UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA v. CPL IZAT MAREN (2019)

UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA v. CPL IZAT MAREN

(2019)LCN/13098(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Friday, the 12th day of April, 2019

CA/L/243/2017

JUSTICES

TOM SHAIBU YAKUBU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

ABIMBOLA OSARUGUE OBASEKI-ADEJUMO Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

JAMILU YAMMAMA TUKUR Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

Between

UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA – Appellant(s)

AND

CPL IZAT MAREN – Respondent(s)

TOM SHAIBU YAKUBU, J.C.A. (Delivering the Leading Judgment): This appeal emanated from the judgment of the Lagos State High Court of Justice, holden at Ikeja Judicial Division, delivered on 22nd December, 2016. The respondent was the claimant in that Court. He had been a customer of the appellant- being the defendant at the Court below and had maintained a savings account at Oba Akran Branch of the appellant, at Ikeja since 2003. On 29th January, 2010, he went to the said branch to transact his normal banking business with the appellant. He noticed a discrepancy in his statement of account and alerted the appellant. The latter alleged that the respondent must have disclosed his Personal Identification Number (PIN), unwittingly to somebody who made transfers from his account, using his PIN. The respondent caused a petition to be written to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command and reported the fraudulent dealings by an unknown person with his accounts. In the course of police investigations into the respondent’s complaint, it became apparent to the respondent that the appellant was uncooperative with the police in their

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investigations. Therefore, the respondent had to sue the appellant in respect of the matter. On its part, the appellant averred that the withdrawals made on the respondent’s account were through the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) of Zenith Bank Plc and GT Bank Plc, using the respondent’s PIN number which was peculiar and known only by him as his electronic signature and access medium to the funds in his account. And that no withdrawal could have been validly made from the respondent’s account, vide the ATM without the use of respondent’s PIN number which only he knew. Hence, the appellant did not accept liability to the allegations of the respondent.

The parties filed and exchanged their pleadings. The matter went to pre-trial and subsequently culminated in a full trial. The respondent testified for himself whilst the appellant fielded one witness for itself. Thereafter, learned counsel on both sides, filed and exchanged their respective written addresses, which were later adopted by them, prior to judgment on the suit. In his decision, the learned trial judge found for the respondent. The appellant, piqued by the decision against it, appealed to

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this Court for a reversal of that decision. The appeal was erected on four grounds. In order to effectively prosecute the appeal, the Appellant’s brief of argument, was dated and filed on 4th April, 2017. On his part, the Respondent’s brief of argument, dated 28th April, 2017 was filed on 27th July, 2017. Thereafter, the Appellant’s Reply Brief was dated and filed on 30th August, 2017.

Matthew Esonajor, who settled the Appellant’s brief of argument, identified four issue therein, for the determination of the appeal, namely:

Whether the lower Court had the requisite jurisdiction to hear and determine the Claimant’s suit when the writ of summons that initiated the suit on 11th August, 2010 was not signed by a legal practitioner or the Claimant as required by law. (Distilled from Ground one of the grounds of appeal).

Whether the learned trial judge was right when he held that the claimant’s claim was premised on breach of contract and consequently entered judgment for the claimant in the sum of N446,000.00 (four hundred and forty six thousand naira). (Distilled from ground two of the grounds of appeal).

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Whether the appellant herein had any onus to produce photocopies of the 20 transactions complained of prior to judgment. (Distilled from ground three of the grounds of appeal).

Whether having regard to the evidence before the trial court, the Honourable Court was right in entering judgment in favour of the claimant. (Distilled from ground four of the grounds of appeal).

In the Respondent’s brief of argument, settled by Adeyemi Adegbite, Esq., five issues were nominated for the determination of the appeal, to wit:

Whether the Defendant having failed to raise objection to a wrong procedure of the trial could raise it later if he suffered no injustice thereby.

Whether the omission to comply with the procedure as required by the rules of Court affected the substance of this suit.

Whether the exercise of jurisdiction is the same as lack of jurisdiction.

