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APPEAL ON FINDING OF FACT REQUIRES LEAVE OF COURT

Dictum

The above finding complained of being a finding of fact, it is settled law that for the appellants to successfully appeal against the finding, they must first of all obtain the leave of either the lower court or of this court. It would have been otherwise if the complaint was purely a complaint of error in law. It is clear from the record that appellants never obtained the leave of either the lower court or of this court to appeal on the facts so ground 1 of the grounds of appeal in so far as it is a complaint against the findings of facts is incompetent and is consequently liable to be struck out.

– WS Onnoghen, JSC. Calabar CC v. Ekpo (2008)

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APPELLATE COURT RARELY INTERFERES WITH TRIAL COURT’S FINDING

The law is settled that on issues of facts, evaluation of evidence and the credibility of witnesses are matters within the exclusive competence and domain of the trial Court. See CHIEF FRANK EBA v. CHIEF WARRI OGODO & ANOR. (1984) 12 SC 133 at 176; DANIEL SUGH v. THE STATE (1988) NWLR (pt.77) 475. Where the trial Court finds a witness credible and believable, unless the appellant shows evidence that renders that stance perverse the appellate Court rarely interferes with that finding.

— E. Eko, JSC. Kekong v State (2017) – SC.884/2014

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WHAT IS A PERVERSE FINDING?

A perverse finding is when it runs against and counter to the evidence led and the pleadings of the parties or where it has been shown that the trial judge took into consideration or account of matters which he ought not to have taken into account or shuts his eyes to the obvious. See: Akinloye v. Eyiola (1968) NWLR 92; Isah Onu and Ors v. Ibrahim Idu and Ors (2006) 6 SCNJ 23 at Pg. 45-46.

— T.S. YAKUBU, JCA. Fayose v ICN (2012) – CA/AE/58/2010

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WHERE FINDING OF COURT NOT APPEALED

The law is that a finding or holding of a Court, not appealed against or challenged, remains binding and conclusive. – Mbaba JCA. Aduba v. Aduba (2018)

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FINDING OF FACT WILL BE DISTURBED WHEN PERVERSE

It is elementary law that needs no citation of any authority that an appellate court shall not disturb any finding of fact unless the finding is found to be perverse or cannot be justified having regard to the pleadings and the evidence led.

– Musdapher, JSC. Atta v. Ezeanah (2000)

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ONLY IN EXCEPTIONAL CASES WILL COURT INTERFERE IN FINDINGS OF FACT

When the appeal is predicated on the question of facts, concurrently found by the Courts below, the attitude of this Court is well settled. This Court will not interfere with those findings of facts except when appellant shows special or exceptional circumstances justifying the interference. Such special or exceptional circumstances include the showing either that there was miscarriage of justice; or a serious violation of some principles of substantive or procedural law; or that the findings of fact are perverse, in the sense that they do not at all flow from the totality of the evidence at the trial and or that the findings are unreasonable. See ENANG v. ADU (1981) 11-12 SC 25 at 42; LOKOYI v. OLOJO (1983) 8 SC 61 at 73; OJOMU v. AJAO (1983) 9 SC 22 at 53; IBODO v. ENAROFIA (1980) 5-7 SC 42; AKAYEPE v. AKAYEPE (2009) 11 NWLR (pt. 1152) 217 SC. Notwithstanding this stance of this Court, this Court is still being perpetually inundated by appeals predicated solely on concurrent findings of facts by Courts below to this Court. The connivance of legal practitioners in this regard cannot be ruled out; particularly by those desperately wanting to make up their qualifying appearances in this Court to enable them apply for the award of the privilege of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. The sooner the balance between this privilege and the congestion in, or the work load of, this Court was struck the better for this Court and those seeking to be conferred the privilege. I say no more for now.

— E. Eko, JSC. Galadima v. State (2017) – SC.70/2013

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INTERFERING WITH FINDINGS OF FACT

I agree with the law that an appellate court should not interfere with the findings of fact by a trial court once the findings are based on the evidence upon the pleading of the parties. The appellate court can however interfere where the trial court failed to inter alia make findings or arrived at inconsistent findings on a crucial issue raised by the parties.

– Onnoghen JCA. Union Bank v. Akinrinmade (1999)

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