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APPELLATE COURT HAS A DUTY TO EXAMINE THE TOTALITY OF EVIDENCE

Dictum

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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INTERMEDIATE COURT WILL PROCEED TO LOOK AT THE CASE MERIT

While I am tempted to put an end to this petition at this stage, but realising that this Court is not the final Court on the matter, I am constrained to look at the merit of the petition. — H.S. Tsammani, JCA. APM v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/04/2023

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A RESPONDENT IS TO DEFEND THE JUDGEMENT ON APPEAL

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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WHEN AN APPEAL IS ENTERED, THE APPEAL COURT IS SEISED OF THE WHOLE PROCEEDING

As observed earlier, there is a finding by the court below that there was a pending appeal before it as Appeal No. CA/L/133/93 which was entered on May 2, 1995. Now, in accordance with the provisions of the Court of Appeal Rules, 1981 (as amended) an appeal is said to be entered in the court when the record of proceedings in the trial court has been received in the Registry of the court. See: Order 1 Rule 22, Court of Appeal Rules (1981) (as amended); Order 4 Rule 10, Court of Appeal Rules, 2007 (as amended). Once it is so entered, an appeal is then said to be pending. The Rule governing the control of proceedings during pendency of an appeal is that after an appeal has been entered and until it has been finally disposed of, the court shall be seised of the whole of the proceedings as between the parties thereto and except as may be otherwise provided in the Rules, every application therein shall be made to the court and not to the court below (i.e. the trial), but any application may be filed in the trial court for transmission to the court below. See Order 4, Rule 11. Thus, in pursuance of the above provisions of the Court of Appeal Rules, the trial court will have no competence or jurisdiction to decide on any application whether on notice or ex-parte in relation to an appeal which the trial court has become FUNCTUS OFFICIO. If the trial court takes any step thereon, except for the purposes of transmitting the processes so filed to the Court of Appeal, that step taken will be declared a nullity.

— T. Muhammad, JSC. VAB Petroleum v. Momah (2013) – SC.99/2004

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WHEN FINDINGS OF FACT OF TRIAL COURT ARE NOT APPEALED, THERE NO NEED FOR APPELLATE COURT TO REVIEW THEM

There was, with the greatest respect, no earthly reason for the Court of Appeal to review the pleadings and the evidence in view of the findings of fact of the trial Court at p.160 that EXS.D and E were not loan receipts but receipts for the sale of land and the conclusion of law at p.161 “that all the plaintiff got by virtue of the receipts Exhibits D and E was an equitable interest”. There was no cross-appeal by the 2nd Defendant challenging the above findings. What the Court below should have then concentrated on would have been the legal effect of the above findings on the relationship of the Plaintiff and the 2nd Defendant.

— Oputa, JSC. Osagie v. Oyeyinka & Anor. (1987) – SC.194/1985

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REQUIREMENTS TO SUCCEED IN AN APPEAL

In order to succeed in this appeal, the appellant must show that the decision of the lower Court affirming the judgment of the trial Court is perverse, either because the evaluation of evidence and findings of fact were not based on a proper and dispassionate appraisal of the evidence on record, or the trial Court did not make proper use of the opportunity of seeing and hearing the witnesses testify, or that the findings were reached as a result of a wrong application of substantive law or procedure, or that there was a miscarriage of justice manifest on the face of the record. See: Igbi Vs The State (2000) 3 NWLR (Pt. 648) 169; Shehu Vs The State (2010) 8 NWLR (Pt. 1195) 112; Itu Vs The State (2016) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1506) 443.

— Kekere-Ekun, JSC. Ogunleye Tobi v The State (2019) – SC.714/2017

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