Whether the trial judge failed in his duty if he did not disbelieve a witness on a point in which the witness was not cross examined and about which no rebutting evidence was tendered.

Whether having regard to evidence before the trial Court, the judgment entered in favour of the claimant demonstrated in full a

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dispassionate consideration of the issues properly raised and heard and reflected the result of such an exercise.

I am satisfied with the four issues suggested by the appellant’s learned counsel for the determination of the appeal. The five issues nominated by respondent’s learned counsel, having outnumbered the four grounds of appeal, are non sequitur. They are accordingly hereby discountenanced. Chami v. United Bank for Africa (2010) 2 SCNJ 23; Senator (Dr.) Chris Ngige & Anor v. Independent National Electoral Commission & Ors (2015) 1 NWLR (pt.1440) 281. I shall take the appellant’s issue one first. Thereafter, I shall consider issues two, three and four together.

Issue One:

The contention of the appellant, is that the respondent’s writ of summons, which was filed at the Court below on 11th August,2010 in order to kick start his claim against the appellant, was neither signed by a Legal Practitioner nor the respondent himself in accordance with the provisions of Order 6 Rule 2 (3) of the High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules,2004, which was the applicable rule of Court when the respondent’s action was filed. Therefore

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he insisted that since the respondent’s writ of summons, being an originating process was an unsigned document, the same was incompetent, hence the Court below was deprived of its jurisdiction to entertain and determine that action. He placed reliance on authorities such as: Okarika v. Samuel (2013) 7 NWLR (pt.1352) 19 @ 43; Community Development Organization Tudun – Maliki Quarters v. Mohammed (2015) 9 NWLR (pt.1465) 585 @ 604 & 608; Buhari v. Adebayo (2014) 10 NWLR (pt.1416) 560 @ 588; Fatoki v. Baruwa ( 2012) 14 NWLR (pt.1319) 1 @ 15. Furthermore, it is the appellant’s contention to the effect that since the respondent’s initiating process is incurably defective, the jurisdiction of the Court below was activated over the action. He referred to SLB Consortium Ltd v. NNPC (2011) 9 NWLR (pt.1252) 317 @ 332 & 335; Madukolu v. Nkemdilim (1962) 2 SCNLR 341 @ 348. And that the question of jurisdiction can be raised at any stage of the proceedings at the trial Court or on appeal and that the Court can even raise it suo motu, placing reliance on Irom v. Okimba (1998) 3 NWLR (pt.540) 19; Utih v. Onoyivwe (1991) 1 NWLR (pt.166) 166.

Responding to the appellant’s contentions, the

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respondent’s learned counsel, placed reliance on Order 5 Rule 1(2) of the High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2004 and submitted that the failure of the respondent to sign the writ of summons was an irregularity and that the appellant did not raise any objection to it at the trial, until after losing the case that it is raising the question of the validity of the writ. He submitted too that the noncompliance with the rules of Court in the instant case is an irregularity. And that since the appellant did not raise the issue of the validity of the writ of summons at the trial, it meant that the appellant did not suffer any injustice and having taken some steps in the proceedings, the appellant had acquiesced in the procedure adopted at the trial, such that it can no longer complain at this stage. He referred to Ogbomor v. The State (1985) 1 NWLR (pt.2) 223; Nwoye v. Road Construction Ltd (1966) NWLR 254. And that in any event the irregularity in the writ of summons and the omission to indorse the name and address of Legal Practitioner on the writ does not affect the substance of the suit. He referred to Akiola v. Fasehun & Ors (1967) NMLR 66.

