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WHERE CONCURRENT FINDINGS, THE SUPREME COURT WILL NOT INTERFERE

Dictum

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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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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ONLY IN EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES WILL DISCRETION OF TRIAL JUDGE BE REVERSED

It is a trite procedural tenet that the evaluation of evidence and ascription of probative value to such evidence are the exclusive preserve of the trial court which had the opportunity of hearing and assessing the testimony and conduct of the witnesses. It is unusual for an appellate court to disturb such findings of a trial court except where it is found to be perverse irrational or does not accord with common sense. See DARE VS FAGBAMILA (2009) 14 NWLR (PT 1160) 177; SULE VS HABU (2011) 7 NWLR (PT 1246) 339 and KARIBO VS GREND (1992) 3 NWLR (PT 230) 426.

— S.C. Oseji, JCA. ACB v Ajugwo (2011) – CA/E/66/2006

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WHEN THE SUPREME COURT WILL SET ASIDE A CONCURRENT DECISION OF A COURT

From the onset it must be emphasized that being a concurrent finding of fact by the two courts, this Court is very slow at intervening except where the Appellants succeed in showing to us that notwithstanding the fact of concurrence in the decisions of both courts, the finding is perverse or that the finding has violated some essential principle of law or procedure and that the violation is substantial enough to lead to miscarriage of justice. See Onowan v Isarhjen (1976) 9-10 SC 95, Fashanu v. Adekoya (1974) 1 ALL NLR (PT. 1) 35 and Onwuka v Ediala (1989) 1 NWLR (pt.96) 182 at 202. It is only if this is demonstrated that this court will interfere. See Abinabina v Enyimadu 12 WACA 171 at 173, Omoborinola II v Military Governor Ondo State (1998) 14 NWLR (pt 584) 89 at 107, U.A.C Nig. Ltd. v Fashoyiten (1998) 11 NWLR (pt.573) 199 at 185 and Chinwedu v Mbamah & Or (1980) 3-4 SC 31 at 75.

— M.D. Muhammad, JSC. Kubor v. Dickson (2012) – SC.369/2012

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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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UNLESS CLEAR ERROR IS SHOWN, CONCURRENT FINDING WILL NOT BE DISTURBED

The attitude of the Supreme Court to concurrent findings of fact has been reiterated in a plethora of authorities. In Ogundiyan Vs The State (1991) 3 NWLR Pt. 1811 519 @ 528-529 H-A this court held per Obaseki, JSC: “without any clear evidence of errors in law or fact leading to or occasioning miscarriage of justice, this court will not interfere with the concurrent findings. It is settled law that there must be clear proof of error either of law or fact on the record which has occasioned miscarriage of justice before the Supreme Court can upset or reverse concurrent findings of fact,” Per Nnaemaka-Agu, JSC in Ogoala Vs The State (1991) 2 NWLR (Pt. 175) 509 @: It is settled that where there is sufficient evidence to support the findings of fact by two lower courts, such findings should not be disturbed unless there is a substantial error apparent on the record: that is, the findings have been shown to be perverse, or some miscarriage of justice or some material violation of some principle of law or procedure is shown.”

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NATURE OF CONCURRENT FINDINGS

There are thus concurrent findings of fact that the appellant was in breach of contract to fly the respondent from Lagos to Manzini and back to Lagos. It is very well settled that concurrent findings by the trial court and the court of Appeal would not be disturbed by the Supreme Court except there has been exceptional circumstances to disturb those findings such as: 1. The findings cannot be supported by evidence, or are perverse. 2. There is miscarriage of justice or violation of law or procedure.

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

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