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INTERMEDIATE COURT SHOULD PRONOUNCE ON ALL ISSUES

Dictum

This approach is in keeping with the advice often given by this Court that where a Court is not the final Court on the subject matter, it should endeavour to proffer an opinion on all the issues submitted to it so that the appellate Court would have the benefit of the Court’s reasoning in the event that it does not agree with the position of the Court on the issue of competence, jurisdiction, locus standi, etc.

— K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun, JSC. MTN v. Corporate (2019) – SC.674/2014

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PROPER APPROACH TO ISSUES OF FACT

In Adeyeye v. Ajiboye (1987) 3 N.W.L.R. (Pt.61) 432 at p.451, I referred to what I thought was the proper approach to the issues of fact and findings of fact by trial Courts viz: “The proper approach for any trial court is first set out the claim or claims; then the pleadings, then the Issues arising from those pleadings. Having decided on the issues in dispute the trial Judge will then consider the evidence in proof of each issue, then decide on which side to believe and this has got to be a belief based on the preponderance of credible evidence and the probabilities of the case. After this the trial Judge will then record his logical and consequential findings of fact. It is after such a finding that the trial court can then discuss the applicable law against the background of his findings of fact.”

— Oputa JSC. Onwuka & Ors. V. Ediala & Anor. (SC.18/1987, 20 January 1989)

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ISSUE CANVASSED BELOW CAN BE DECIDED BY SUPREME COURT EVEN IF NOT APPEALED

There is however an aspect which offends against the provisions of our Constitution relating to the guaranteed freedom of association. There is no ground of appeal before us by the appellant or a cross-appeal by the respondent covering this point. However, the issue was canvassed in the court below. Unfortunately, the court below expressed no opinion on it. This Court can in exercise of its powers under Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act, Cap. 424 decide the issue.

– Karibe-Whyte JSC. Agbai v. Okogbue (1991) – SC 104/1989

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JUDGEMENT MUST BE CONFINED TO PARTIES ISSUES

This is because it is a fundamental principle of the determination of disputes between parties that judgment must be confined to the issues raised by the parties and it is not competent for the court to make a case for either or both of the parties and then proceed to give judgment on the case so formulated contrary to the case of the parties.

– Iguh, JSC. Oshatoba v. Olujitan (2000)

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TRIAL COURT HAS A DUTY TO DECIDE ALL ISSUES ARISING

Adjudication in our courts is our human attempt, (however imperfect), circumscribed as it is by our human limitations, to do justice between the parties before the court. It is of the essence of justice and fairness that cases are decided on their merits. This imposes a duty on the trial judge to consider all the issues arising between the parties before deciding for or against any such party. When a trial court fails in this duty he has merely decided half the case and not the whole case.

– Oputa JSC. OLUFOSOYE v. OLORUNFEMI (1989)

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AN APPEAL COURT CAN FORMULATE AN ISSUE – RELATEABLE TO THE GROUND OF APPEAL

From the furore of the complaints of the appellant which seem more academic than based on legal principles, it needs be restated that the Court of Appeal has a wide unfettered discretionary power to formulate its own issues in the interest of Justice, provided they relate to the grounds of appeal and flow therefrom. Stated in other words, an Appeal Court can formulate its own issues where in its opinion, the issues formulated by the parties would not justify or equitably dispose off the appeal before it. Further still, an Appeal Court can also with in the same manner, prefer or adopt the issue or issues formulated by any of the parties to an appeal where same would enable it do justice to the appeal.

– M. Peter-Odili, JSC. Makanjuola v. State (2021)

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SUPERFLUOUS AND OVERLAPPING ISSUES ARE NOT NECESSARY

The issues formulated by the parties are needlessly overlapping and superfluous in several aspects. The Appellants formulated twelve (12) issues for determination when in actual fact the contention in this appeal appears straightforward. On their part, the Respondents formulated seven (7) issues with inelegant verbosity. This is not necessary in a Court as busy as the Supreme Court, perhaps any Court at all.

— S.D. Bage, JSC. Onyekwuluje v Animashaun (2019) – SC.72/2006

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