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Resolution of issue one:

Jurisdiction is the authority that a Court has in order to decide any matter laid before it or even take cognisance of matters presented before it in a formal way for its decision on such matters. Therefore, where a Court lacks the jurisdiction to try any matter presented before it, such a decision amounts to nothing as it will be tantamount to an exercise in futility. To underscore the criticality and quitessence of jurisdiction to adjudication, the Supreme Court in a plethora of decided, authorities, one of which is Hon. Ehioze Egharevba v. Hon. Crosby Osadulor Eribo & Ors (2010) 9 NWLR (pt. 1199) 411; (2010) LPELR – 9716 (SC); (2010) 3 SCNJ (Pt. 11) 441 at 453 – 454, re-echoed the law succinctly, per Adekeye, JSC that:

“Jurisdiction is a term of comprehensive import embracing every kind of judicial action.

It is the power of a Court to decide a matter in controversy and presupposes the existence of a duly constituted Court, with control over the subject matter and the parties. Jurisdiction also defines the power of the Court to inquire into facts, apply the law, make

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decisions and declare judgment. It is the legal right by which judges exercise their authority. Jurisdiction is equally to Court, what a door is to a house. That is why the question of a Court’s jurisdiction is called a threshold issue, because it is at the threshold of the temple of justice. Jurisdiction is a radical and fundamental question of competence, for if the Court has no jurisdiction to hear the case, the proceedings are and remain a nullity however well-conducted and brilliantly decided they might have been. A defect in competence is not intrinsic but rather extrinsic to adjudication. Oloba v. Akereja (1988) 3 NWLR (pt. 84) pg. 508; Oloriode v Oyebi (1984) 1 SCNLR pg. 390, Ezomo v. Oyakhire (1985) 1 NWLR pt. 2 pg. 105; Petrojessica Enterprises Ltd v. Leventis Technical Co. Ltd (1992): 2 SCNLR pg. 341, Barclays Bank v. Central Bank of Nigeria (1976) 6 SC pg. 175, African Newspapers of Nigeria v. Federal Republic of Nigeria (1985) 2 NWLR pt. 6 pg. 137, Adeleke v. OSHA (2006) 16 NWLR pt. 1006 pg. 608; Attorney General Anambra State v. A – G Federation (1993) 6 NWLR pt. 302 pg. 692, Saleh v. Monguno (2003) 1 NWLR pt. 801 pg. 22l. The issue of

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jurisdiction being fundamental can be raised and challenged at any stage of the proceedings in the lower Court, in the Court of Appeal or even for the first time in the Supreme Court. The issue of jurisdiction being so pivotal can be raised suo motu by the Court so long as the parties are accorded the opportunity to react to the issue.”

The eminent jurist and revered Mohammed Bello, C. J. N. (now of blessed memory) in the judicial words on marble on jurisdiction, in Chief Utuedo Utih & 6 Ors. v. Jacob U. Onoyivwe & 5 Ors (1991) 1 SCNJ 25 at 49, had stated that:

“Jurisdiction is the blood that gives life to the survival of an action in a Court of law and without jurisdiction, the action will be like an animal that has been drained of its blood. It will cease to have life and any attempt to resuscitate it without infusing, blood into it, would be an abortive exercise.”

The reason for this analogy is not farfetched. It is because the life of the flesh is in the blood. In other words, jurisdiction is the life in the action, placed before the Court, for adjudication.

In Madukolu & others v. Nkemdilim (1962) All NLR 581; (1962)

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2 SCNL 341 at 587 – 590, the Federal Supreme Court held on jurisdiction and the competence of a Court thus:

“Put briefly, a Court is competent when –

a) It is properly constituted as regards members and qualification of the members of the bench, and no member is disqualified for one reason or another; and

b) The subject matter of the case is within its jurisdiction, and there is no feature in the case which prevents the court from exercising its jurisdiction; and

c) The case comes before the Court initiated by due process of law, and upon fulfillment of any condition precedent to the exercise of jurisdiction.

These three conditions stated above must co-exist before the Court can be vested or clothed with proper competence and jurisdiction. See The Military Administrator Benue State & 20 Ors. v. Captain Clement Abayilo (Rtd) (2001) FWLR (Pt.35) page 604,(2001) 5 NWLR (Pt. 705) 19: Ishola v. Ajiboye (1994) 19 LRCN 35, (1994) 1 NWLR (Pt. 352) 508: Matari v. Dan Galadima (1993) LRCN 335, (1993) 3 NWLR (Pt. 281) 266; A-G., Anambra State v. A-G. Federation (1993) 6 NWLR (Pt. 302) page 692; Odofin v. Agu (1992) 3 NWLR (Pt. 229) page 350.

