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COURT CANNOT GRANT MORE THAN A PARTY SEEKS FOR

Dictum

It is revealed by the record and the pleadings filed by the Respondent that the relief sought by the Appellant was not contested at all. Thus, parties are bound by their pleadings. It is elementary that a Court is bound by the reliefs sought. The generosity or charity of a Court of law is confined strictly to the reliefs sought to the extent that a Court of law cannot give a party what he did not claim. That is completely outside our procedural law. The rationale behind this is that a party who comes to Court knows where the shoe pinches him and therefore knows the limits of what he wants. The Court, as an unbiased umpire, cannot claim to know the reliefs better than the party. See Per Tobi, JSC, in EAGLE SUPER PACK (NIGERIA) LTD V. ACB PLC (2006) 19 NWLR (PT 1013) 20 or (2006) LPELR (980) 1 AT 40.

— U.M. Abba Aji, JSC. Cappa v NDIC (2021) – SC.147/2006

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DEEMED & ACTUAL GRANTS OF MILITARY GOVERNOR

That there is a distinction between a deemed grant and an actual grant goes without saying. That the same incidence flows from both grants also goes without saying. In origin, a deemed grant is different from an actual grant. A deemed grant under the Land Use Act is a grant by operation of law. An actual grant is a grant made by the activities of the Military Governor under the Land Use Act. Both the actual and the deemed grants being grants the deemed grants being regarded by the law as if made by the Military Governor also become subject to legal controls as if granted by the Military Governor.

– Obaseki, JSC. Savannah v. Ajilo (1989)

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SECTION 12 OF THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT ACT PERMITS THE COURT TO BE FLEXIBLE

The very first thing a labour court understands is the difficulty of the employee accessing documents to prove his/her case. It is as a result of all of this that the NIC, as a special Court, is permitted under section 12 of the NIC Act 2006 to be flexible, informal and depart from the Evidence Act if the interest of justice so demands. The NIC realizes that section 12 of its enabling Act is not license to act anyhow. So when it comes to admissibility of especially documentary evidence, the NIC insists that once the issue of authenticity is raised, particular care must be taken to admit only documents that are authentic; and in deserving cases the NIC had refused to admit inappropriate documents even when section 12 of the NIC Act was relied on.

— B.B. Kanyip, J. Awogu v TFG Real Estate (2018) – NICN/LA/262/2013

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COURT MAY RELY ON AUTHORITIES NOT CITED BY PARTIES

T.M. Orugbo & Anor v. Bulana Una & Ors (2002) 9 SCNJ 12 at 32-33. This Court held that “A Court of law has no legal duty to confine itself only to authorities cited by the parties. It can, in an effort to improve its judgment, rely on authorities not cited by the parties. Historical books or whatever books are authorities and the Koko District Customary Court was free to make use of them in its judgment. That per se is not breach of fair hearing, not even the twin rules of natural justice. The Court is under no duty to give notice to the parties that it intends to use a particular book. That will be a ridiculous situation.”

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ROLES OF TRIAL COURT AND THAT OF COURT OF APPEAL

What was the Tribunal’s treatment of the witnesses and their evidence as placed before it? Before embarking on the exercise, I shall, firstly, remind myself of the role of this Court. Trial Courts, as their name suggests, try cases. To them belongs the reception of evidence. (Appellate Courts receive evidence only in exceptional cases and circumstances), the evaluation of such evidence, the issue of credibility or otherwise of witnesses adducing such evidence and the making of findings of fact based most times on the credibility of the witnesses – all these are matters peculiarly and comfortably in the exclusive province of the Court that sees, hears, matches and believes. See Chief Frank Ebba vs. Chief Wani Ogodo (1984) 4 S.C. 84 at Pp. 98/99; (1984) 1 SCNLR 372. It is quite a different matter when it is a matter of what inference or deduction to make from facts either as admitted or as found. In such a situation the Court of Appeal is in as a good a position as or even better than the trial court. See Benmax vs. Austin Motors (1955) A.C. 370 at p. 375.

— Nsofor, JCA. Ugo v Indiamaowei (1999) – CA/PH/EP/97/99

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TYPES OF RIGHTS OF OCCUPANCY IN THE LAND USE ACT – ACTUAL VS DEEMED GRANT

For a better appreciation of the issue, it is necessary to observe that under the Land Use Act, 1978, two types of rights of occupancy were thereby created. These comprise of Statutory right of occupancy and Customary right of occupancy. Both Statutory right of occupancy and Customary right of occupancy are of two classifications. The first is the Statutory right of occupancy granted by the State Governor pursuant to Section 5(1)(a) of the Act and the Customary right of occupancy granted by the Local Government under Section 6 (1) (a) of the Act. The second classification is the Statutory right of occupancy deemed to have been granted by the State Governor pursuant to Section 34(2) of the Act and the Customary right of occupancy deemed to have been granted by the Local Government under Section 36(2) of the Act. In both cases of Statutory and Customary rights of occupancy. Therefore, there exist an actual grant as well as a deemed, grant. An actual grant is naturally a grant made by the Governor of a State or a Local Government whilst a deemed grant comes into existence automatically by the operation of law. See Savannah Bank (Nig.) Ltd. v. Ajilo (1989) 1 NWLR (Pt. 97) 305 and Alhaji Adisa v. Emmanuel Oyinwola and Others (2000) 10 NWLR (Pt. 674) 116. It is in the light of these categories of grant that the validity of Exhibits A and B must now be examined.

— Iguh, JSC. Kyari v Alkali (2001) – SC.224/1993

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SENTIMENT HAS NO PLACE IN OUR COURTS

If I go by sentiments, having regard to the facts of this case leading to this appeal and as appear in the lead Judgment of my learned brother, Oguntade, J.S.C., I may be inclined to allow this appeal. But it is now firmly settled, that sentiments, have no place in our courts including this court. See the cases of Ezeugo v. Ohanyere (1978) 6-7 S.C. 171 @ 184; Omote & Sons Ltd. v. Adeyemo & 9 ors. (1994) 4 NWLR (Pt.336) 48 C.A. and Orhue v. NEPA (1998) 7 NWLR (Pt.557) 107; (1998) 5 SCNJ 126@ 141.

— Ogbuagu, JSC. Grosvenor v Halaloui (2009) – SC.373/2002

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