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WHERE PRELIMINARY OBJECTION IS ARGUED IN THE BRIEF OF ARGUMENT

Dictum

I shall now consider the Preliminary Objection. Order 2 Rule 9 of the Supreme Court Rules provides for the filing of Preliminary Objections. It enjoins a respondent who intends to rely on a Preliminary Objection to give the appellant three clear days notice before the hearing setting out in clear terms the grounds of objection. The purpose is to give the appellant enough time to address the respondents objection. It is also accepted practice for the respondent to argue his Preliminary Objection in his brief in which case the appellant would have to respond in a reply brief. In this appeal the respondents argued their Preliminary Objection in their brief. The procedure adopted by the respondents obviates the need to file a separate notice of preliminary objection.The appellants responded by filing an amended reply brief. The Preliminary Objection and the appellants response are thus properly before this court.

— O. Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Wassah & Ors. v. Kara & Ors. (2014) – SC.309/2001

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PRELIMINARY OBJECTION IS TO BE TAKEN FIRST BEFORE ANY STEP IN THE PROCEEDING

Generally, the rules of this Court allow a respondent to rely on a preliminary objection to the hearing of the appeal. The purpose of the objection is to bring the appeal to an end after being discovered to be incompetent and or fundamentally deceptive. In either case, it will be unnecessary to continue with the appeal once an objection is raised, without disposing of same. In other words, the Court is expected to deal with and dispose of a preliminary objection once raised by a respondent before taking any further step in the appeal. See; General Electric Company Vs. Harry Ayoade Akande & Ors (2010) 12 (Pt.2) SCM 96; Lamidi Rabiu Vs. Tola Adebajo (2012) 6 SCNM 201; Udenwa & 1 Ors Vs Uzodinma & 1 Ors (2012) 12 (Pt.2) 472 at 483.

— O. Ariwoola, JSC. Galadima v. State (2017) – SC.70/2013

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WHAT IS A PRELIMINARY OBJECTION?

A Preliminary Objection as a matter of law is a process or procedure via which a party to an action may truncate the proceedings therein on account of a fundamental defect in the way the matter is constituted, which renders the taking of further action in the proceedings a meaningless waste of time and effort.

– Tukur JCA. Odulate v. FBN (2019)

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IF PRELIMINARY OBJECTION IS UPHELD FURTHER PROCEEDINGS IS UNNECESSARY

A preliminary objection to the competence of an appeal, is an objection, if upheld, renders further proceedings before the Court or tribunal unnecessary. Therefore, when it is raised, it must be resolved before venturing into the appeal.

— P.A. Galumje, JSC. Compact Manifold v Pazan Ltd. (2019) – SC.361/2017

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A PRELIMINARY OBJECTION WHICH IS NOT PURSUED IS ABANDONED

An issue or a preliminary objection in respect of which no argument is advanced in the brief of argument and therefore not canvassed before the court must be deemed abandoned. see Lemboye v. Ogunsiji (1990) 6 NWLR (Pt.155) 210 at 232; Ajibade v. Pedro (1992) 5 NWLR (Pt.241) 257; Are v. Ipaye (1986) 3 NWLR (Pt.29) 416 at 418.

— Iguh, JSC. Onamade v ACB (1997) – SC.199/1990

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COUNSEL MUST SEEK TO ARGUE PRELIMINARY OBJECTION FIRST

It was after appellants’ counsel had argued his appeal that respondent’s counsel argued his preliminary objection. Where respondent gives notice of preliminary objection to an appeal and incorporates argument thereon in his brief of argument, he is required to seek leave of Court to argue the objection before appellant’s counsel adopts his brief of argument. Where he fails to do so and allows appellant’s counsel to adopt his brief of argument first, it will be taken as an abandonment of the preliminary objection.

– Ekanem JCA. C.O.P. v. Doolor (2020) – CA/MK/182/2017

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IF PRELIMINARY OBJECTION IS SUSTAINED, APPEAL COURT MAY PRONOUNCE ON THE OTHER ISSUES

This finding on the objection by the Respondent would appear to have taken out the bottom or foundation of the appeal, the grounds of which are predicated on the motion which was statute barred and incompetent. However, bearing in mind that the decision of the Court is subject to a further appeal and the exhortation that the Court even in situations such in this appeal, should make pronouncement on the other issues raised in the appeal, I would consider the other issues.

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

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