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WHERE THERE IS VARIANCE IN PLEADINGS AND THE EVIDENCE, THE ACTION IS BOUND TO FAIL

Dictum

It is clear from the foregoing that the claim of the plaintiffs as disclosed in the writ of summons and statement of claim was not supported by the evidence of the trial. It is well settled law that parties are bound by their pleadings. Where there is variance between the claim the pleadings and evidence, the action is bound to fail- See Ogiamen v. Ogiamen (1967) NMLR. 245.

— A.G. Karibi-Whyte, JSC. Olowosago V. Adebanjo (SC.134/86, 29 Sep 1988)

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PARAGRAPHS IN PLEADINGS READ TOGETHER

Paragraphs in pleadings are not read in isolation but read together to obtain the total story of the parties. – Niki Tobi JSC. Okonkwo v. Cooperative Bank (2003)

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STATEMENT OF CLAIM, NOT DEFENCE, IS LOOKED AT TO DETERMINE COURT JURISDICTION

In a long line of decided authorities, it is now firmly settled that it is the Statement of Claim that is looked at in determining whether or not, a court has jurisdiction to entertain and determine any suit or matter and not at the defence. (See Chief Adeyemi & others v Opevori (1976) 9-10 SC 31; The Attorney-General, Anambra State & 13 others v The Attorney-General of the Federation & 16 others (1994) 3 NWLR (Part 335) 659; (1994) 4 SCNJ 30). — Ogbuagu JSC. AG Kano State v AG Federation (2007) – SC 26/2006

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CRIME MUST BE SPECIFICALLY PLEADED

Crime as an offence punishable by law must be specifically pleaded and proved. – Niki Tobi JSC. Okonkwo v. Cooperative Bank (2003)

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APPLICATION TO DISMISS AN ACTION WILL BE DETERMINED ON STATEMENT OF CLAIM ONLY

It is settled principle of law that when a Defendant files an application (such as the one that has given rise to this appeal) to strike out or dismiss an action on the ground that it disclosed no reasonable cause of action, he is, for the purpose of the application, taken to have admitted the facts alleged in the Statement of Claim. And in the determination of the application, the Court is bound to restrict itself to the Statement of Claim and to proceed on the assumption that the facts therein have been although the facts in the Statement of Claim are admitted, the Plaintiff has not, on the face of such facts, made out a case to warrant a trial or that he has, in law, a complete answer to the Plaintiffs case. See F.C.D.A. v NAIBI (1990) 3 N.W.L.R. (Part 138) 270 at 281; IMANA v ROBINSON (1979) 3-4 SC 1 at 9-10; U.D.C. v LADIPO (1971) 1 ALL N.L.R. 102; FADARE v A.G. OYO STATE (1982) 4 SC 1; TANDON v CFAO of ACCRA 10 WACA 186; AKANBI v ALAO (1989) 3 N.W.L.R. (Part 108) 118 at 140 and 153; EGBE v ADEFARASIN (1985) 1NWLR (Part 3) 549 at 556.

— F.F. Tabai JSC. Stephens Eng. Ltd. v. S.A. Yakubu (2009) – SC.153/2002

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MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS OF PLEADINGS IN ELECTION PETITION

The requirements of pleadings in election petitions are primarily provided in Paragraph 4 of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2022. Specifically, Paragraph 4(1)(d) mandates that “an election petition shall state clearly the facts of the election petition and the ground or grounds on which the petition is based and the reliefs sought by the Petitioner.” Subparagraph (2) of the same paragraph further provides that “the election petition shall be divided into paragraphs each of which shall be confined to a distinct issue or major facts of the election petition, and every paragraph shall be numbered consecutively.” In addition to the provision of Paragraph 4 of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act, Paragraph 54 of the same Schedule to the Act has made applicable to Election Petitions the Rules of Civil Procedure in the Federal High Court of 2019, subject to such modifications as would bring same in conformity with the provisions of the Act. By Order 13 Rule 4 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019, every party to an election petition shall ensure that averments in their pleadings “contain in a summary form the material facts on which the party pleading relies for his claim or defence, as the case may be, but not the evidence by which they are to be proved, and shall, when necessary, be divided into paragraphs, and numbered consecutively.” By subparagraph (4) of that Rule, such facts contained in the pleading must “be alleged positively, precisely and distinctly, and as briefly as is consistent with a clear statement.” The aforementioned provisions contained in the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2022, as well as the Federal High Court Rules, 2019 state the mandatory requirements of pleadings in election petitions.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. Peter Obi & Anor. v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/03/2023

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STATUTES ARE NOT TO BE PLEADED IN PLEADINGS

The position of the Appellant’s learned Counsel that the Appellant did not need to plead the provisions of p.4 of the Chinese Regulation concerning the transport of hazardous goods stems from the stated position that pleadings need no longer be technical and that it is no longer necessary to plead statutes and sections of statutes but that it is sufficient if the material facts only are pleaded.

– O. Daniel-Kalio, JCA. Egypt v. Abdoulaye (2017) – CA/K/540/2014

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