ALL PROGRESSIVE GRAND ALLIANCE (APGA) & ANOR V CHIEF VICTOR UMEH & 13 ORS (2011)

ALL PROGRESSIVE GRAND ALLIANCE (APGA) & ANOR V CHIEF VICTOR UMEH & 13 ORS

(2011) LCN/3818(SC)

In the Supreme Court of Nigeria

Friday, March 25, 2011


Case Number: SC.21/2010 SC. 333/2011 SC. 352/2011

 

JUSTICES:

DAHIRU MUSDAPHER, JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT

MAHMUD MOHAMMED, JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT

FRANCIS FEDODETABAI, JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT

CHISTOPHER MITCHELL , JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT

CHUKWUMA-ENEH, JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT

BODE RHODES-VIVOUR, JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT

 

APPELLANTS:

ALL PROGRESSIVE GRAND ALLIANCE (APGA)

CHIEF CHEKWAS OKORIE

CHIEF VICTOR UMEH

ALHAJI ABDULLAHI SANI SHIKANFI

 

RESPONDENTS:

DR. INNOCENT EKWUDR. MIC ADAMS II

MRS. ELLA EZEANYA

ALBAJI SADIQ MASALLA

MR. BERNARD AKOMA

CHIEF CHRIS NDIGWE

PRINCESS HPJ NJEMANZE

ALHAJI MOHAMMED KUBTI

MR. OGOMETU UKPENETUS

ALHAJI HABIB GAJO

CHIEF EMEKA OFOEKIENGR.

DR. EZEKIEL IZUOGU

 

DISCRETIONARY POWER OF THE TRIAL COURT:

“To grant or refuse to grant leave to discontinue a case is entirely at the discretion of the trial judge. The grant of adjournment is also discretionary. An appellant court will not interfere with the way the trial judge exercise his discretion but would interfere if satisfied that it is in the interest of justice to do so, or the exercise was tainted with some illegality or irregularity” Per DAHIRU MUSDAIIHER, JSC

 

DAHIRU MUSDAPHER, J.S.C. (Delivering the Judgment by the Court): In the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Holden at Abuja and in suit No. FCT/HC/CV/278/2005, the appellants herein and two others commenced this suit against the respondents as the defendants jointly and severally and claimed against them in their Amended Staten1ent of Claim as follows:

‘(a)  A DECLARATION that the defendants are no longer members/and or National Officers of ALL PROGRESSIVES GRAND ALLIANCE [the 1sl Plaintiff] as they stand expelled froll1 the party with effect from January 12,2005, in accordance with the Constitution of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

(b)  A DECLARATION that the 2nd , 3rd and 4th Plaintiffs are the duly and only recognized and authentic National Chairman, Deputy National Chairman [North] and Deputy National Chairman [South] respectively of ALL PROGRESSIVE GRAND ALLIANCE [1st Plaintiff].

(c)  A DECLARATION that the 1st Defendant is not the National Chaim1an or Acting Nation Chairman of ALL PROGRESSIVE GRAND ALLIANCE [the 1st Plaintiff] and is not competent to parade himself as such.

(d)  A DECLARATION that the 1st  to 11th Defendants are no longer national officers of the 1st Plaintiff, having been constitutionally and duly expelled from the Plaintiff by the 1st Plaintiff.

(e)  A DECLARATION that the 1st to 14th Defendants are no longer members of ALL PROGRESSIVES GRAND ALLIANCE [the 1st Plaintiff] having been constitutionally and duly expelled from the Party.

(f)  AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st Defendant from parading himself or continuing to parade himself as the National Chairman or Acting National Chairman of the ALL PROGRESSIVES GRAND ALLIANCE, including issuing press statement purporting to be acting as the National Chairman of the 1st Plaintiff, or summoning, convening and/or holding any meetings in such capacity.

(g)  AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st to 11th Defendants from parading themselves or continuing to parade themselves as national officers or acting national officers of the ALL PROGRESSIVES GRAND ALLIANCE or issuing press statements purporting to be acting in such capacities or summoning, convening and/or holding any meetings in such capacities.

(h)  AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st to 14th Defendants from parading or continuing to parade themselves as members’ of the All PROGRESSIVES GRAND ALLIANCE or holding any meetings in such capacities.

