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HOW CONTENTS OF A DOCUMENT MAY BE PROVED

Dictum

Goodwill & Trust Investment Ltd & Anor. vs. Witt & Bush Ltd (2011) 8 NWLR Part 1250 page 500 at 533, where Onnoghen, J.S.C. at page 533 stated thus: “it is settled law that contents of a document can be proved in a proceeding by tendering the original documents or where the original is unavailable by a certified true copy of the said original as secondary evidence of the contents of the said original.”

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DUMPING OF DOCUMENTS ONLY GOES TO WEIGHT TO BE ATTACHED

The simple and straightforward answer to this argument is that the issue of dumping of documents on court, which expression in any case suggests that the documents so dumped are already in evidence before the court, only goes to the weight to be attached to the documents by the court. On this reasoning, this ground of the objection is rejected and overruled.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. Atiku v PDP (CA/PEPC/05/2023, 6th of September, 2023)

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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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FACTS SHOULD NOT BE IMPORTED TO A DOCUMENT

In the construction of the contents of a document a court is bound to look at the words used therein and not import facts not stated in the document except where reference is made to another document. – Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009)

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CONTENT OF DOCUMENT BINDING ON PARTIES

It is an established principle of law, that the contents of a document are binding on the party who being of full capacity appends his signature to it. He cannot thereafter resile from it or choose an alternative course. – Augie JSC. Bank v. TEE (2003)

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ONLY DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE CAN CONTRADICT DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE

However the conflict is not strong to hold his evidence is of no value when the documentary evidence speaks for itself. It is trite the best evidence to challenge documentary evidence is same Documentary evidence. – Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009)

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PARTY MUST ENDEAVOUR TO LINK DOCUMENTS TO SPECIFIC PLEADING TO AVOID DUMPING DOCUMENTS

Surprisingly the documents were dumped on the Court without any witness linking them up documents with the specific complaints of non compliance. It is settled law that despite the tendering of exhibits in proof of a Petition/case, the onus of proving the case pleaded and for which the documents were tendered in evidence, lies on the Petitioner. In the instant Petition, a lot of documents were tendered from the Bar. When a party decides to rely on documents to prove his case, there must be a link between the documents and the specific areas of the Petition. The party must relate each document to the specific areas of his case for which the documents were tendered. Failure to link the documents is fatal and catastrophic as it is in this case. The Supreme Court in the recent case of TUMBIDO V. INEC & ORS. (2023) LPELR-60004 (SC) held Per Jauro, JSC (at P.43, Paras C-F) as follows: “The practice of dumping documents on the Court without speaking to them has been deprecated by this Court on numerous occasions. No Court is entitled to conduct inquisitorial investigations into the contents of a document or purport thereof in its chambers. The Appellant ought to have called a witness to speak to the photographs and video recording before the Court. See MAKINDE V. ADEKOLA (2022) 9 NWLR (PT. 1834) 13; MAKU V. AL-MAKURA (2016) 5 NWLR (PT. 1505) 201; A.C.N. V. NYAKO (2015) 18 NWLR (PT. 1491) 352.”

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. Atiku v PDP (CA/PEPC/05/2023, 6th of September, 2023)

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