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PROLIFERATION OF ISSUES IS DEPLORABLE

Dictum

Undoubtedly, the Appellants have disposed themselves to the unpardonable practice of proliferation of issues. Proliferation of issues is highly deplorable. In drafting grounds of appeal and issues for determination, counsel must at all times avoid proliferation of issues and this is done by distilling a sole issue from one or more grounds of appeal, thereby avoiding multiplicity of issues from the same ground.

– Saulawa, JSC. Oko v. Ebonyi State (2021)

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PURPOSE OF ISSUE FORMULATION IN AN APPEAL

It is necessary to emphasise the purpose of formulating issues for determination in briefs. Like pleadings to a litigation between the parties the issues formulated are intended to accentuate the real issues for determination before the Court. The grounds of appeal allege the complaints of errors of law, fact or mixed law and fact against the judgment appealed against. The issues for determination accentuate the issues in the grounds of appeal relevant to the determination of the appeal in the light of the grounds of errors alleged. Hence the issues for determination cannot and should not be at large, but must fall within the purview of the grounds of appeal filed.

— Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Adebanjo v Olowosoga (1988) – SC 134/1986

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WHAT AMOUNTS TO PROLIFERATION OF ISSUES IN AN APPEAL

Now, what would in law amount to proliferation of issues in an appeal is no longer a vexed issue as it has been pronounced upon severally by the appellate Courts, including the apex Court. While it is true that an issue for determination must flow from the ground(s) of appeal and that this Court has the power to formulate issues for determination in appropriate and deserving circumstances or to re-formulate or modify the issues formulated by the parties, it is well settled law that an Appellant, as well as a Respondent, is not permitted or allowed to raise issues in excess of the grounds of appeal and that where the number of issues formulated are more than the number of the grounds of appeal it amounts to nothing but a proliferation of issues, which in law is not acceptable. See Dr. Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo & Ors. v. Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua & Ors. (2010) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1209) 518. See also Unilorin v. Oluwadare (2003) 3 NWLR (Pt. 808) 557;Padawa v. Jatau (2003) 5 NWLR (Pt. 813) 243; Sogbesan v. Ogunbiyi (2006) 4 NWLR (Pt. 969) 19; Agu v. Ikewibe (1991) 3 NWLR (Pt. 130) 385;Adelusola & Ors v. Akinde & Ors (2004) 12 NWLR (Pt. 887) 295.

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

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ARGUMENT SHOULD BE BASED ON THE ISSUE NOT GROUND OF APPEAL

But he should know that once the issues for determination have taken full account of the grounds of appeal filed, he ought not to abandon those issues and base his arguments on the grounds of appeal one by one. Quite apart from the intendment of the Rules, that argument in a brief shall be based on the issues, the advantage of this is that whereas a successful argument of a ground of appeal does not necessarily result in the appeal being allowed.

– Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Adejumo v. Ayantegbe (1989)

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SUPREME COURT CANNOT CONSIDER ISSUE WHICH LOWER COURT DID NOT CONSIDER

There is no averment to that effect in appellants’ statement of claim in the Court of trial, and the issue was not even raised on appeal. None of the Justices of the Court of Appeal referred the issue in their judgments. Since we have not the benefit of the opinion of the Court below on the issue, it is inappropriate for this Court to consider it. – See United Marketing Co. v. Kara (1963) 1 WLR. 523; Ahamath v Umma (1931) A.C. 799.

— Karibe-Whyte JSC. Okoye v Dumez & Ors. (1985) – SC.89/1984

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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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AN ISSUE IS THE QUESTION FOR RESOLUTION WHICH DETERMINES THE DISPUTE

That is to say the appellant having succeeded in establishing that the respondent’s application to register the foreign judgment was filed out of time, the need to rely on the other issues to arrive at the same result is quite necessary. An issue is the question in dispute between the parties necessary for determination of the suit or appeal. An issue, which is normally raised by way of a question, is usually a proposition of law or fact in dispute between the parties necessary for determination by the court, a determination which will normally affect the result of the suit or appeal. See Adejumo v. Ayantegbe (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt.110) 417; Okoromaka v. Chief Odiri (1995) 7 NWLR (Pt.408) 411 and Olafisoye v. Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) 4 NWLR (Pt.864) 580 at 641-642 … As the determination of the five issues in the appellant’s brief of argument will not affect the result of this appeal, the issues have ceased to be the real issues for determination between the parties in this appeal. This is because courts of law are not established to deal with hypothetical and academic questions. Courts are established to deal with life issues which relate to matters in difference between the parties. See National Insurance Corporation v. Power and Industrial Engineering Co. Ltd. (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt.14) 1 at 22; Akeredolu v. Akinremi (1986) 2 NWLR (Pt.25) 710 at 728; Ekperokun v. University of Lagos (1986) 4 NWLR (Pt.34) 162 at 179; Titiloye v. Olupo (1991) 7 NWLR (Pt.205) 519 at 534; Bamgboye v. University of Ilorin (1999) 10 NWLR (Pt.622) 290 at 330 and Macaulay v. R.Z.B. of Austria (2003) 18 NWLR (Pt.852) 282 at 300.

— M. Mohammed, JSC. Marine Co. v Overseas Union (2006) – SC.108/2001

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