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PRELIMINARY OBJECTION NOT ARGUED IS DEEMED ABANDONED

Dictum

It is on record that on the day of hearing this appeal, both the Respondent and Appellant’s Counsel were absent. Thus, the preliminary objection stands abated and unused. An issue or a preliminary objection in respect of which no argument is advanced in the brief of argument and therefore not canvassed before the Court must be deemed abandoned. See Per IGUH, JSC in ONAMADE V. A.C.B. LTD (1997) LPELR-2671(SC) (PP. 17-18, PARAS. F-A). See also LEMBOYE V. OGUNSIJI (1990) 6 NWLR (PT. 155) 210 AT 232; AJIBADE V. PEDRO (1992) 5 NWLR (PT. 241) 257; ARE V. IPAYE (1986) 3 NWLR (PT. 29) 416 AT 418. The preliminary objection is hereby discountenanced and struck out.

— U.M. Abba Aji, JSC. Cappa v NDIC (2021) – SC.147/2006

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WHERE A PRELIMINARY OBJECTION SUCCEEDS, NO NEED TO CONSIDER THE ISSUE ON MERIT

I have had the benefit of a preview of the lead Ruling of my lord, S. D. BAGE, JCA, and I must stress that it is well settled that where a preliminary objection succeeds, there will be no need to consider the arguments in support of the issue or issues for determination.

— M.A. Danjuma, JCA. Portland Paints v Olaghere (2012) – CA/L/1046M/11

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IF FACTS ARE RAISED IN PRELIMINARY OBJECTION, AN AFFIDAVIT MUST BE FILED

In Ama v. Nwankwo [2007] 12 NWLR (Pt. 1049) 552 at 578, Rhodes-Vivour, JCA (as he then was) stated the position of the law relating to preliminary objection vis-à-vis the necessity of filing a supporting affidavit thusly: Preliminary objection strictly speaking deals with law. Consequently there is no need for supporting affidavit, but the grounds of the objection must be clearly stated. For example, objection that court process has not been complied with, suit/process is an abuse of process. When, as often happens a preliminary objection strays from law to facts of the case, the onus is on the party relying on the preliminary objection to justify the facts, and this can only be done by filing an affidavit. A preliminary objection may be supported by affidavit depending on what is being objected to. If the preliminary objection is on law, an affidavit is unnecessary, but if on facts an affidavit is mandatory (emphasis is this Court’s).

— B.B. Kanyip J. FG v. ASUU (2023) – NICN/ABJ/270/2022

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FILING A PRELIMINARY OBJECTION – WHAT TO DO?

All that a Respondent intending to rely upon a preliminary objection challenging the hearing of an appeal on the ground that it is incompetent need do is to file a notice of preliminary objection giving notice of the ground of objection to the Appellant and incorporating the arguments thereon in the Respondent’s brief to afford the Appellant the opportunity of responding to the arguments in his reply brief.

— B.A. Georgewill, JCA. University of Lagos v. Mbaso (2018) – CA/L/775/2016

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PRELIMINARY OBJECTION IS TO BE TAKEN FIRST BEFORE ANY STEP IN THE PROCEEDING

Generally, the rules of this Court allow a respondent to rely on a preliminary objection to the hearing of the appeal. The purpose of the objection is to bring the appeal to an end after being discovered to be incompetent and or fundamentally deceptive. In either case, it will be unnecessary to continue with the appeal once an objection is raised, without disposing of same. In other words, the Court is expected to deal with and dispose of a preliminary objection once raised by a respondent before taking any further step in the appeal. See; General Electric Company Vs. Harry Ayoade Akande & Ors (2010) 12 (Pt.2) SCM 96; Lamidi Rabiu Vs. Tola Adebajo (2012) 6 SCNM 201; Udenwa & 1 Ors Vs Uzodinma & 1 Ors (2012) 12 (Pt.2) 472 at 483.

— O. Ariwoola, JSC. Galadima v. State (2017) – SC.70/2013

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PRELIMINARY OBJECTION WILL BE CONSIDERED FIRST

It is trite law now that where a Notice of Preliminary Objection is filed and moved before a court of law, the court is duty bound to consider the Preliminary Objection before venturing into the main or cross-appeal, as the case may be. See: AGBAREH and ANOR v. MIMRA and ORS, (2008) 1 SCNJ. 409, ONYEKWULUJE v. ANIMASHAUN and ANOR [1996] 3 SCNJ 24; ONYEMEH and ORS. v. EGBUCHULAM and ORS. [1996] 4 SCNJ 235 … The aim/essence of a preliminary objection is to terminate at infancy, or as it were, to nib it at the bud, without dissipating unnecessary energies in considering an unworthy or fruitless matter in a court’s proceedings. It, in other words, forecloses hearing of the matter in order to save time, See: YARO v. AREWA CONSTRUCTION LTD. and ORS. [2007] 6 SCNJ 418.

— I.T. Muhammad, JSC. EFET v INEC (SC.207/2009, 28 January 2011)

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WHEN TO USE A PRELIMINARY OBJECTION OR A MOTION ON NOTICE

In BANK OF INDUSTRY LTD v. AWOJUGBAGBE LIGHT INDUSTRIES LTD (2018) LPELR-43812(SC), page 7 para. B-D, per Rhodes-Vivour JSC, reiterated the above principle of law thus: “This Preliminary Objection is against the hearing of this suit. In Isah v. INEC & 3 Ors (2014) 1-2 SC (Pt.iv) p.101. I explained Preliminary Objections and when to file them and when not to file them. I said that: “A Preliminary Objection should only be filed against the hearing of an appeal and not against one or more grounds of appeal which are not capable of disturbing the hearing of the appeal. The purpose of a Preliminary Objection is to convince the Court that the appeal is fundamentally defective in which case the hearing of the appeal comes to an end if found to be correct. Where a preliminary objection would not be the appropriate process to object or show to the Court the defects in processes before it, a motion on notice filed complaining about a few grounds or defects would suffice.

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