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PROPER APPROACH TO ISSUES OF FACT

Dictum

In Adeyeye v. Ajiboye (1987) 3 N.W.L.R. (Pt.61) 432 at p.451, I referred to what I thought was the proper approach to the issues of fact and findings of fact by trial Courts viz: “The proper approach for any trial court is first set out the claim or claims; then the pleadings, then the Issues arising from those pleadings. Having decided on the issues in dispute the trial Judge will then consider the evidence in proof of each issue, then decide on which side to believe and this has got to be a belief based on the preponderance of credible evidence and the probabilities of the case. After this the trial Judge will then record his logical and consequential findings of fact. It is after such a finding that the trial court can then discuss the applicable law against the background of his findings of fact.”

— Oputa JSC. Onwuka & Ors. V. Ediala & Anor. (SC.18/1987, 20 January 1989)

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ONLY ONE ISSUE CAN ARISE FROM A GROUND OF APPEAL

It should, however, be noted that, Appellant had distilled their Issue one from grounds 1, 2 and 5 of the Grounds of the Appeal, and thereafter, distilled the Issue 3 (which the Respondent attacked, mistaking it for Issue 4) from the same ground one of the appeal. Appellants cannot do that, as it would amount to proliferation of issues. Having earlier used the ground one, together with grounds 2 and 5, to distill the issue one, the said ground one was no longer available to donate another issue for the determination of the appeal. We have held repeatedly, that a ground of appeal cannot be split to generate issues for determination, and that, once an issue has been distilled from a given ground of appeal, the said ground of appeal is no longer available to give birth to another issue for determination, either alone or in conjunction with other grounds of appeal. Where a ground of appeal has been used to formulate an issue for determination, using it again to formulate another issue will corrupt that other issue for determination and render it incompetent.

– Mbaba JCA. Aduba v. Aduba (2018)

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JUDGEMENT CONFINED TO ISSUE RAISED

It is a well settled principle of judicial adjudication that the judgment in a lis must be confined to the cause of action and the issues raised on the pleadings See: Ochonma v. Asirim Unosi (1965) NMLR 321. The court cannot grant remedies or reliefs not claimed by the parties. – Karibe-Whyte JSC. Awoniyi v. AMORC (2000)

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ISSUE MUST ARISE FROM A GROUND OF APPEAL

I scarcely need to repeat that every issue in an appeal must arise from one or more grounds of appeal. It is usual for one, two or more grounds of appeal to constitute an issue, not the other way round. The reverse could not have arisen if counsel had done well to remember what an issue in an appeal really is.

– Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Petroleum v. Owodunni (1991)

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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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DUTY OF AN APPELLATE COURT TO EITHER ADOPT, REFRAME OR FORMULATE NEW ISSUES IN THE DETERMINATION OF AN APPEAL

“In Considering the issues for determination in an appeal formulated in the briefs of argument of the parties, an appellate court can, either adopt or reframe or even formulate new issues, in the determination of the appeal. This is the law as enunciated in the case of FRN V. Ogbegolu (2006) 18 NWLR (PT. 1010) P. 188 @ 225 where it was held that, after examining the issues for determination, it is the duty of an appellate court to either adopt those in the briefs of argument or formulate new ones which he believes would determined the real complaint or grievances of the appellant. See also Adaku Vs Ajeh (1994) 5 NWLR (PT. 346) P. 582 and Ikegwuha V. Ohawuchin (1996) 3 NWLR (PT. 435) P. 146.”

— I.S. Bdliya, JCA. Umar Ibrahim v Nasiru Danladi Mu’azu & 2 Ors. (2022) – CA/G/317/2019

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ISSUES ARE ARGUED NOT GROUNDS OF APPEAL

I think I ought to stress in the first place that it is the issues distilled from all appellant’s grounds of appeal that may be argued in the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court and not the grounds of appeal.

– Iguh, JSC. Oshatoba v. Olujitan (2000)

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