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WHERE FACT NOT COUNTERED IN LAW, IT IS DEEMED ADMITTED

Dictum

In the two separate counter-affidavits filed by the appellant in response to the affidavits in support of the Notices of intention to rely upon Preliminary Objection by the respondents there is no averments which countered the facts deposed to by the respondents in their respective affidavits in support as summarised above. The law is well settled that any fact which has not been categorically countered or denied by a party, that fact is deemed admitted in law by the other party. See: Nzeribe v. Dave Eng, Co. Ltd (1994) 8 NWLR (Pt.361) 124; Omoregbe v. Lawani (1980) 3-4 SC 108. See also section 75 of the Evidence Act, LFN, Cap.112, 1990.

— I.T. Muhammad, JSC. EFET v INEC (SC.207/2009, 28 January 2011)

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COURT CAN SUO MOTO EXPUNGE EARLIER ADMITTED EVIDENCE IF ERROR IN ADMISSION IS DISCOVERED LATER

On the sub issue as to whether the court has the power to expunge from its record evidence or documents earlier admitted without objection by counsel, it is settled law that the courts can do that and has been doing that over the years; see NIPC Ltd. v. Thompson Organization Ltd. (1966) 1 NMLR 99 at 104 where LEWIS, JSC stated the law as follows:- “It is of course the duty of counsel to object to admissible evidence and the duty of trial court any way to refuse to admit inadmissible evidence, but if notwithstanding this evidence is still through oversight or otherwise admitted then it is the duty of the court to when it comes to give judgment to treat the inadmissible evidence as if it had never been admitted”.

— Onnoghen, JSC. Kubor v. Dickson (2012) – SC.369/2012

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ADMISSION OF AVERMENTS

The law is that a plaintiff’s averment of facts must be met by the defendant frontally and categorically. Once a traverse is not met directly, the defendant is taken to have admitted it. See Owosho v. Adebowale v. Dada (1984) 7 SC pg.149. Such traverse to be valid must be related to the proceeding and subsequent paragraphs of the statement of defence.

– Ogunwumiju JCA. NBC v. Olarewaju (2006) – CA/IL/43/2004

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ADMISSION IS NOT IPSO FACTO TRUTH OF THE CASE

I may repeat that an admission does not necessarily mean proof of what is contained therein. An admission relied upon by any party is not ipso facto accepted to be the truth by the court once it is not in accordance with the truth of the case. It is the duty of the court to decide the case in accordance with the facts pleaded and proved to be true.

— Olatawura JSC. African Continental Bank Ltd. v. Alhaji Umaru Gwagwada (SC.26/1990, 29 APR 1994)

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ADMITTED NEED NO FURTHER PROOF

As in law what is admitted need no further proof Kamalu v. Umunna (1997) 5 NWLR (Pt.505) 321 at 326.

— O.O. Adekeye, JCA. Omotunde v. Omotunde (2000) – CA/I/M.57/2000

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WRONGFUL ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE MAY NOT BE A GROUND FOR THE REVERSAL OF THE TRIAL COURT’S DECISION

Thus, where such evidence is by error or otherwise admitted, then it is the duly of the trial court to expunge it in giving its judgment. If it fails to do so, the appeal court will reject such evidence and consider the case in the light of the legally admitted evidence See Owoniyi v. Omotoso (1961) 2 SCNLR 57, (1961) All NLR 304; Alase v. Ilu (1964) 1 All NLR 390. In any event, it is trite that wrongful admission of inadmissible evidence is not of itself a ground for the reversal of any decision. Similarly, the wrongful exclusion of admissible evidence is not of itself a ground for the reversal of any decision. All these are however dependent on the view held by the appeal court on whether the evidence wrongly admitted or wrongly excluded would have the effect of changing the decision even if admitted or excluded.

— I.T. Muhammad JSC. Musa Abubakar v. E.I. Chuks (SC.184/2003, 14 DEC 2007)

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NO NEED TO ESTABLISH TRUTH OF FACT ALREADY ADMITTED

There is no need to establish the truth of a fact already admitted. See Ajikawo v. Ansaido (Nig) Ltd (1991) 2 NWLR (Pt. 173) 359.

— N.S. Ngwuta, JSC. Henry Nwokearu V. The State (SC.227/2011, 24 MAY 2013)

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