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Mainagge v. Gwamna

ALHAJI ABDULKADIR DAN MAINAGGE

V

ALHAJI ABDULKADIR ISIAKU GWAMNA

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

UTHMAN MOHAMMED, JSC ( Presided )

ANTHONY IKECHUKWU IGUH, JSC

UMARU ATU KALGO, JSC

IGNATIUS C. PATS-ACHOLONU, JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

SUNDAY AKINTOLA  AKINTAN, JSC

SC. 19/1998

FRIDAY, 16TH JULY, 2004

ACTION - Party forgoing pursuit of action - Party’s case manifestly weak and lacks evidence in support - Duty of court to enter judgment in favour of the other party

APPEAL - Concurrent findings of lower courts - Complaint against Where wrong approach to evidence not proved or miscarriage of justice established - Effect

COURT - Concurrent findings of lower courts - Complaint against Where wrong approach to evidence not proved or miscarriage of justice established - Effect

COURT - Evaluation of evidence as primary function of trial Judge When can be interfered with

COURT - Evaluation of evidence by trial court - When properly done -  Duty of appellate court not to interfere therewith

COURT - Evidence given by a party - Where uncontradicted and inherently credible - Duty of court to accord credibility thereto COURT - Party forgoing pursuit of action by throwing in the towel Party’s case manifestly weak and lacks evidence in support Duty of court to enter judgment in favour of the other party

EVIDENCE - Evidence given by a party - Where uncontradicted and inherently credible - Duty of court to accord credibility thereto

EVIDENCE - Evidence - Evaluation of - Where Judge evaluates properly

Issue:

Whether on the totality of the evidence on record before the Court of Appeal, the respondent has proved his claim against the appellant to warrant a dismissal of the appellant’s appeal.

Facts:

The respondent, as plaintiff, instituted this action against the appellant, as 1st defendant, and sought orders to declare him the owner of the house at G.R.A. Gombe with certificate of occupancy No. NE/1647 and eject all the five other defendants thereupon. The respondent testified in proof of the averred facts and tendered documents. The respondent asserted that the appellant along with him went to one Sale Tango, the original owner, and was informed of the transaction between them. Consequently,

Governor’s consent was applied for and obtained to the deed of assignment. The transfer was completed and the respondent became the legal owner of the property. The appellant did not testify. Two witnesses, one of whom was the appellant’s wife, testified in support of the defence. The appellant’s wife further testified that the appellant had told her he owed a sum of N50,000 to the respondent who himself had testified in his evidence that the house was originally pledged to him on a condition that where the appellant failed to redeem the house at a particular date, it would be outrightly sold to him. The appellant also filed a counter-claim in respect of which no evidence was led.

The appellant’s counsel, in his submission, said that after a careful review of the evidence and in the absence of the 1st defendant, who was said to be in Saudi Arabia, he was of the view that the defence was porous and that as a minister in the temple of justice, he had no choice but to submit to judgment as the evidence before the court does not give room for any meaningful argument in the appellant’s favour. The trial court upon evaluation of the evidence entered judgment in favour of the respondent. The appellant’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed. He further appealed to the Supreme Court.