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CONTRADICTIONS IN APPLICANT’S OWN AFFIDAVIT

Dictum

Based on the above findings, the applicant cannot be heard to contend that the court below did not exercise its discretion judicially and judiciously. With the inconsistent, dishonest and woolly averments in the affidavits of the applicant, no reasonable tribunal could have granted his application. The court below was even charitable to him to have gone into the merits of the application … The applicant having contradicted himself on very serious and important issues of fact in his application which bordered on dishonesty, should not have turned round to complain. He did not approach the court with clean hands and those averments disqualified him from the exercise of the court’s discretion in his favour.

— Ogwuegbu, JSC. Momah v VAB Petro (2000) – SC. 183/1995

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AFFIDAVIT WHICH CONTAINS ARGUMENT WILL BE STRUCK OUT

In this case, the first part of the said paragraph 7c [of Applicants’ affidavit], reads as follows – “The condemnation of the Appellant’s Counsel as unprofessional, disrespectful, dishonest, discourteous, without hearing him is contrary to Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and thus null and void. See the Supreme Court case of BELLO V. INEC & ANOR. (2010) LPELR-767 (SC), page 78, paras. D-F, the Court held that ‘A court has inherent power to set aside its judgment or order where it has become so obvious that it was fundamentally defective or given without jurisdiction. In such a case, the Judgment or Order given becomes null and void, thus liable to be set aside’.
Is this paragraph 7c in the Applicants’ Affidavit in the form of evidence? Obviously not; it is a legal argument or conclusion, which offends against Section 115 (2) of the Evidence Act 201, and it is, therefore, struck out.

— A.A. Augie, JCA. Elias v Ecobank (2016) – CA/L/873/2013

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DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AFFIDAVIT & A STATEMENT ON OATH

✓ In OKPA v. IREK & ANOR (2012) LPELR-CA/C/NAEA/289/2011, the Court laid a strong brick we can safely stand on: ”… that a witness statement on oath is different from an affidavit evidence. An affidavit is a statement of fact which the maker or deponent swears to be true to the best of his knowledge. It is a court process in writing deposing to facts within the knowledge of the deponent. It is documentary evidence which the court can admit in the absence of any unchallenged evidence. Akpokeniovo vs. Agas (2004) 10 NWLR pt 881 page 394. On the contrary a witness statement is not evidence. It only becomes evidence after the witness is sworn in court and adopts his witness statement. At this stage at best it becomes evidence in chief. It is thereafter subjected to cross examination after which it becomes evidence to be used by the Court. If the opponent fails to cross examine the witness, it is taken as the true situation of facts contained there in.” Per NDUKWE-ANYANWU, J.C.A. (P. 9, Paras. C-G)

✓ SAMUEL LAMBERT & ANOR vs CHIEF A.S.B.C.OKUJAGU (2015) ALL FWLR (PART 808) Pp 665 – 666 paras E-A thus: “ … it is therefore very certain that even the rules of court admit that affidavit and statement of witness on oath are distinct and different from the other. The form of an affidavit under the Evidence Act is well specified by law. See section 117 and 118 of the Evidence Act 2011. There is no law that specified that all sworn documents or Oaths must comply with the provisions of the Evidence Act as relates to affidavit. It is therefore not a valid argument to say that sworn deposition or statement of witness under the civil procedure rules must accord with the form of an affidavit … ”

“There is no law that specified that all sworn documents or oaths must comply with the provisions of the Evidence Act as relates to affidavits. It is therefore not a valid argument to say that sworn deposition or statement of witnesses under the civil procedure rules must accord with the form of an affidavit”

“… the innovation of filing written statements on oath of witnesses to be called in a civil case is a very good proactive and progressive innovation of our learned drafts-men. The import is not to clone an affidavit or set up parallel affidavits evidence. The import is to reduce the time expended in taking notes from witnesses in court and by extension, reduce the stress of the trial judges whose lot it is within our jurisdiction and adjudicatory clime to record in long hand viva voce evidence of witnesses. The rules of the High Court do not intend to encrust the written statement on oath with the formal garb of an affidavit as tailored by Section 107 to 120 of the Evidence Act 2011. We must therefore be watchful not to upload written statements on oath simply devised by the civil procedure rules with the burden required to be borne by an affidavit under the Evidence Act.”