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The jurisdiction of the Court is determined by the cause of action of the plaintiff as endorsed on the writ of summons or from both the writ of summons and the statement of claim. Where however, an action is commenced by Originating summons then it is the reliefs sought as well as the averments in the affidavit in support of the originating process that would be examined to discern if the Court has jurisdiction.

These would be relied on if the facts placed before the Court as contained in the statement of claim or the affidavit in the case of originating summons are clear and unambiguous to enable it determine the issue.

This is because it is the plaintiff who invokes the constitutional right for a determination of his right and accordingly the exercise of the judicial powers of the Constitution vested in the Courts. A-G., Oyo State v. NLC (2003) 8 NWLR (Pt. 821) 1; Akande & 2 Ors. v. Busari Alagbe & Anor, (2001) FWLR (Pt. 38) page 1352, (2000) 15 NWLR (Pt. 690) 353; A- G, Federation v. Guardian Newspaper Ltd. & 5 Ors. (2001) FWLR (Pt. 32) 93, (1999) 9 NWLR) Pt. 618) 187; Messrs N. V. Scheep & Anor. v. The MV’S Araz & Anor.

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(2000) FWLR (Pt. 34) 556, (2000) 15 NWLR (Pt. 691) 622; NEPA v. Atukpor (2001) FWLR (Pt. 20) 626. (2000) 1 NWLR (Pt. 693) 96; General Sani Abacha & 3 Ors. v. Chief Gani Fawehinmi (2000) FWLR (Pt. 4) 557, (2000) 6 NWLR (Pt. 660) 228; Okulate & 4 Ors V. Awosanya & 2 Ors. (2000) 2 NWLR (Pt. 646) 530-536.

In the instant case, it is indisputable that the respondent’s writ of summons was neither signed by a Legal Practitioner nor by the respondent himself as required by Order 6 Rule 2(3) of the High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2004 which was the applicable rules of Court as at the time that the respondent’s suit was filed in Court. The aforesaid Order 6 Rule 2(3) is to the effect that:

” Each copy shall be signed by the legal practitioner or by a claimant where he sues in person and shall be certified after verification by the Registrar as being a true copy of the original.”

?The respondent’s submission is that the fact that the said writ of summons was neither signed by a Legal Practitioner nor by himself personally, was an irregularity which does not affect the substance of the suit. The

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law has been settled beyond per adventure that a writ of summons is an initiating process. It is in fact the basic foundation of a claim in Court, except where the suit is begun by the mode of originating summons, which in turn then becomes the originating process. Generally, an unsigned document is a worthless piece of paper. In Tsalibawa v. Habiba (1992) 2 NWLR (pt.174) 461, the essence of a signature on a document, was espoused by Okunola, JCA., thus:

“The importance of signature as a mark of authenticating a document as being that of the writer was judicially explained in page 2547 of volume 3 of Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary, 4th Edition as follows:

‘Speaking generally,a signature is the writing or otherwise affixing a person’s name or mark to represent his name by himself or by his authority (R v. Kent Justice L.R. 6 Q.B. 305) with the intention of authenticating a document as being that of ,or binding on, the person whose name or mark is so written or affixed.”

Therefore, if a document is not signed, it is of no probative value. Garuba v. Kwara Investment Co (2005) All FWLR (pt.252) 469 @ 479 ; Omega Bank Nig. Plc v. O.B.C. Ltd (2005)

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All FWLR (pt.249) 1964 @ 1993 .

