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COURT REFORMULATING AN ISSUE MUST BE ROOTED IN THE GROUNDS OF APPEAL

Dictum

It follows therefore, that when reformulating the issues crafted by the contending parties, as the issues in controversy, the Court of Appeal must ensure that such re-formulated issue(s) have foundation and are rooted in the grounds of appeal contained in the notice of appeal before it. The power of the Court of Appeal is limited to reformulating issues that are capable of addressing the grievance of an appellant, who has taken all necessary steps to ventilate his grievance against the decision of a trial court, the Court of appeal has no business engaging in crafting fancy and flowery issues for determination in the abstract, employing words that are catchy and tantalizing.

– Tijjani Abubakar, JSC. Nwobike v. FRN (2021)

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COURT CANNOT CONSIDER AN ISSUE NOT PLACED BEFORE IT

The settled position of the law is that when an issue is not placed before the court for discourse, the Court has no business whatsoever delving into it and dealing with it. A court of law has no business whatsoever delving into issues that are not properly placed before it for resolution, a Court of law has no business being overgenerous and open-handed, dishing out unsolicited reliefs, a Court of law is neither father Christmas granting unsolicited reliefs, nor Knight errant looking for skirmishes all about the place, a Court of law as an impartial arbiter must confine its self to the reliefs sought and the issues before it submitted for resolution.

– Tijjani Abubakar, JSC. Nwobike v. FRN (2021)

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ISSUES RAISED BUT NOT RESPONDED TO IS ADMITTED

The consequence of failing to respond to the adversary’s submissions on pivotal issues was amply stated by this Court, in Alhaji M. K. Gujba V. First Bank Of Nigeria Plc & Anor (2011) LPELR 8971 (CA) per Obande Ogbuinya JCA at Pages 42-43 Para B-A, where His Lordship held: “The learned Counsel for the Respondents, in his infinite wisdom, did not respond to the submissions of the learned counsel for the Appellant on this point. In law, that is a costly failure. The telling effect of that failure to answer to the Appellant’s counsel’s submissions is that the Respondents are deemed to have admitted them. On this principle of law, I draw on the case of NWANKWO v. YAR’ADUA (2010) 12 NWLR (pt.1209) 518 at 586, where Onnoghen, JSC, held:- ‘It is clear from the issues formulated and argued by learned senior counsel for the 1st and 2nd Respondents in their brief of argument do not include argument on appellant’s said issue No. 8. It is settled law that where an opponent fails or neglects to counter any argument or issue validly raised in the brief of argument or during oral presentation, the issue not so contested is deemed conceded by the defaulting party. I therefore, in the circumstance, hold that the 1st and 2nd Respondents by not reacting to the issue in question, have conceded the issue as formulatedand argued by the learned counsel for the Appellant.’ It follows that the Respondents played into the hands of the Appellant, on this issue, when they failed to join issues with the arguments of the Appellant therein. This omission, whether intention or inadvertent, makes the appellant hold an ace on this issue.”

— O. Adefope-Okojie, JCA. Kanu v FRN (2022) – CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022

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ISSUE MUST ARISE FROM A GROUND OF APPEAL

I scarcely need to repeat that every issue in an appeal must arise from one or more grounds of appeal. It is usual for one, two or more grounds of appeal to constitute an issue, not the other way round. The reverse could not have arisen if counsel had done well to remember what an issue in an appeal really is.

– Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Petroleum v. Owodunni (1991)

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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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ISSUES OF DETERMINATION ARISE FROM APPEAL GROUNDS

It is settled law that issues for determination must be distilled from grounds of appeal which ground(s) must attack the ratio decidendi of the judgment not anything said by the way, or obiter dicta or be formulated in vacuo , as issue 5 in the instant case. – Onnoghen JSC. Chami v. UBA (2010)

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JUDGEMENT CONFINED TO ISSUE RAISED

It is a well settled principle of judicial adjudication that the judgment in a lis must be confined to the cause of action and the issues raised on the pleadings See: Ochonma v. Asirim Unosi (1965) NMLR 321. The court cannot grant remedies or reliefs not claimed by the parties. – Karibe-Whyte JSC. Awoniyi v. AMORC (2000)

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