(i)  AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants whether by themselves, their agents or privies from using the official logo, letter-headed papers or other stationeries or symbols of the ALL PROGRESSIVES GRAND ALLIANCE [1st Plaintiff] in any correspondence, meeting, conference or any gathering whatsoever and for any purpose whatsoever and in any manner howsoever.

(j) A DECLARATION that the Defendants purported suspension and/or expulsion of the 2nd ,3rd and 4th Plaintiffs from the 1st Plaintiff, is illegal, null, void and of no effect, as same was done without capacity, and in flagrant violation of the constitution of the 1st Plaintiff and without due process.’

During the prolonged and protracted trial that spanned 3 years after the parties called evidence and closed their cases, the learned trial judge ordered written address to be filed by each the defendants and the plaintiffs respectively the order for address was made on 23/1/2008 and the matter was adjourned to 25/2/2008 for the adoption of the final address. On the 25/2/2008 the plaintiffs filed applications asking for stay of proceedings pending appeal. The learned trial judge refused the applications for the stay of proceedings thereafter the learned trial judge closed the issue of final written address since the plaintiffs have failed to file any written address ordered since January and the matter was adjourned for judgment to 7/4/2008. On the 7/4/2008 when the matter resumed, the learned counsel for the appellants herein filed a motion to discontinue with the matter already earlier on adjourned for judgment. After hearing arguments of counsel in the matter, the learned trial judge adjourned the matter for ruling on the application to discontinue with the suit to the 16/4/2008. On the 16/4/2008, the learned trial judge refused the application to discontinue with the suit and thereafter proceeded to deliver his judgment in the substantive suit. Whereat he dismissed the plaintiffs suit as lacking in merit.

The appellants herein felt dissatisfied with the Ruling and the Judgment of the trial court and appealed to the court of Appeal. At the Court of Appeal, learned counsel for the appellants therein who are a1so the appellants herein, formulated and submitted two issues for the detenninatiol1 of the appeal. The issues were:

‘Issue I.

Was the learned trial judge right when he refused the appellants application for discontinuance of the case and proceeded to enter judgment against the appellants?

Issue II.

Was the learned trial judge right when he held that the 2nd appellant was validly expelled from the party when no such relief was sought by the parties. ‘

In its determination of the issues submitted to it, the Court of Appeal held that the learned trial judge exercised his discretion properly in refusing to allow the application to discontinue the matter having regard to the stage the matter had reached. On the second issue, the court also found that on the evidence adduced by the parties, the learned trial judge was right to have dismissed the appellants suit before him. The appellants still felt unhappy with the decision of the Court of Appeal and filed a further appeal to this court.

Now in his brief for the appellants, the learned counsel has identified and formulated five issues arising for the determination of the appeal and the

Issues are:

‘(1)  Whether the learned justices of the court below were right in coming to the conclusion that the learned trial judge was right in holding that the 2nd appellant was validly suspended/expelled as the National Chairman of the 1st appellant when same was not done in accordance with the express provisions of the Constitution of the party, binding on the parties.

(2)  Whether the learned justices of the Court of Appeal were right in holding that the findings of the learned trial judge on allegation of embezzlement and antiparty activities against the 2nd appellant were consistent with the evidence before the court when there was no such proof beyond reasonable doubt.

(3)  Whether the learned justices of the Court of Appeal did not misdirect themselves by holding that the trial court properly resolved conflicting evidence before it when it ignored and failed to review the evidence of the appellants.

(4)  Whether the learned justices of the Court of Appeal properly directed themselves on the appropriate course of action to be taken by the trial court upon refusal to grant an application for discontinuance.

(5)  Whether the learned justices of the Court of Appeal directed themselves properly in holding that the trial court was right in declaring in favour of the respondents that the 2nd appellant was properly expelled from the party rather than merely dismissing the claims of the appellants.

I have alluded and reproduced the issues formulated and submitted to the

Court of Appeal for the determination of their appeal. The decision of the

Court of Appeal at the tail end of its judgment was only to dismiss the appeal as lacking in merit. In order to fully appreciate the issues that could legitimately arise in this appeal, it may be necessary to again reproduce the issues submitted by the appellants at the Court of Appeal:

‘1.  Was the learned trial judge right when he refused the appellants application for the discontinuance of the case and proceeded to enter judgment against the appellants

  1. Was the learned trial judge right when he held that the 2nd appellant was validly expelled from the party when no such relief was sought by the parties.’

