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USING BOTH SIMILAR GROUNDS FROM ORIGINAL NOTICE OF APPEAL AND AMENDED NOTICE OF APPEAL

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Equity follows the law and does always look at the substance and not the form. The 3rd Respondent on this point of his preliminary objection appears to be blighted by the form, and not the substance. Upon my careful perusal of grounds 1, 2, 3 & 6 of the Amended Notice of Appeal they appear to be substantially the replication of grounds 1, 2 & 3 of the original notice of appeal, grounds 4 in the original notice of appeal and the amended notice of appeal and the amended notice of appeal are identical. Similarly, ground 5 in the original notice of appeal was replicated, in ground 5 of the amended notice of appeal. The two grounds are identical. I do not, therefore, think that the respondents in the appeal have been misled, embarrassed or in any way prejudged by the Appellants merely indicating that their issue 1 has been formulated from original grounds 1, 2 & 3 as well as grounds 1, 2, 3 & 6 in the Amended Notice of Appeal. The Respondents similarly are not misled and prejudiced by the Appellants indicating that issues 2 & 3 are issues the subject of identical grounds 4 & 5 in both the original notice of appeal and the Amended Notice of Appeal respectively. Therefore, using blue pencil rule to discountenance, references, in the Appellants’ issues for determination of the appeal in their brief, to grounds 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 in the original notice of appeal filed on 9th August, 2016 will, in the peculiar facts of this case, meet the ends of substantial justice. Courts these days strive to doing substantial justice as they now turn away from arcane technicality.

— Ejembi Eko, JSC. Oboh & Anor v. NFL (SC.841/2016, January 28, 2022)

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GROUNDS MUST BE FROM RATIO DECIDENDI

The law is trite that issues for determination must be distilled from the grounds of appeal, which must, in turn arise from the ratio decidendi of the decision appealed against. Black’s Law Dictionary (8th Edition) states clearly that the ratio decidendi of a case is the principle or rule of law upon which a court’s decision is founded. It is the reason for the decision or the reasoning, principle or ground upon which a case is decided. Put differently, the ratio decidendi of a decision can be clearly differentiated from the other parts of the decision referred to as obita dicta or obiter dictum, which simply means “something said in passing.” It is a judicial comment made while delivering a judicial opinion, but one that does not embody the decision of the court. See Oleksander & Ors v. Lonestar Drilling Company Limited & Anor (2015) LPELR-24614 (SC), (2015) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1464) 337; Daniel v. INEC (2015) LPELR – 24566 (SC); (2015) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1463) 113; Ajibola v. Ajadi (2004) 14 NWLR (Pt. 892) 14.

— Okoro, JSC. Anyanwu v. PDP (2020) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1710) 134

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EASY WAY TO IDENTIFY A GROUND OF FACT FROM A GROUND OF LAW

In Enterprise Bank Ltd. v. Deaconess F. Bose Aroso & 5 ors. Suit No.166/2003 judgment delivered on the 12th of April, 2013: “Before making the distinction between grounds of law, mixed law and facts, and facts, first of all read carefully the ground of appeal and its particulars to understand thoroughly the substance of the complaint. Find out if the ground of appeal contests facts. If it does it can only be a ground of facts or mixed law and facts. Once facts are not in dispute. That is to say facts are settled, a ground of appeal can never be on facts or mixed law and facts. The ground of appeal can only complain of the wrong application of the law to settled facts and that is a ground of law. It is very easy to identify a ground of appeal on facts.”

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GROUNDS OF APPEAL DISMISSED WHERE NO ISSUE DRAWN

Indeed, there is no disputing the submission of the respondent that grounds 4 and 5 of the grounds of appeal are abandoned, no issues really having been drawn from those grounds. – Peter-Odili JSC. Chemiron v. Stabilini (2018)

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USE MOTION ON NOTICE TO CHALLENGE SOME OF THE GROUNDS OF APPEAL

Inspector Isa Sarki V. John Lamela (2016) LPELR — 40338 (CA), the Court of Appeal stated, “It is the law that where the purpose of an objection is merely to challenge some of the grounds of appeal and not the competence of the entire appeal, the best procedure is by way of a motion on notice since its success would not in any way terminate the entire appeal in limine. On the other hand, where the purpose of an objection is to terminate in limine the entirety of the appeal, the best procedure is by way of a notice of preliminary objection challenging the competence of the entire appeal.”

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REQUIREMENT FOR INDICATION OF WHAT GROUND AN ISSUE WAS RAISED FROM

The primary purpose of the requirement that counsel should indicate from which of the grounds of an appeal issues raised in their brief of argument are derived, is to narrow and specifically identify the grounds from which such issues were distilled so as to readily show if they are valid and competent issues derived from competent grounds of the appeal. With the clear and express indication of the grounds of the appeal from which the two (2) issues raised in the Appellant’s brief, are distilled, the issues cannot reasonably be said to have been formulated from the other grounds not indicated in the issues. Beyond argument, the law still remains that grounds of appeal from which no issue was distilled or formulated (or indicated to have been distilled) are deemed abandoned.

– Garba, JCA. Dunlop v. Gaslink (2018)

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