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ISSUE MUST ARISE FROM GROUNDS OF APPEAL

Dictum

It suffices to state, firstly, that an appellate court can only hear and decide on issues raised on the grounds of appeal filed before it and an issue not covered by any ground of appeal is incompetent and will be struck out. – Iguh, JSC. Oshatoba v. Olujitan (2000)

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GROUNDS MUST BE FROM RATIO DECIDENDI

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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A RESPONDENT CANNOT FRAME ISSUE OUTSIDE THE APPELLANT’S GROUNDS, EXCEPT CROSS-APPEAL

My close study of 1st respondent’s brief shows that it is only the first issue that is covered by ground three of the appellant’s notice of appeal. Hence the second and third issues formulated by the 1st respondent do not arise from any of the grounds of appeal. A respondent who does not cross-appeal or file a respondent’s notice cannot frame issue outside the grounds of appeal filed by the appellant. Indeed, none of the last two issues for determination as formulated by the 1st respondent has any relevance to the grounds of appeal. In Atanda v. Ajani (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt. 111) 511 at 543-544 the Supreme Court per Nnaemeka –Agu, JSC held: “This court has stated a number of times that a respondent’s primary duty is to support the judgment appealed against by showing that the contentions of the appellant as to the grounds of errors are without merit. Also, as they have not cross-appealed, they cannot formulate issues as it were, in nubibus – hanging in the skies. They can only either adopt the issue as formulated by the appellants based on the grounds of appeal before court or, at best, recast them by giving them a slant favourable to the respondent’s point of view, but without departing from the complaint’s raised by the grounds of appeal.” See also Idika v. Erisi (1988) 2 NWLR (Pt. 78) 563, 579, 580.

— S. Galadima, JCA. Jadesimi & Anor. v. Egbe (2003)

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DEFINITION OF A COMPETENT GROUND OF APPEAL

Aregbesola v. Oyinlola (2001) 9 NWLR (Pt 1253) 627 which states “A ground of appeal is a statement by a party aggrieved with the decision of a Court, complaining that the Court from which the appeal is brought made a mistake in the finding of facts or application of the law to certain set of facts. A ground of appeal is the complaint of the appellant against the judgment of the Court. Such a complaint must be based on the live issue or issue in controversy in the suit once it is succinctly couched and the parties understood and appreciate the meaning of the contents thereof, such a ground of appeal will not be incompetent merely because it is technically defective.”

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GROUNDS OF APPEAL DISMISSED WHERE NO ISSUE DRAWN

Indeed, there is no disputing the submission of the respondent that grounds 4 and 5 of the grounds of appeal are abandoned, no issues really having been drawn from those grounds. – Peter-Odili JSC. Chemiron v. Stabilini (2018)

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PARTICULARS NOT NECESSARY WHERE COMPLAINT OF GROUND IS CLEAR

Where the complaint on a ground of law is clear and succinct, particulars may equate to repetition which is undesirable. Substantial justice must now have pre-eminence over technicality. See: Odoniyi v. Oyeleke (2001) SC 194 at 198; Nwosu v. Imo State Environmental Sanitation Authority (1990) 2 NWLR (pt. 688) 717.

— Fabiyi, JSC. Best Ltd. v. Blackwood Hodge (2011) – SC

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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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