In my view, these are the only matters upon which the Court of Appeal was called upon to make a decision. Any other issue discussed at hearing of the appeal or mentioned in the judgment, has no direct bearing with the complaints of the appellants before the Court of Appeal. Any other issue or issues raised were orbiter dicta and had nothing to do with the crucial issues properly raised by the appellants for the determination of the appeal. It must be remembered that it was the appellants herein and others who first went to the trial court claiming the reliefs reproduced at the begining of this judgment, there was no counter-claim by the defendants, the respondents herein and the sum total of the judgment of the trial court as affirmed by the Court of Appeal was that the clain1s of the appellants were dismissed as lacking in merit. Accordingly any other issues or findings made by the courts were for no moment. Hence not all the issues now raised by the appellants in this appeal, five of them are relevant or legitimately arose from the complaints or appellants before the Court or Appeal. It has been held time and time again that it is not every error or mistake that can be made a complaint in an appeal, the complaint or error must arise from and affect the crucial issues discussed at the decision. In the final analysis, both the trial court and the Court or Appeal merely dismissed the reliefs sought by the appellants

Accordingly, the only relevant issues that arise legitimately for the determination of the appeal before (this court are two, (1) whether the Court or Appeal was right in affirming the decision of the learned trial judge Lo refuse the application for the discontinuance of the suit and (2) whether the decision of the learned trial judge as confirmed by the court below was right that the respondents had validly dismissed or removed the 2nd appellant when nobody sought that relief.

In this appeal, I shall first deal with the issue of whether the learned trial judge was justified in holding that the 2nd appellant was properly expelled from the party when there was no claim on that score by the any of the parties.

On this issue, the learned trial judge made the following pronouncement.

‘I have considered the evidence of the parties on this point and I am satisfied from the exhibits tendered that NWC and NEC met on the dates stated and took decisions to expel the 2nd-4th plaintiffs.

Now, the allegation of embezzlement of party funds.

This conduct is clearly an act of high handedness and the sign that the 2nd plaintiff was funning the party as he liked to the exclusion of other officers. This conduct was unbecomil1g of an officer of a party. All these clearly fall under Article 19(3) as the party was correct to have acted accordingly by removing him.’

Thus the learned trial judge on the evidence adduced before him was satisfied that the 2nd appellant was validly removed as the chairman of the party.

Elsewhere in the judgment the learned trial judge also stated:

‘If the relevant organs of the party met, is there proof that the allegations of anti-party activities and embezzlement was established against the 2nd plaintiff and his co-travellers”

The conducts of the 2nd plaintiff highlighted above which have not been refuted constitute anti-party activities and conduct capable of bringing the image of the 1st plaintiff to ridicule and disrespect.’

In its consideration of this issue the Court of Appeal, having examined the findings of fact made by the learned trial judge affirmed the finding in the following words:

‘ the learned trial judge made findings of fact which are consistent with the evidence before the court and this is a proper exercise of judicial function vested in the court to assess and evaluate evidence before it.

In view of the foregoing, it is my view that the learned trial (sic) court on the evidence before (sic)it correctly found as a fact that the 2nd appellant was validly suspended/expelled as a member/officer of APGA and in accordance with the Constitution of the party. ‘

Upon a careful examination of the issue as formulated by the appellants, his complaint is that no one claimed this finding as a relief in this matter since the respondents did not counter-claim. It is claimed that both courts were wrong to have decided that the 2nd appellant was validly expelled from the party.

Again, I have alluded to the claims and the reliefs sought by the appellants in this matter and I have reproduced them at the beginning of this judgment. It is the appellants who under paragraph ‘.J’ of the Amended Statement of Claim who sought the relief in these terms:

(j)  A DECLARATION that the defendants purported suspension and/or expulsion of the 2nd , 3rd and 4th Plaintiffs from the 1st  Plaintiff, is illegal, null, void and of no effect, as same was done without capacity, and in flagrant violation of the constitution of the 1st  Plaintiff and without due process. ‘

As can be seen it is manifest that it was the appellants who asked the court to decide and pronounce on the issue. The Court of Appeal in my view rightly agreed with the finding and consequently the appellants, having asked the court for the relief in the manner it was couched as reproduced above, cannot now claim that nobody prayed for it. It was the appellants prayer for the court to determine one way or the other whether the 2nd appellant was validly expelled or removed fron1 the party and the court by relying on the evidence adduced came to the inescapable conclusion, that the 2nd appellant was validly removed as the chairman of the party.

