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COURT WILL ACT ON UNCHALLENGED EVIDENCE

Dictum

The law is well settled that where the evidence given by a party to any proceedings was not challenged by the opposite party who had the opportunity to do so, it is always open to the court seised of the case to act on such unchallenged evidence before it. See Isaac Omoregbe v. Daniel Lawani (1980) 3 – 4 SC 108 at 117, Odulaja v. Haddad (1973) 11 SC 357, Nigerian Maritime Services Ltd. v. Alhaji Bello Afolabi (1978) 2 SC 79 at 81, Abel Boshali v. Allied Commercial Exporters Ltd. (1961) 2 SCNLR 322, (1961) All NLR 917.

— Iguh, JSC. Olohunde v. Adeyoju (2000) – SC.15/1995

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EVIDENCE ADMITTED IS SUBJECT TO BE TESTED AND EVALUATED

The class of witnesses described as expert witnesses is well settled. It is imperative to state that every piece of evidence that has been admitted in the course of proceedings is subject to be tested for credibility, weight or cogency by the trial court before it becomes acceptable. In effect it is not merely acceptable because the witness is described as an expert and his evidence not challenged. The primary duty of the trial court is to evaluate the evidence before it is accepted whether given by an expert or not.

– Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009)

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EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE NOT ALLOWED TO VARY WRITTEN CONTRACT

The Supreme Court has held in Layade v. Panalpina (1996) 6 NWLR (Pt. 456) 544 at 558; (1996) 7 SCNJ 1 at 14-15 per Adio. J.S.C., as follows and I quote; ”The general rule is that where parties have embodied the terms of their agreement or contract in a written document, as it was done in this case, extrinsic evidence is not admissible to add to, vary, subtract from or contradict the terms of the written instrument … So, where the parties enter into a contract, they are bound by the terms of that contract and it is unfair to read into such a contract the terms on which there was no agreement.”

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JUDGE MUST EVALUATE THE EVIDENCE

The justice of a case and statutory requirements will not be met if the trial Court considers only one side of a case. Adequate consideration must be given to both sides. In discharging this duty, the Judge must evaluate all the evidence. It is not the justice of a case if the Judge, without evaluating the evidence, holds that he believes one side and disbelieves the other. Only an evaluation of the evidence will logically lead to his reasons for believing or disbelieving. However, Judges differ in style. Nevertheless, whichever style a Judge uses or adopts, the important thing is that he considers all the evidence before him by evaluation before arriving at his conclusion which is the finding.

– Sankey JCA. Abdul v. State (2021)

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EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE; INTERFERENCE BY APPELLATE COURT

It has long been established that the function of the evaluation of evidence is essentially that of the trial Court, Igago v State (1999) LPELR – 1442 (SC) 27; Onuoha V. The State [1998] 5 NWLR (pt. 548) 118. Where the trial Court has unquestionably, evaluated evidence and, justifiably, appraised the facts, it is not the business of an appellate Court to interfere, and to substitute its own views for the view of the trial Court. – Nweze JSC. Abdullahi v. Adetutu (2019)

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APPEAL COURT CAN EVALUATE DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE

Very much aware of the findings of facts by the two lower courts in this matter, I must state, all the same, that where the evidence to be evaluated is mainly documentary as here, this court is as in good a vintage position as the trial court. – Chukwuma-Eneh JSC. Yaro v. Arewa CL (2007)

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EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE CANNOT VARY WRITTEN TERMS

The general rule is that where the parties have embodied the terms of their agreement or contract in a written document as it was done in this case, extrinsic evidence is not admissible to add to, vary, subtract from or contradict the terms of the written instrument: See Mrs. O, D. Layode v Panalpina World Transport NY Ltd (1996) 6 NWLR (pt 456) 544, Glaloye v Balogun (1990) 5 NWLR (pt 148), Union Bank of Nigeria Ltd v Ozigi (1994) 3 NWLR (pt 333) 385.

— J.I. Okoro JSC. B.O. Lewis v. United Bank for Africa Plc. (SC.143/2006, 14 January 2016)

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