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APPELLATE COURT WILL NOT ALLOW FRESH ISSUE ON APPEAL TO BE TAKEN

Dictum

In CHUKWUEMEKA N. OJIOGU V. LEONARD OJIOGU & ANOR (2010) LPELR – 2377 (SC), this Court per Chukwuma-Eneh JSC (of blessed memory) restated the principle inter-alia as follows:- “It is trite that an appellate Court will not allow a fresh issue on appeal to be taken without leave as it has not been pronounced upon by the Courts below. This is even more so as in this case where the appellant is trying on appeal to raise an issue which has not been raised, nor considered by the trial Court. However, where the question involves substantial point of law, substantive or procedural and it is plain that no further evidence may be called, the Court may allow the issue to be raised subject to leave having been sought and obtained.”

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FEWER ISSUES ARE ENCOURAGED TO BE RAISED BY PARTIES

Counsel appeared to have worked on the misapprehension that every possible slip raises an issue. The result is that he framed too many issues -nine, for six grounds of appeal. This appears to be a reversal of the usual practice whereby one or two or more grounds raise an issue one ground can never properly raise more than one issue. It must, however, be borne in mind that an “issue” in an appeal must be a proposition of law or fact so cogent, weighty and compelling that a decision on it in favour of a party to the appeal will entitle him to the judgment of the court. This is why, apart from the fact that multiplicity of issues tends to reduce most of them to trifles, experience shows that most appeals are won on a few cogent and substantial issues, well-framed, researched and presented rather than on numerous trifling slips.

— Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Ugo v Obiekwe (1989) – SC.207/1985

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PROPER APPROACH TO ISSUES OF FACT

In Adeyeye v. Ajiboye (1987) 3 N.W.L.R. (Pt.61) 432 at p.451, I referred to what I thought was the proper approach to the issues of fact and findings of fact by trial Courts viz: “The proper approach for any trial court is first set out the claim or claims; then the pleadings, then the Issues arising from those pleadings. Having decided on the issues in dispute the trial Judge will then consider the evidence in proof of each issue, then decide on which side to believe and this has got to be a belief based on the preponderance of credible evidence and the probabilities of the case. After this the trial Judge will then record his logical and consequential findings of fact. It is after such a finding that the trial court can then discuss the applicable law against the background of his findings of fact.”

— Oputa JSC. Onwuka & Ors. V. Ediala & Anor. (SC.18/1987, 20 January 1989)

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COURT IS TO CONSIDER ALL ISSUES PLACED BEFORE IT

There is no doubt, that, generally, the court below ought to have considered all issues placed before it for determination not being the final court on the matter. But a litigant can only be heard to complain if the issue not so considered is material and substantial in the particular circumstance. See Onifade V. Olayiwola (1990) 7 NWLR (Pt.161) 130 at 159 and if the appellant had suffered any miscarriage of justice. See; State V. Ajie (2000) FWLR (Pt.15) 2831 at 2842.

— O. Ariwoola, JSC. African Intl. Bank Ltd. v Integrated Dimensional System (2012) – SC.278/2002

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A PARTY CANNOT CANVASS ARGUMENT OUTSIDE OF ISSUES FRAMED

It is clear that both issues are confined to the competence of the plaintiffs/respondents to sue in the matter. As they do not extend to the competence of the defendants/appellants to defend the action, I shall not go there. This is because parties are, bound by the issues formulated in their briefs. In other words, a party cannot advance an argument outside the issue or issues formulated in the brief without leave of Court. This stems from the larger ambit of our adjectival law that parties are, bound by their briefs.

— Niki Tobi, JSC. Mozie & Ors. v. Mbamalu & Ors. (2006) – S.C.345/2001

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ARGUMENT IN SUPPORT OF ISSUES MUST BE TRACED TO THE ISSUES

It must be emphasised that issues for determination in an appeal must arise from the grounds of appeal filed by the appellant. Equally arising from this statement of the law is that the arguments in support of the issues must be traced to the issues and the grounds of appeal from which such issues were framed. I say no more.

— Mohammed, JSC. C.S.S. Bookshops v. Muslim Community & Ors. (2006) – SC.307/2001

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WHEN FRESH ISSUE WILL NOT BE ENTERTAINED

The general rule, on fresh point or issue in this Court, is that it will not be entertained if this Court had not the benefit of the views of the Justices of the Court below: see FADIORA v. GBADEBO (1998) 3 SC 219; ENANG v. ADU (1981) 11 – 12 SC 25; ADEGOKE MOTORS v. ADESANYA (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt.109) 250, etc.

– Ejembi, JSC. GTB v. Innoson (2017) – SC.694/2014(R)

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