As mentioned above, it was the appellants who went to court seeking for certain reliefs, there was no counter-claim and at the end of the day, the trial court and as confirmed by the Court of Appeal merely affirmed the decision of the trial court in dismissing the appellants suit as it was devoid of any merit. The crucial decision of both courts was that of the dismissal of the appellants claims and no more. Accordingly all the arguments of counsel go to no legitimate issue. I accordingly resolve this issue against the appellants.

I will now discuss the question of the application of discontinuance as the last issue. This is the appellants issue No.4 which reads:

‘Whether the learned justices of the Court of Appeal properly directed themselves on the appropriate course of action to be taken by a trial court upon refusal to grant an application for discontinuance.”

The learned counsel for the appellants maintains that the learned trial judge ought to have called upon the appellants to address the court before proceeding to read the judgment after refusing the application to discontinue. Learned counsel referred to BABATUNDE VS. PAN ATLANTIC SHIPPING TRANSPORT AGENCIES LTD & 1 OTHERS (2007) 3 NWLR (Pt 1050) 113 at 165. It is submitted that final address is fundamental to a proper adjudication learned counsel referred to and relied on SOL FOND FOODS LTD. VS. ELEREWE (1996) 8 NWLR (465) 248 at 253, AYISA VS. AKANJI & ORS (1995) 7 NW~R (406) 129, SALAMI VS. ODOGUN (1991) 2 NWLR (Pt. 173) 291, AKABOGU & ORS. VS. AKABOGU (2003) 9 NWLR (826) 445 and IHOM VS. GAJI (1997) 6 NWLR (Pt. 509) 526.

The learned counsel further argued that the delivery of the judgment immediately after refusing the application for the discontinuance of the suit without asking the appellants to address the court amounted to denial of the right of fair hearing. Learned counsel referred to the case of AMOUGH VS. ZAKI (1998) 3 NWLR (Pt. 542) 484 at 491; NYA VS. EDEM (2005) 4 NWLR (916) 345; AG. ANAMBRA VS. OKEKE (2002) 12 NWLR (Pt. 782) 575; AKW A VS. C.O.P. (2003) 4 NWLR (Pt.811) 461.

It is again submitted that Order 27 rule 3 of the High Court (civil procedure) Rules of the FCT High Court is inapplicable to the circumstances of this case, and both the trial court and the Court of Appeal acted erroneously in holding that the learned trial judge could dismiss tile case rather than strike out the claims of the appellants. The delivery of the judgment under the circumstances on the merits negated the principles of fair hearing. Learned counsel referred to the case of EGWU VS. UNIVERSITY OF PORT HARCOURT (1995) 8 NWLR (Pt. (414) 419.

Before 1 discuss the submissions of the learned counsel for the respondents, it is important to keep in mind the crucial issue as argued by the appellants in the Court of Appeal, the main complaint of the appellants in the court of Appeal centered on the proprietary or otherwise of the trial court in refusing the application for discontinuance. The issue of the immediate and simultaneous delivery of the judgment did no feature significantly. So all the arguments of counsel for the appellants as narrated above, did not actually arise for the determination by the Court of Appeal. Most of the arguments bordering on fair hearing and in miscarriage of justice were not actually argued or submitted, what was argued by the learned counsel for the appellants was that the learned trial judge was in error to have delivered the judgment on the merits instead of striking out the suit, after he had refused the application to discontinue the suit as filed.

It is apt at this stage to capture how in the lead judgment of the Court of Appeal the matter was resolved. At page 1432 Vol. iv of the record it is provided:

‘On the 23/1/2008 the trial court closed the case of the 4th defendant after refusing his application for adjournment. Consequently, the Learned Senior Counsel for 1st 2nd , 5th  -14th defendants took 3 days to deliver this final address, counsel for the 3rd  and 4th defendants took her statutory days while counsel for the plaintiffs now appellants took 21 days. The court then adjourned to 25/2/2008 for the adoption of the final (written) address (see page 1061 of the records).

However 25/2/2008, counsel for the plaintiffs’/appellants instead of the adoption of his address brought two applications for stay of proceedings which were taken and dismissed by the learned trial judge. (see page 1070) 1074 of the record.