And more particularly, with respect to a writ of summons, being an initiating process which kick starts a claim in a Court of law, the Supreme Court, per Muhammad, JSC., in Okarika & Ors v. Samuel & Ors (2013) LPELR- 19935 (SC); (2013) 7 NWLR (pt.1352) 19 @ 43,paras: A -C, succinctly stated that:

“Once an initiating process, be it a writ of summons or notice of appeal is not signed or authenticated either by the litigating party or the legal practitioner on his behalf, then the process is invalid and the jurisdiction of the Court is ousted.”

Further see: Buhari & Anor.v. Adebayo & Ors (2014) 10 NWLR (pt.1416) 560 @ 588; (2014) LPELR- 22521 (CA) @ pg.26; Community Development Organization, Tudun – Maliki Quarters & Anor v. Ibrahim Mohammed (2015) 9 NWLR (pt.1465) 585 @ 604; (2014) LPELR- 23598 (CA) @ pg.20, Zenith Bank Plc., v. Rita Uzoamaka Ifeadi (2019) LPELR – 46773 (CA) @ pp. 45, paras B ? A.

Having found that the respondent’s writ of summons filed in respect of this case at the Court below, is fundamentally defective and invalid, the entire proceedings is also affected by that

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virus, such that the Court below was deprived of its jurisdiction to hear and determine that suit. Consequently, the said writ of summons, being invalid and incompetent, is struck out. Therefore, there was no pedestal upon which the subsequent proceedings which culminated in the judgment, delivered by the learned trial judge, could firmly stand. Hence, the entire suit was yet to get up.

In sum, issue one is resolved for the appellant.

?A resume’ of the appellant’s contentions with respect to issues 2,3 and 4, is firstly that the learned trial judge was in error in construing the respondent’s claim as being founded on breach of contract whereas, the relief as endorsed on the statement of claim was premised on breach of duty of care and that the same was not proved by the respondent. And that in a claim anchored on a breach of a duty of care, the claimant must prove that the defendant was negligent in providing the expected care, hence he must give particulars of the defendant’s negligence. This, the respondent failed to aver in his statement of claim. Learned appellant’s counsel contended that the learned trial judge was gratuitous in awarding the sum

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of N446,000.00 as general damages to the respondent on the basis of the fact that the claim was premised on breach of contract, which it was not.

With respect to the production of the photocopies of the 20 transactions complained of by the respondent, learned appellant’s counsel contended to the effect that the appellant had no obligation to produce the said documents, since there was no order of the Court below for it to so do. In his arguments on issue four, the learned appellant’s counsel contended that if the learned trial judge had properly evaluated the pieces of evidence proffered and placed before him, it would have been clear to him that since the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Debit Card and the respondent’s Personal Identification Number (PIN) was in his possession and control, there was no reason for holding the appellant liable for the withdrawals from the respondent’s account. He placed reliance on Agi v. Access Bank Plc (2014) 9 NWLR (pt.1411) 121.

?Arguing per contra, the respondent’s learned counsel,submitted that the appellant as a bank was an agent of the respondent and that the general rule of the law of agency was applicable in

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the instant case, therefore according to him, the appellant owed the respondent a duty of care to keep the respondent’s account accurately and in secrecy. He referred to Habib Bank Ltd v. Koya (1992) 7 NWLR (pt.251) 43. He furthermore submitted to the effect that there was ample evidence that the respondent did not make the withdrawals indicated by the 20 transactions complained of and that the learned trial judge properly and dispassionately evaluated the evidence placed before him and in tandem with the pleadings of the respondent.