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ANY DEPOSITION NOT CHALLENGED IN AFFIDAVIT IS DEEMED ADMITTED

In the said suit leading to the instant appeal, there is the said counter-affidavit of the Respondent which is a part of the Records. It is now settled that affidavit evidence, constitutes evidence and any deposition therein not challenged, is deemed admitted. See the cases of Ajomale v. Yaduat & anor. (No.2) (1991) 5 NWLR (Pt.191) 226 @ 282-283; (1991) 5 SCNJ. 178 and Magnusson v. Koikoi (l993) 12 SCNJ 114.

— F. Ogbuagu JSC. Stephens Eng. Ltd. v. S.A. Yakubu (2009) – SC.153/2002

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NOT ALL UNCONTRADICTED AVERMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED BY THE COURT

✓ In B.B.B. Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Vs A.C-Bc Ltd (2004} 2 NWLR (Pt. 858) 527@ 550551 F-A, per Pats-Acholonu, JSC as follows: although it is the general rule that uncontradicted evidence from which reasonable people can draw but one conclusion may not ordinarily be rejected by the court but must be accepted as true; it is also true to say that the court is not in all the circumstances bound to accept as true testimony an evidence that is uncontradicted where it is willfully or corruptly false, incredible, improbable or sharply falls below the standard expected in a particular case.

✓ It was held in R-Benkay (Nig) Ltd. v. Cadbury (Nig) Pie. (2012) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1306) 596 @ 624 C – per Peter-Odili, JSC, inter alia, as follows: “… it is not fl fait accompli that once there are averments in an affidavit which are not controverted the result would be a favourable disposition to the position of the party who had proffered the disposition. This is so because all averments must go under the surgical knife of evaluation which is done by the court as a matter of duty to see its acceptability as happened in this case. See also: Gonzee (Nig) Ltd Vs NERDC (2005) 13 NWLR (Pt. 943) 634@ 650 D, cited and relied upon.

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AFFIDAVIT NOT DENIED OR POSITIVELY CONTROVERTED IS DEEMED ADMITTED

The law is now quite clear on the fact that, an affidavit not denied or positively controverted, is deemed to be admitted by the adverse party. And to deny an affidavit, the adverse party does not have to speak in tongues or in subterfuge, as he is required to deny the averment frontally and positively, leaving the court or any reader of his denial not in doubt of his adverse position to the one advanced or canvassed in the supporting affidavit. See the case of Hon. Maryati Audu Dogan & Ors. vs. A.G. Taraba State, an unreported decision of this court in CA/J/243/2010, delivered on 25/5/2011, pages 35 – 36 thereof. It is settled law that an affidavit evidence constitutes evidence and any deposition not challenged is deemed admitted. H.S. Engineering Ltd. vs. A.S. Yakubu Ltd. (2002) 175 LRCN 134, ratio 2, Ajomale vs. Yaduat (1991) 5 SCNJ 178, Nzeribe vs. Dave Engineering Co. Ltd. (1994) 2 SCNJ 161; Oyewole vs. Akande (2009) All FWLR (Pt.491) 813.

— I.G. Mbaba, JCA. Ogunleye v. Aina (2012) – CA/IL/22/2011

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PARTY IS TO SHOW HOW THE PARAGRAPHS OF AN AFFIDAVIT ARE INCONSISTENT WITH THE EVIDENCE ACT

However, where a party alleges that certain paragraphs offend the provisions of Section 115(2) of the Evidence Act, the responsibility is on that party to explain how the paragraphs of the affidavit are inconsistent with the section of the Evidence Act. It is not enough for a party to allege that certain paragraphs are inconsistent with the provisions of the Evidence Act. Learned counsel for the Respondent has failed to explain how paragraph 8 (c) and (d) constitute argument and conclusion. I therefore discountenance learned senior counsel’s argument on that score.

— 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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