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ISSUES SHOULD NOT BE MORE THAN THE GROUND OF APPEAL

Dictum

The principle of law is that the grounds of appeal should in no circumstance be less than the issues for determination. Since the Respondent did not marry his issues with the grounds of appeal, I am left with one option – to strike out the Respondent’s third issue. Issue three in the Respondent’s brief is hereby struck out as it does not relate to any of grounds one or two of the appellant’s grounds of appeal. (See Omo v. JSC Delta State (2000) 7 SC (Pt. 11) page 1.

— N.S. Ngwuta, JSC. Henry Nwokearu V. The State (SC.227/2011, 24 MAY 2013)

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USE MOTION ON NOTICE TO CHALLENGE SOME OF THE GROUNDS OF APPEAL

Inspector Isa Sarki V. John Lamela (2016) LPELR — 40338 (CA), the Court of Appeal stated, “It is the law that where the purpose of an objection is merely to challenge some of the grounds of appeal and not the competence of the entire appeal, the best procedure is by way of a motion on notice since its success would not in any way terminate the entire appeal in limine. On the other hand, where the purpose of an objection is to terminate in limine the entirety of the appeal, the best procedure is by way of a notice of preliminary objection challenging the competence of the entire appeal.”

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GROUND OF APPEAL MUST BE PREMISED ON RATIO DECIDENDI OF COURT

I have looked at the short Ruling of the trial Court on pages 29 and 30 of the Records, and could see no reference in the Ruling to the concerns expressed by the Appellant in grounds (IV) and (V) of the appeal (which are also the issues (IV) and (V)). That means, the grounds (IV) and (V) and the issues, therefrom, formulated by the Appellant were completely outside the contemplation and purview or reasoning of the trial Court when it reached its conclusions. The law is trite that an appeal (the grounds and issue therefrom) must be founded on and derived from a valid complaint touching on the ratio decidendi (live issue) of the decision appealed against. See the case of Obosi Vs NIPOST (2013) LPELR -21397 CA, where it was held: “An issue for determination of appeal must flow from or predicate on the ground(s) of appeal, which, in turn, must derive from or challenge the ratio decidendi or live issue in the judgment appealed against.” See also Unilorin Vs Olwawepo (2012)52 WRN 42, held 1; Alataha Vs Asin (1999)5 NWLR (pt. 601)32; Punch Nig. Ltd. Vs Jumsum Nig. Ltd. (2011)12 NWLR pt 1260)162.

— I.G. Mbaba, JCA. Anozia v. Nnani & Anor. (2015) – CA/OW/29/2013

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WHEN GROUNDS OF APPEAL ARE ONE OF LAW

In NNPC v. FAMFA OIL LTD. (2012) 17 N.W.L.R. (Part 1328) S.C. 148, this Court, while faced with a similar objection to the grounds of appeal, went ahead to deal extensively with the criteria for identifying when a ground of appeal is one of law, of fact, or of mixed fact and law. Rhodes-Vivours J.S.C., at Pp. 175 – 176, Paragraphs C – H, as follows: “…. In Nwadike v. Ibekwe (Supra), this Court explained further that: (a) It is an error in law if the adjudicating Tribunal took into account some wrong criteria in reaching its conclusion. (b) Several issues that can be raised on legal interpretation of deeds, documents, terms of arts and inference drawn there from are grounds of law. (c) Where a ground deals merely with a matter of inference, even if it be inference of fact, a ground framed from such is a ground of law. (d) Where a tribunal states the law in point wrongly, it commits an error in law. (e) Where the complaint is that there was no evidence or no admissible evidence upon which a finding or decision was based, same is regarded as a ground of law. (f) If a Judge considers matters which are not before him and relies on them for the exercise of his discretion, he will be exercising same on wrong principles and this will be a question of law…..”

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GROUND OF APPEAL CANNOT ATTACK OBITER DICTUM

A ground of appeal must arise from the judgment appealed against and must be an attack on a ratio decidendi of the judgment and not an obiter dictum. – Ekanem JCA. C.O.P. v. Doolor (2020) – CA/MK/182/2017

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WHERE NO LEAVE OBTAINED, ISSUES AND ARGUMENTS THEREON WILL BE STRUCK OUT

It is true that once no leave was shown to have been obtained by the Appellant before filing the grounds of appeal alleging error of facts based on evidence the said grounds together with the issues distilled therefrom and the arguments proffered thereon are liable to be struck out. See Nwadike v. Ibekwe (1987) 4 NWLR (pt. 67) 718; Ogbechie v. Onochie (1986) 2 NWLR (pt. 23) 484; Ifediorah v. Ume (1988) 2 NWLR (pt. 74) 5.

— M.U. Peter-Odili, JSC. Ugo v. Ugo (2007) – CA/A/110/2007

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EASY WAY TO IDENTIFY A GROUND OF FACT FROM A GROUND OF LAW

In Enterprise Bank Ltd. v. Deaconess F. Bose Aroso & 5 ors. Suit No.166/2003 judgment delivered on the 12th of April, 2013: “Before making the distinction between grounds of law, mixed law and facts, and facts, first of all read carefully the ground of appeal and its particulars to understand thoroughly the substance of the complaint. Find out if the ground of appeal contests facts. If it does it can only be a ground of facts or mixed law and facts. Once facts are not in dispute. That is to say facts are settled, a ground of appeal can never be on facts or mixed law and facts. The ground of appeal can only complain of the wrong application of the law to settled facts and that is a ground of law. It is very easy to identify a ground of appeal on facts.”

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