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PARTY IS TO SHOW HOW THE PARAGRAPHS OF AN AFFIDAVIT ARE INCONSISTENT WITH THE EVIDENCE ACT

Dictum

However, where a party alleges that certain paragraphs offend the provisions of Section 115(2) of the Evidence Act, the responsibility is on that party to explain how the paragraphs of the affidavit are inconsistent with the section of the Evidence Act. It is not enough for a party to allege that certain paragraphs are inconsistent with the provisions of the Evidence Act. Learned counsel for the Respondent has failed to explain how paragraph 8 (c) and (d) constitute argument and conclusion. I therefore discountenance learned senior counsel’s argument on that score.

— P.A. Galinje JSC. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Anor. (SC.535/2013(R), 23 June 2017)

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HOW TO DETERMINE IF AN AFFIDAVIT CONTAINS ARGUMENT OR CONCLUSIONS

Bamaiyi V. State (2001) 8 NWLR (Pt 715) 270 at 289 that “The test – – is to examine each of the paragraphs deposed to in the Affidavit to ascertain whether it is fit only as a submission, which counsel ought to urge upon the Court. If it is, then it is likely to be either an objection or legal argument, which ought to be pressed in oral argument; or it may be conclusion upon an issue, which ought to be left to the discretion of the Court either to make a finding or to reach a decision upon through its process of reasoning. But if it is in the form of evidence, which a witness may be entitled to place before the Court in his testimony on oath and is legally receivable to prove or disprove some fact in dispute, then it qualifies as a statement of facts and circumstances, which may be deposed to in an Affidavit. It, therefore, means that prayers, objections and legal arguments are matters that may be pressed by counsel in Court and are not fit for a witness either in oral testimony or in affidavit evidence; while conclusions should not be drawn by witnesses but left for the Court to reach.”

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NO LAW PRESENTLY PROHIBITS A COUNSEL FROM DEPOSING TO AN AFFIDAVIT

The preliminary point raised by the Petitioner/Respondent that the motion of the 3 rd Respondent be dismissed, because the affidavit in support is sworn to by a legal practitioner in the law firm of counsel representing the 3 rd Respondent, is not sustainable. Our simple answer to this, is that there is no law that prohibits a counsel from deposing to an affidavit, if the counsel is conversant with the facts, or where the facts are within his personal knowledge. See the case of SODIPO VS LEMMINKAINEM (1986) 1 NWLR (PART 15) 220. In view of this, the motion of the 3 rd Respondent cannot be dismissed for the aforesaid reason.

— A. Osadebay, J. APC v INEC & Ors. (EPT/KN/GOV/01/2023, 20th Day of September, 2023)

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ORAL EVIDENCE WILL BE ALLOWED FOR IRRECONCILABLE AFFIDAVITS

It is in exceptional cases for example where there are irreconcilable affidavits from both sides, that oral evidence will be allowed to be led in support of interlocutory application (see Falobi v. Falobi (1976) 9-10 S.C. 15, Eboh & Ors. v. Oki & Ors. (1974) 1 SC. 179), Uku & Ors. v. Okumagba & Ors. (1974) 3 SC. 35) unlike pleadings which will have to be supported by evidence at the trial as stated earlier.

– Kutigi JSC. Magnusson v. Koiki (1993) – SC.119/1991

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AVERMENTS IN PLEADINGS VERSUS AVERMENTS IN AFFIDAVIT; ADDRESS OF COUNSEL NOT EVIDENCE

Averments of facts in pleadings must however be distinguished from facts deposed to in an affidavit in support of an application before a court. Whereas the former, unless admitted, constitute no evidence, the latter are by law evidence upon which a court of law may in appropriate cases act. The Court of Appeal, if I may say with the utmost respect, appeared to be under the erroneous impression that an averment in pleadings is synonymous with a deposition in an affidavit in support of an application. This is clearly not the case. So too, an address of Counsel in moving an application is not the evidence in support of such an application. The evidence is the deposition contained in the affidavit in support thereof.

— Iguh JSC. Magnusson v. Koiki (1993) – SC.119/1991

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ANY DEPOSITION IN AFFIDAVIT UNCHALLENGED IS DEEMED ADMITTED

IN H.S. ENGINEERING LTD VS. AS. YAKUBU LTD (2009) 175 LRCN 134, ratio 2, it was held – ‘It is now settled law that an affidavit evidence constitutes evidence and any deposition therein not challenged is deemed admitted.’ See also the unreported decision of this court in CA/IL/83/2010 (Adebiyi v. Umar), delivered on 31/1/2012, page 11.

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FAILURE OF COURT TO CONSIDER AFFIDAVIT IS A BREACH OF FAIR HEARING

In Order 6 Rules (2) and (4) of the Rules of this court, in an application for leave to appeal or for enlargement of time within which to seek leave to appeal, a respondent may, if he so desires, file in reply a counter affidavit. It follows that in considering the application for leave to appeal, the court has a duty to also consider the counter affidavit of the Respondent before arriving at a decision. Failure to consider the counter affidavit, as was done in this case is not only an irregularity but a clear denial of fair hearing to the Respondent/Applicant herein.

— J.I. Okoro JSC. Citec v. Francis (SC.116/2011, 21 February 2014)

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