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EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE NOT TO CONTRADICT WRITTEN INSTRUMENT

Dictum

Generally, where parties to an agreement have set out the terms thereof in a written document, extrinsic evidence is not admissible to add to, vary from, or contradict the terms of the written instrument.

– Augie JSC. Bank v. TEE (2003)

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WHERE EVIDENCE IS CONTRADICTING, ALL SHOULD BE REJECTED

It is well settled that where prosecution witnesses have given conflicting conversions of material facts in issue that the trial Judge before whom such evidence as led must make specific findings on the point and in so doing must give reasons rejecting one version and accepting the other. Unless this is done it will be very unsafe for the court to rely on any of the incidence before it. The proper course in the circumstance is to reject both versions of the evidence as unreliable and unsafe for the purpose of determining the material issue before the court. See: Onubogu v. The State (1974) 9 S.C. 1; Albert Ikem v. The State (1985) WLR (Pt. 2) 378.

— Opene JCA. JIMOH ABDULLAHI & Ors. v THE STATE (1995) – CA/K/180/C/94

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EVERY RELEVANT EVIDENCE IS ADMISSIBLE

Once a piece of evidence is relevant, it is admissible in evidence irrespective of how it was obtained.

– M.L. Garba JCA. Odogwu v. Vivian (2009) – CA/PH/345/05

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PRINCIPLES WHICH APPELLATE COURTS SHOULD CONSIDER IN THE EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE

And that takes me to the principles which an Appellate Court should consider in the evaluation of evidence by the trial Judge: 1. Evaluation of trial evidence is the primary responsibility of the trial court and so an Appellate Court cannot interfere just for the asking by an appellant. 2. An Appellate Court will however evaluate the evidence before the court if the trial court fails to do so; and this is from the Record. 3. An Appellate Court will also evaluate the evidence before the court if the trial court failed to evaluate the evidence properly in the sense that the evaluation is perverse. And so, the evaluation of evidence, though the primary responsibility of the trial court, is not the exclusive preserve of that court. It becomes so only where the evaluation is borne out from the evidence before the court.

— Niki Tobi, JSC. Buhari v. INEC (2008) – SC 51/2008

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THE MERE REGISTRATION OF A DOCUMENT DOES NOT IPSO FACTO GIVES POWER TO IT

Thus, mere possession of a Power of Attorney does not tantamount to valid title to the land. I am not discounting the fact that the said Exhibit P1 was registered as No. 3 on Page 3 in Volume 221 of the Lands Registry in Awka. However, the registration of a document does not confer any legitimacy or validity to it if it had no power to convey anything ab initio. See Akpene v. Barclays Bank (1977) NSCC (Vol. II) 29 at 36; Rockonoh Property v. Nitel (2001) 7 SCNJ 225 at 248-250.

— H.M. Ogunwumiju JCA. Osakwe V. Nwokedi & Anor. (CA/E/168/2014, 13 July 2018)

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PARTIES BOUND BY PLEADINGS – EVIDENCE NOT PLEADED

It is elementary law that parties are bound by their pleadings and facts not pleaded will go to no issue. In other words, evidence on facts not pleaded will not avail the party relying on the evidence.

– Niki Tobi JSC. Okonkwo v. Cooperative Bank (2003)

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THE COURT HAS A DUTY TO ACT ON UNCHALLENGED AND UNCONTROVERTED EVIDENCE

It is settled that the Court has a duty to act on unchallenged and uncontroverted evidence. See: BRONWEN ENERGY TRADING CO.LTD v OAN OVERSEAS AGENCY (NIG) LTD (2022) LPELR-57307(SC) at page 31, paras. B-C; and OGUNYADE v OSHUNKEYE & ANOR (2007) LPELR-2355(SC) at pages 22 – 23, paras. B F.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. Peter Obi & Anor. v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/03/2023

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