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ISSUE REFORMULATED BY COURT MUST BE ROOTED IN THE GROUNDS OF APPEAL

Dictum

I have no doubt at all, that a court has the inherent power, in the interest of justice, to reject, modify or re-frame issues distilled for the determination of a case before it. However, the exercise of this power is not open ended or limitless, the issue so formulated must be rooted in the grounds of appeal, the Court must ensure that any issue so modified, or re-formulated comes within the ambit of the complaint contained in the grounds of appeal.

– Tijjani Abubakar, JSC. Nwobike v. FRN (2021)

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AN ISSUE IS A POINT IN DISPUTE BETWEEN TWO PARTIES – COURT CAN REFORMULATE ISSUE

What then is “an issue”? An issue is a point in dispute between two or more parties. In an appeal, it may take the form of a separate and discrete question of law or fact or a combination of both. In other words, an issue is a point that has arisen in the pleadings of the parties which forms the basis of the dispute or litigation which requires resolution by a trial court. See Black’s Law Dictionary. Ninth (9) Edition, page 907, Metal Construction (WA) Ltd. V. Milgliore & Ors (Vice Versa) (1990) 1 NWLR (pt.126) 299; (1990) 2 SCNJ 20; Egbe V. Alhaji & 2 ors (1990) 1 NWLR (Pt.128) 546 (1990) 3 SCNJ 41, Ishola V. Ajiboye (1998) NWLR (Pt.532) 91. However, where a court finds that there is proliferation of issues or the issues formulated or posed for determination are clumsy or not clear, a court is empowered to reformulate issues in an appeal. This is to give the issue or issues distilled by a party or the parties precision and clarity. See; Okoro V. The State (1988) 12 SC 191, (1988) 12 SCNJ 1911 Latinde & Anor V. Bella Lajunfin (1989) 5 SC 59, (1989) 5 SCNJ 59, Awojugbagbe Light Industries Ltd. V. P. N. Chinukwe & Anor (1995) 4 NWLR (pt.390) 379, (1995) 4 SCNJ 162, Lebile V. The Registered Trustees of Cherubim & Seraphin Church of Zion of Nigeria, Ugola & 3 Ors (2003) 2 SCM 39, (2003) 1 SCNJ 463.

— O. Ariwoola, JSC. African Intl. Bank Ltd. v Integrated Dimensional System (2012) – SC.278/2002

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DUTY OF APPELLATE COURT TO CONSIDER ALL ISSUES

Generally, it is the duty of an appellate court to consider all issues placed before it for determination. But where the court is of the view that a consideration of one of the issues is enough to dispose of the appeal, it is not under any obligation to consider all the other issues posed for determination. See Onochie V. Odoewu (2006) 2 SCM 95, (2006) 2 SCNJ 1.

— O. Ariwoola, JSC. African Intl. Bank Ltd. v Integrated Dimensional System (2012) – SC.278/2002

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WHERE FRESH ISSUE IS TO BE RAISED LEAVE OF COURT MUST BE SOUGHT

Need I remind the Appellant’s counsel that it is still a valid general principle that where a party seeks to raise a fresh issue on appeal, as he tried to do in this appeal, he must seek the leave of Court. Where he fails to do so, the issue, which ipso facto is rendered incompetent, would be liable to be struck out.

– A. Aboki JSC. Obi v. Uzoewulu (2021)

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ISSUE MUST ARISE FROM GROUNDS OF APPEAL

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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ISSUE MUST FLOW FROM GROUND OF APPEAL

‘The law is that, an issue for determination must flow from and be supported by a ground of appeal. see Jimoh Garuba v. Isiaka Yahaya (2007) 1 SCNJ 352; Khaled Chami v. UBA Plc (2010) 2 SCNJ 23 at P.36.’

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

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COURT OF APPEAL SHOULD CONSIDER ALL ISSUES

It is trite law that an appeal court must consider all issues for determination raised before it except where it is of the view that a consideration of one or more issues is enough to dispose of the appeal. In such a situation, the court may adopt such issues as may dispose of the appeal and may not be bound to consider all the other Issues he considers irrelevant and unnecessary.

— M.A. Danjuma JCA. Folorunsho Ogboja v. Access Bank Plc (CA/AK/38/2013, 18 MAY 2015)

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