the issue involved or the redress invoked is not directly relevant or intrinsic to the determination, on the merit, of the appeal before them. — Iguh JSC. Onuoha v State (1998) – SC. 24/1996

✓ The death row phenomenon was only raised obliquely and clearly extrinsically by the appellant in this appeal. The issue raised is whether the appellant’s confinement under sentence of death for an alleged unnecessarily prolonged length of time from the date of his conviction amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to section 31(1)(a) of the Constitution thereby warranting the quashing of his death sentence and substituting the same with life imprisonment. This issue, in my view, is not properly before this court. The jurisdiction of this court to entertain and determine such constitutional question will only arise on appeal after both the High Court and the Court of Appeal have considered and adjudicated on the issue. This is exactly the procedure adopted in the foreign cases that were cited before us. — Iguh JSC. Onuoha v State (1998) – SC. 24/1996

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APPELLATE COURT HAS A DUTY TO EXAMINE THE TOTALITY OF EVIDENCE

Nevertheless, the court, especially the appellate court, has a duty to examine the totality of the evidence tendered before the trial court in order to be satisfied that what the parties had pleaded is in consonance with the evidence led at the trial.

— Wali JSC. Chime v Chime (2001) – SC 179/1991

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JUDGEMENT NOT APPEALED IS BINDING

The learned counsel for the plaintiffs/respondents objected to the brief filed by the 1st defendant/respondent on the ground that she did not file an appeal against the judgment of the lower court and she cannot be heard in her brief to support the appellant.
In reply the learned counsel for the 1st defendant/respondent submitted that he was at liberty to argue the appeal as long as he does not go outside the grounds of appeal filed by the appellant.
It should be noted that the 1st defendant/respondent did not defend the suit in the lower court. She also did not appeal against the judgment of the lower court. It will therefore be outrageous to allow her to argue her brief in favour of the appellant before this court. The whole case revolved on her in the lower court. She chose to do nothing before that court and did not appeal against the judgment of the lower court. The implication is that she is satisfied with the judgment of the lower court and cannot be allowed to argue the contrary in this court. The brief filed on her behalf is hereby discountenanced and struck out.

– Ogebe JCA. Ohiaeri v. Yusuf (2003)

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WHERE APPEAL COURT MAY INTERFERE IN THE DECISION OF THE LOWER COURT

Once an appellate Court finds that the conclusion reached by a lower Court is correct, it has no duty to interfere. Thus, the duty of an appellate Court to interfere will arise only where the finding, conclusion and/or decision of the lower Court is wrong and/or perverse. In law, a finding or conclusion of a Court is said to be perverse when such finding does not flow from the proved evidence or was arrived at wrongly or was anchored on extraneous matters. In all such circumstances, an appellate Court will interfere to set it aside and make appropriate finding as justified and borne out by the evidence in the printed record of appeal.

– Abdu Aboki, JSC. Chukwu v. State (2021)

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AN APPEAL ALLOWED SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED

The lower court cannot hold simultaneously that the appeal is allowed in part yet proceeded to dismiss the appellant’s claims in its entirety particularly when the part of the appeal allowed has to do with the award of the sum of N70,000.00 share of profit to the appellant. To hold as the lower court did was an obvious error which ought not to be allowed to stand. – Onnoghen JSC. Alade v. Alic (2010)

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INELEGANCE & UNTIDINESS CANNOT RENDER AN APPEAL INCOMPETENT

It is to be seen that it can be said that filing more than a notice of appeal and using more than one could be inelegant, untidy or even confusing, but the law and its practice have had it settled that the inelegance or untidiness are not enough reason for rendering those notices of appeal incompetent or invalid as to do that would be taking technicality too far and not covered by law.

– Peter-Odili, JSC. Tukur v. Uba (2012) – SC.390/2011

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