Upon the dismissal of the plaintiffs /appellants’ , applications for stay of proceedings, learned counsel for the plaintiffs/appellants sought for adjournment to enable the plaintiffs respond to the address of the defendants. The application was objected to and the trial court ruled as follows:

‘The parties seeking adjournment were ordered by this court on 231112008 to file their written address before today. That was not done and no reason has been tender as an inhibiting factor. Accordingly there is no cogent reason for adjournment the final address is closed and the case is adjourned for judgment. The judgment is adjourned to 7/4/2008. ‘

‘It is important to point out that there is no appeal against the refusal to grant the stay of proceedings nor the application sought on the 2512/2008.

However on 7/4/2008, the judgment could not be delivered because counsel for the plaintiff/appellants referred to the trial court to a fresh application filed to discontinue the case. The application was taken and ruling was fixed for 16/4/2008. On that day leave (to discontinue) was refused and the judgment of the court was delivered.’

I have examined the record and this clearly was what had transpired before the trial Court. In my view, the arguments for counsel reproduced above clearly go to no legitimate issue. At the time the judgment was read, the issue of address was dosed and obviously there was nothing left except to read the judgment. The appellants have failed to complain in an appeal against the decision to refuse their application for adjournment and/or for an extension of time to file the final address, or for the closure of the address. Having not appealed, the appellants must be deemed to have accepted the decision made by the trial court to have closed the issue of address and they cannot be heard to complain at this stage.

As mentioned above these are the only two legitimate issues arising for the determination of the appeal, all the other issues and arguments of counsel

are irrelevant. This appeal is clearly unmeritorious and frivolous. The judgments of the lower courts in dismissing the claims of the appellants is also affirmed. The appeal is accordingly dismissed. The 2nd appellant is to pay costs of N 50,00.00 to the respondents.

 

BODE RHODES-VIVOUR, J.S.C.:

I have had the advantage of reading in draft the judgment of my learned brother Musdapher, JSC. I am in complete agreement with the judgment. I propose, though to add only a few observations.

Issue No.4 reads as follows:

Whether the learned justices of the Court of Appeal properly directed themselves on the appropriate course of action to be taken by the trial court upon refusal to grant an application for discontinuance.

This issue is important in that if the procedure adopted by the learned trial judge is found to be wrong, the appellant would be correct to say that he was denied fair hearing. In the trial court the appellant was the plaintiff. On 23/1/08 the learned trial judge closed the case. Learned counsel for the parties were to prepare their addresses. The court adjourned to 25/2/08 for adoption of final addresses. On 25/2/08 rather than adopt his address learned counsel for the appellant (plaintiff) brought applications for stay of proceedings which were taken and dismissed. He then sought an adjournment to enable him respond to the address of the defendants.

Opposing counsel objected. This is what the learned trial judge had to say:

‘The parties seeking adjournment were ordered by this court on the 23rd January, 2008 (more than a month earlier) to file their written address before today. That was not done and no reason has been tendered as an inhibiting factor. Accordingly there is no cogent reason for adjournment. The final addresses is closed and the case is adjourned for judgment. The judgment is adjourned to 7/4/08.’

On 7/4/08 judgment was not delivered. This was due to the fact that learned counsel for the appellant filed an application to discontinue the case. The application to discontinue the case was taken and Ruling fixed for 16/4/08. On that day leave to discontinue was refused, and the judgment of the court was delivered. The stage at which an application to discontinue a case is brought is very important. If the application is brought before a hearing date is fixed, the suit would be struck out. This is so because at that stage the case has not been contested on the merit, but if brought after trial commences or at the end of trial, as in this case it shall be the duty of the trial judge to ensure that the ends of justice are met and in that regard the balance of convenience must be diligently considered. The trial judge would be justified to refuse leave and order the plaintiff to continue with his case, thereby refusing the application to discontinue if satisfied that it is in the interest of justice to so order. In my view the interest of justice and balance of convenience were properly considered by the learned trial judge before he refused to grant leave to discontinue the case. The Court of Appeal was also correct to agree with the learned trial judge.

