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APPLICANT CAN ASK FOR ALTERNATIVE RELIEFS BY SEEKING EXTENSION OF TIME TO APPEAL

Dictum

The first issue is whether this application constitutes an abuse of Court process? I do not think that the present application constitutes an abuse of Court process. It is true that the applicant had earlier in its reply brief contended that the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th, 7th and 8th Grounds of Appeal in its amended notice of appeal are grounds of law. However, the applicant in this application is asking for alternative, in case the said grounds of appeal are not grounds of law alone. The applicant is by law permitted to ask for alternative relief by seeking for extension of time to appeal. In Xtoudos Services Nigeria Ltd and Anor v. Tarsei (W.A) Ltd and Anor (2006) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1003) 533 at 555 paras F-G, which was cited and relied upon by learned counsel for the appellant/applicant, this Court had this to say:- “It needs to be stressed that there is nothing wrong for a party in an action to include in his pleading two or more inconsistent sets of material facts and claim reliefs there under in the alternative. It is proper to do so… But once one of them is granted, the other cannot be granted…Thus where there is a claim in the alternative, the trial Court will first consider whether or not the principal or main claim ought to have succeeded. It is only after the Court may have found that it could not for any reason grant the principal claim that it would only consider the alternative claim. This is settled law.” See S.C.E.I v. Odunewo and Anor (1965) 2 ALL NLR 135; Metal Construction (W.A) Ltd. v. Chief Aboderin (1998) 6 SCNJ 161 at 170, (1998) 8 NWLR (Pt. 563) 538; Agidigbi v. Agidigbi and Ors (1996) 6 NWLR (Pt. 454) 303; Merchantile Bank of Nig. Ltd v. Adalma Tanker and Bunkering Services Ltd (1990) 5 NWLR (Pt. 153) 747; Gaji and Ors v. Paye (2003) 5 SCNJ 20 (2003) 8 NWLR (Pt. 823) 583. I am of the firm view that, since this application is merely asking for alternative, it does not constitute an abuse of the Court’s process. I therefore do not think it is necessary to go into the definition of the phrase “abuse of Court process”, since this application is not meant to insult any Court process nor is it meant to annoy the applicant’s opponents. The application is made to regularize an existing process.

— P.A. Galinje JSC. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Anor. (SC.535/2013(R), 23 June 2017)

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COURT SHOULD NOT AWARD RELIEFS NOT CLAIMED BY PARTIES

DUMEZ (NIG) LTD VS NWAKAOBA & ORS. (2009) 12 S.C.M. (PT 2) 504 at 517 – 518 where the Supreme Court held that:- “It is both fundamental and elementary principle in the determination of actions before a court or tribunal, that the adjudicating body is bound to limit itself to the claims before it. A court may indeed make incidental orders which flow naturally from the relief claimed. However a court has no power and is not under any circumstances entitled to award a relief not claimed by the party in the writ of summons and the statement of claim.”

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COURT IS BOUND WITHIN THE RELIEFS CLAIMED

The Appellant having so formulated and claimed the desired paregoric as the relief from the Court, the Court, the Appellant and all the parties became bound by the relief as framed as it is not the duty of the Court to grant any relief outside what had been claimed.

– Ogakwu, J.C.A. Fijabi v. FBN (2021)

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PRAYERS NOT OPPOSED IN A MOTION WILL MOVE IN SMOOTHLY

Let me say in this ruling that it is only necessary to consider the facts A deposed to by parties in their affidavit evidence and counsel’s argument with respect to only prayer 7 as respondent’s counsel is not opposing prayers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8. Appellant/applicant’s counsel had also indicated that he was not pursuing prayers 5, 9 and 10.

— Oguntade, JSC. UBA v BTL (SC. 301/2003, 15 April 2005)

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DECLARATORY RELIEF IS A DISCRETIONARY REMEDY

Besides, a declaratory claim, as in the present case, is a discretionary remedy which shall be refused where the plaintiff fails to establish his alleged entitlement to the satisfaction of the court.

– Iguh, JSC. Clay v. Aina (1997)

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A COURT SHOULD NOT GRANT TO A PARTY RELIEF NOT ASKED FOR

He could not, rightly have raised it himself in his judgment and without hearing the parties proceeded to strike out the case on that ground. It is of material significance that counsel for the defence never asked for such a remedy. I cannot over-emphasize the fact that on no account should a court give to a party a remedy he has not asked for. If it does so, it cannot escape the accusation of playing “father Christmas” to one party visa-vis the other. See: Nigerian Housing Development Society Ltd. v. Mumuni (1977) 2 S.C. 57, at p. 81; Ekpenyong & Ors. v. Nyong & Ors. (1975) 2 S.C. 71, at p. 80.

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

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A RELIEF DOES NOT STAND IN ISOLATION TO AVERMENTS IN THE PLEADINGS

I find this contention as highly misconceived and this is because a relief does not in law stand in isolation from the averments of the party seeking the reliefs and in my view relief no. 6 is rather clearly in tandem with the averment in paragraph 39 of the 1st – 4th Respondent Statement of Claim to the effect that the transaction between the 2nd-4th Respondents and the 1st Respondent in respect of their shares in the 5th Respondent was one of consolidation of their shares for effective management by the 1st Respondent.

— B.A. Georgewill JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Ors. (CA/L/427/2016, 9 Mar 2018)

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