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WHEN COURT RAISES AN ISSUE, COURT SHOULD DO WELL TO GIVE PARTY OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS IT ON THE ISSUE

Dictum

But there is nothing in the case of Lawrence Okafor & Ors. v. Felix Nnaife & ors. (1972) 3 E.C.S.L.R. 261, which the learned trial Judge relied upon to support his decision to suggest that the court could take up the point and decide it without hearing the parties. Indeed in that case when the Supreme Court felt that point needed to be taken, their Lordships invited counsel on both sides to address the court on the point, before they decided it. It is basic and fundamental in our system of administration of justice that no one can have a decision entered against him without his being heard. This is the essence of the maxim: audi alterant partem. That maxim implies not only that all the parties to be affected by a decision are entitled to be heard in the case on hand before the decision is given but also that if, in the course of hearing, any new point material to the decision arises, each of such parties shall be heard on it before a decision based upon it can rightly be handed down. Quite apart from this, a Judge who in our system must be and be seen as an impartial umpire will be anything but that if he takes up a material point, no matter how clear it may appear, and, without hearing any of the parties to be affected by the decision, decides it. That cannot be even-handed justice. A court ought never raise an issue for either of the parties and, without hearing both parties proceed to base its judgment on it. See Inua v. Nta (1961) 1 ALL N.L.R. 576; Ejowhomu v. Edok-Eter Ltd. (1986) 5 N. W.L.R. (Pt.39) 1. So, the Court of Appeal was right on that ground.

— Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Ugo v Obiekwe (1989) – SC.207/1985

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PROLIFERATION OF ISSUES IS CONDEMNED

The appellants formulated eight issues for determination, while the respondents formulated four issues. I will not reproduce the twelve issues here. I do not have such space. But I have enough space to ask what are eight issues doing in an appeal that has only five grounds of appeal? This Court has condemned proliferation of issues. As a matter of procedure, issues should not outnumber grounds of appeal. This is because issues are framed from one or more grounds of appeal, preferably more than one ground of appeal. The reverse position is the practice and it is that grounds of appeal outnumber issues. See generally Attorney-General Bendel State v. Aideyan (1989) 4 NWLR (Pt. 118) 646; Ugo v. Obiekwe (1989) 1 NWLR (Pt. 99) 566; Adelaja v. Farouk (1990) 2 NWLR (Pt. 131) 137; Anonk Lodge Hotels Ltd, v. Mercantile Bank of Nigeria Ltd (1993) 3 NWLR (Pt. 284) 72.

— Niki Tobi, JSC. Mozie & Ors. v. Mbamalu & Ors. (2006) – S.C.345/2001

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PARTIES ISSUES ARE TO BE CONSIDERED

It is trite that issues raised by parties ought to be considered and determined. – Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009)

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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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ISSUE MUST FLOW FROM GROUND OF APPEAL

‘The law is that, an issue for determination must flow from and be supported by a ground of appeal. see Jimoh Garuba v. Isiaka Yahaya (2007) 1 SCNJ 352; Khaled Chami v. UBA Plc (2010) 2 SCNJ 23 at P.36.’

— T.S. YAKUBU, JCA. Fayose v ICN (2012) – CA/AE/58/2010

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APPEALS ARE NOT WON BASED ON PROLIFERATION OF ISSUES

As is the practice, briefs were duly filed and exchanged. The 1st Appellant formulated eight issues for determination, the 2nd to 6th appellants, four and the 1st respondent, five. This Court and the Supreme Court have said it times without number that appeals are not won by the quantity of issues but by their quality. It is not by formulating large number of issues as it is in this case, that appeals are won. With respect, I do not see the place of eight issues in this appeal. They are prolix and repetitive. It is not my intention to reproduce the issues formulated by the parties.

— Niki Tobi, JCA. Nnamdi Eriobuna & Ors. V. Ikechukwu Obiorah (CA/E/77/99, 24 May 1999)

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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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