To grant or refuse to grant leave to discontinue a case is entirely at the discretion of the trial judge. The grant of adjournment is also discretionary. An appellant court will not interfere with the way the trial judge exercise his discretion but would interfere if satisfied that it is in the interest of justice to do so, or the exercise was tainted with some illegality or irregularity. See

Udabuchi v. Edigbo 2000 4 SC pt.11 p. 124

Odusote v. Odusote 1971 ANLR p. 221

Okoiko v. Esedalue 1974 3SC p. 15

University of Lagos v. Aigoro 1985 1 NWLR pt.1 p. 143

Once a discretion is exercised judicially and judiciously, that is to say, with correct and convincing reasons the exercise of discretion would be held to have been properly exercised. I am satisfied that the learned trial judge exercised his discretion properly by refusing to grant an adjournment and refusing to grant permission to discontinue the case. The appellant was thus not denied fair hearing since his case was decided on the merits and he was given every opportunity to present his case.

For this, and the much fuller reasoning in the leading judgment I dismiss the appeal and award costs in the sum of N 50, 000 in favour of the respondents. The 2nd appellant shall pay the costs.

 

MAHMUD MOHAMMED, J.S.C.:

This appeal is against the decision of the Court of Appeal Abuja delivered on 13th January, 2010 dismissing the Appellants appeal against the Judgment of 16th the Federal Capital Territory High Court of Justice given on  2nd April, 2008 upholding the expulsion of the Appellant from the Appellant, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). This decision of the trial Court was made after the dismissal of the Appellants application to discontinue with the case after hearing evidence from the parties and the case adjourned for judgment when the Appellants had declined to deliver their final address as the Plaintiffs:

The issues identified in the Appellants brief of argument for the determination of the appeal are:

‘(1.) Whether the learned Justices of the Court below were right in coming to the conclusion that the learned trial Judge was right in holding that the 2nd Appellant was validly suspended/expelled as the National Chairman of the 1st Appellant when same was not done in accordance with the express provisions of the Constitution of the Party, binding on the parties (Arising from Ground 1).

(2.) Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal were right in holding that the findings of the learned trial Judge on the allegations of embezzlement and anti-party activities against ‘ the 2nd Appellant were consistent with the evidence before the Court when there was no such proof beyond reasonable doubt (Arising from Grounds 2 and 3).

(3.)  Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal did not misdirect themselves by holding that the trial Court properly resolved conflicting evidence before it when it ignored and failed to review the evidence of Appellants (Arising from Ground 4).

(4.) Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal properly directed themselves on the appropriate course of action to be taken by a trial Court upon refusal to grant an application for discontinuance (Arising from Grounds 5 and 6).’

(5.)  Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal directed themselves properly in holding that the trial Court was right in declaring in favour of the Respondents that the 2nd Appellant was properly expelled from the party rather than merely dismissing the claims of the Appellant (Arising from Ground 7),’

However, in the Respondents brief of argument, the three issues submitted for determination are:

‘a.  Are there concurrent findings of fact on the radical question of whether the suspension and expulsion of the 2nd Appellant and others from A.P.G.A as claimed by the Plaintiff/Appellant in the Amended Statement of Claim filed in the suit (see Grounds 1, 2, 3, 4 & 7).

b. If the answer to (a.) above is negative are there justifiable grounds for this Honourable Court to interfere with the said concurrent findings of fact.

1. Was the Court of Appeal right in affirming the correctness of the learned trial (sic) Courts exercise of discretion in this suit after the conclusion of evidence/address and the suit set down for the delivery of judgment (see Grounds 5 and 6).’

It is observed that issues a. and b. above in the Respondents brief raising the question of whether in the circumstances of the present appeal there are grounds for this Court to interfere with the concurrent findings of fact of the trial Court and the Court of Appeal, do not arise from any of the grounds of appeal filed by the Appellants. Infact the Respondents issue b. is not an issue at all for determination or arising from any ground of appeal filed by the Appellants as even the Respondents themselves have not attempted to relate it to any ground of appeal. It is merely a question providing the basis or stepping stone for the Respondents to advance their arguments on the position of an appeal on concurrent findings of fact of two Courts below. The law on the formulation of issues by a Respondent is well settled. It is to the effect that any issue formulated for determination of an appeal by the Respondent must relate to the grounds of appeal filed by the Appellant. However, for the Respondent in an appeal to validly raise any issue not related to or arising from the grounds of appeal filed by the Appellant, such Respondent must file a cross-appeal or file a Respondents Notice. …

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