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GROUNDS MUST BE FROM RATIO DECIDENDI

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The law is trite that issues for determination must be distilled from the grounds of appeal, which must, in turn arise from the ratio decidendi of the decision appealed against. Black’s Law Dictionary (8th Edition) states clearly that the ratio decidendi of a case is the principle or rule of law upon which a court’s decision is founded. It is the reason for the decision or the reasoning, principle or ground upon which a case is decided. Put differently, the ratio decidendi of a decision can be clearly differentiated from the other parts of the decision referred to as obita dicta or obiter dictum, which simply means “something said in passing.” It is a judicial comment made while delivering a judicial opinion, but one that does not embody the decision of the court. See Oleksander & Ors v. Lonestar Drilling Company Limited & Anor (2015) LPELR-24614 (SC), (2015) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1464) 337; Daniel v. INEC (2015) LPELR – 24566 (SC); (2015) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1463) 113; Ajibola v. Ajadi (2004) 14 NWLR (Pt. 892) 14.

— Okoro, JSC. Anyanwu v. PDP (2020) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1710) 134

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NO TIME LIMIT FOR AMENDING GROUNDS OF APPEAL

Let me also add that, there is nothing in our law or rules which sets a time limit for bringing an application to amend the grounds of appeal, and the Court has a discretion to allow the amendment upon such terms as it may deem just. See IBRAHIM VS. OSHOMAH (1991) 6 NWLR (Pt.197) 286; OPARA VS. SCHLUMBERGER & ANOR (2006) 7 S.C. (Pt.III) 56.

– Bage, JSC. GTB v. Innoson (2017) – SC.694/2014(R)

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REQUIREMENT FOR INDICATION OF WHAT GROUND AN ISSUE WAS RAISED FROM

The primary purpose of the requirement that counsel should indicate from which of the grounds of an appeal issues raised in their brief of argument are derived, is to narrow and specifically identify the grounds from which such issues were distilled so as to readily show if they are valid and competent issues derived from competent grounds of the appeal. With the clear and express indication of the grounds of the appeal from which the two (2) issues raised in the Appellant’s brief, are distilled, the issues cannot reasonably be said to have been formulated from the other grounds not indicated in the issues. Beyond argument, the law still remains that grounds of appeal from which no issue was distilled or formulated (or indicated to have been distilled) are deemed abandoned.

– Garba, JCA. Dunlop v. Gaslink (2018)

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SAFEST THING IS TO APPLY FOR MIXED LAW & FACT

It is usually difficult to out rightly determine whether a ground of a law is purely one of law alone or is of mixed law and fact. Where a counsel is confronted with such difficulty, the safest thing for him to do, is to apply for leave on the ground or grounds of mixed law and facts.

— P.A. Galinje JSC. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Anor. (SC.535/2013(R), 23 June 2017)

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ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION MUST BE FORMULATED FROM GROUNDS OF APPEAL

For issues for determination formulated by the respondent to be valid, they must be distilled from the grounds of appeal. In the instant case, as the respondents’ re-formulated issues are not shown to be tied to any of the grounds of appeal filed by the appellant they are discountenanced. [Ondo State University v. Folayan (1994) 7 NWLR (Pt.354) 1; Federal College of Education v. Anyanwu (1997) 4 NWLR (Pt.501) 533 at 560 referred to].

— Adeyemo v. Ida & Ors. (1998) – CA/1/6/92

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WHAT IS A GROUND OF APPEAL?

It is settled law that a ground of appeal is basically a highlight of the error of law or fact or mixed law and fact made by the court in the decision sought to be set aside in the appeal. It is the sum total of the reason(s) why the decision on appeal is considered by learned counsel for the appellant to be wrong and liable to be set aside. It follows therefore that for a ground of appeal to be capable of achieving the purpose of setting aside the decision appealed against, it has to be very substantial and must relate to the ratio of the decision, not directed at the obiter dictum of the court or in the judgment.

– Mukhtar JSC. Nwankwo v. Ecumenical (2007)

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ISSUE NOT TIED TO A GROUND OF APPEAL IS OF NO MOMENT

Issue 1 was formulated from ground 1 while Issue 2 does not flow from any of the seven grounds of Appeal. No Issue or Issues were formulated or argued in respect of grounds 2-7 of his Notice of Appeal. A fortiori, the Appellant appears to have abandoned grounds 2-7 of his Notice of Appeal. In the same vein, Issue No. 2 is not tied to any ground of Appeal and therefore is of no moment. See Yadis Nigeria Ltd v. Great Nigeria Insurance Coy Ltd (2007) 30 NSQR (Pt. 1) page 495.

— P.O. Elechi, JCA. Onoeyo v UBN (2014) – CA/C/66/2007

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