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SUPREME COURT WILL NOT INTERFERE WILL CONCURRENT FINDINGS OF LOWER COURTS

Dictum

We have to emphasize all over again that the Supreme Court will not interfere with the concurrent findings of a trial court and the court of Appeal on issues of fact. The two courts are presumed to have considered all the facts necessary for their coming to such findings. The Supreme Court will only disturb or upturn a concurrent finding of fact of the two lower courts in exceptional circumstances like: – (1) Where violation of some principles of law or procedure exists, and such erroneous proposition cannot stand if not corrected; (2) Patently erroneous findings of fact which amount to a travesty of justice if not left uncorrected; (3) Where the findings of fact are erroneous or perverse.

— O.O. Adekeye, JSC. Mini Lodge v. Ngei (2009) – SC.231/2006

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CONCURRENT FINDING AS TO IDENTIFICATION

It was the trial Court which has the advantage of seeing, watching and observing the PW.1 testify in the witness box that can exercise its discretion, upon evaluation of the evidence before it, to believe or disbelieve her. That liberty and privilege of believing the PW.1 and accepting her evidence on the identification of the Appellant with whom she struggled over her bag, in preference to any other evidence per contra were completely within the discretion of the trial Court. On this issue of the credibility of the PW.1 there are concurrent findings of the two Courts below. This Court, therefore has very limited, if any scope to interfere.

— E. Eko, JSC. Kekong v State (2017) – SC.884/2014

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WHERE CONCURRENT FINDINGS, THE SUPREME COURT WILL NOT INTERFERE

In view of the concurrent findings of fact by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal on the issues raised in this case, and in the absence of any special circumstance warranting this Court to do so, this Court will not interfere. See Ukpe Ibodo & Ors. v. Enarofie & Ors. (1980) 5-7 S.C. 42 at 55; David Dawodu Lokoyi & Anor. v. Emmanuel Babalola Olojo (1983) 8 S.C. 61 and Sockna Moromodu Allie & Ors. v. Ahmed Alhaji & Ors. 13 W.A.C.A. 320, particularly at 321 wherein their Lordships of the Privy Council stated thus: “However that may be, it is not a matter upon which their Lordships could or ever do, interfere, when the matter has been not only to the Court of first instance but to the Court of Appeal in the Colony itself.”

— Wali, JSC. Uredi v. Dada (1998) – SC.106/1986

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SUPREME COURT WILL NOT INTERVENE IN CONCURRENT FINDINGS OF LOWER COURTS

My lords, the appellants have not shown that the concurrent findings of fact made by the trial court and the lower court are perverse or unreasonable. Neither have they shown that any miscarriage of justice had been occasioned by the concurrent findings. The attitude of this court to concurrent findings of facts by the two lower courts is well settled. This court will only interfere with such concurrent findings when the appellants show special circumstances by establishing either that there was a miscarriage of justice, or a serious violation of some principles of substantive law or procedure, or that the findings are perverse, or that the findings do not flow from the evidence adduced by the parties. See Enang v. Adu (1981) 11 – 12 SC 25 at page 42, (1981) 5 SC 291; Lokoyi v. Olojo (1983) 8 SC 61 at page 73; Ojomu v. Ajao (1983) 9 SC 22 at page 53; Ibodo v. Enarofia (1980) 5 – 7 SC 42 at page 45; Akayepe v. Akayepe (2009) 11 NWLR (Pt. 1152) 217. The principle has been repeated and repeated times without numbers. Unfortunately, legal practitioners, obviously for their economic gains, keep encouraging litigants to approach this court with appeals repeating the same complaints over findings of facts by courts of first instance which had been duly affirmed by the intermediate court. I think there should be serious sanction for these vexatious frivolities.

— Eko JSC. Benjamin v Kalio (2017) – SC/207/2006

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CONCURRENT FINDINGS OF FACT

The position of this Court has always been to refrain from interfering with concurrent findings of fact unless it is shown that the findings are perverse. A finding is perverse (i) Where it is not supported by evidence on the record; (ii) Where it does not reflect a proper exercise of judicial discretion; (iii) Where evidence has been wrongly admitted or rejected at the trial; (iv) Where there has been an erroneous appraisal of facts leading to erroneous conclusion; (v) Where the finding has been reached as a result of a wrong application of some principles of substantive law or procedure. See: Ayeni Vs Adesina (2007) ALL FWLR (Pt. 370) 1451 @ 1457-1458; Woluchem Vs Gudi (1981) 5 SC 291 @ 326; Adegbite Vs Ogunfaolu, (1990) 4 NWLR (Pt.146) 578; Itu Vs The State (2016) 5 NWLR (Pt.1506) 443.

— K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun, JSC. MTN v. Corporate (2019) – SC.674/2014

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THE CONCURRENT FINDINGS ON WILLFUL MISCONDUCT

There was no evidence before the learned trial judge that there was any reason to deviate from the agreed stopping places. Flying to Johannesburg, South Africa amounts to willful misconduct that the appellant has been unable to explain. The appellant was in breach of contract and created the situation which led to the loss of the respondent’s brief case, and his deportation to Nigeria after spending eight nights in jail. In the absence of justification for flying to Johannesburg, South Africa, there is a clear breach of contract since the respondent was never flown to Manzini, Swaziland. The appellant is responsible for all that happened to the respondent in South Africa, and so concurrent findings by the two courts below that the appellant was in breach of contract is affirmed.

– Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Cameroon v. Otutuizu (2011) – SC.217/2004

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MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE WILL LEAD TO REVERSAL OF CONCURRENT FINDINGS

This court would be quick to reverse concurrent findings of fact if there was miscarriage of justice or a violation of some principle of law or procedure or the finding, is found to be perverse.

– Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Ukeje v. Ukeje (2014)

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