Resolution:

The law has been well settled beyond disputation to the effect that the claim by a Claimant is clearly delimited and circumscribed by the reliefs endorsed in the writ of summons and the statement of claim. Therefore, in order to prove the claim and be entitled to all or any of the reliefs being sought by the claimant, he must proffer cogent evidence to the satisfaction of the Court, for him to be awarded such relief. And just as the claimant cannot be allowed to set up a new claim which is different from the reliefs endorsed in the writ of summons and statement of claim, so also, the Court has no power to

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award to claimant what he did not seek as a relief. Hence the Court is bound to grant only the reliefs claimed and nothing more than that. Chief Okoya & Ors v. Santilli & Ors (1990) 3 SCNJ 83 @ pp.187-189; Alhaji Akibu & Ors v. Alhaja Oduntan & Ors(1991) 2 SCNJ 30; Ativie v. Kabelmetal ( Nig) Ltd (2008) 10 NWLR (pt.1095) 396 @ 414; Osuji v. Ekeocha (2009) 16 NWLR (pt.1166) 81 @ 125; Ekpenyong v. Nyong (1975) 2 S.C.71; Wema Bank v. Crestwood Holdings Ltd. (2019) LPELR ? 46776 (CA) pp 10 ? 12, paras A?A.

In the instant case, Relief 15.ii., claimed by the respondent as endorsed in his statement of claim at page 5 of the record of appeal, prayed for:

“AN ORDER of refund of the sum of N396,000 which was lost as a result of the Defendant’s breach of duty of care.”

?Unarguably, the respondent’s claim bordered more on the tort of negligence and not on contract as erroneously found by the learned trial judge. This is so because the principle of duty of care has its place in the tort of negligence. United Bank for Africa v. Ogundokun (2009) 6 NWLR (pt.1138) 450 @ 481-482; Diamond Bank Ltd v. P.I.C. Ltd (2009) 18 NWLR

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(pt.1172) 67 @ 103. In such claims predicated on negligence as the basis of the allegation of a breach of duty of care, it is incumbent on the claimant such as the respondent herein to set out the particulars of the appellant’s negligence in his statement of claim and lead evidence to prove same. There are no such particulars in the respondent’s statement of claim in this matter. And having failed to aver facts showing the particulars of negligence in his statement of claim, the respondent became disabled from claiming any damages from the alleged breach of duty of care anchored on the negligence of the appellant. Abubakar v. Joseph (2008) 13 NWLR (pt.1104) 307; First Bank of Nigeria Plc. v. Associated Motors Co Ltd (1998) 10 NWLR (570) 441. I am in agreement in view of the foregoings, with the appellant’s counsel, that the learned trial judge was in error for awarding the sum of N446,000.00 in favour of the respondent, as damages for breach of contract. Therefore, issue two is resolved for the appellant.

?Now, with respect to the question as to whether or not the appellant was obligated to produce photocopies of the 20 transactions complained

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of by the respondent, the law is as specified in Sections 218, 244 and 245 of the Evidence Act, 2011, which deal clearly with production of documents to be used in Court. There is nothing to show in the record of appeal, to the effect that the respondent had given any notice to the appellant to produce the photocopies of the 20 transactions complained of by the respondent. All that the respondent prayed for in relief 15.i. of the endorsement on the statement of claim was a prayer for:

“AN ORDER to produce the photocopies of the 20 transactions complained of.”

The respondent did no more to ensure the actualization of relief 15.i. above. And there was no order by the learned trial judge, issued to the appellant to produce the said photocopies of the 20 transactions complained of by the respondent. Perhaps, learned respondent’s counsel ought to have known that in our adversarial system of administration of justice, it is not a tea party to file an action in Court and not being proactive; it is illusionary to expect victory at the end of the trial or appeal at the appellate Court. I say no more than to resolve issue three for the appellant.

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With respect to issue four, the law has remained very well established that if there is a complaint by an appellant to the effect that the trial judge did not do a proper evaluation of the pieces of evidence proffered by witnesses and placed before him, the appellate Court is in as good position as the trial judge, to do an appraisal and assessment of the same pieces of evidence, in order to ensure that justice is done in the matter. Jason Umesie & Ors v. Prof. Hyde Onuaguluchi & Ors ( 1995) 12 SCNJ 120 @ pp.134-135; David Akpan & Anor v. Udo Utih & Ors (1996) 6

SCNJ 244 @ 265; Mkpinang v. Ndem (2013) 4 NWLR (pt.1344) 302 @ 321.

?I have perused the pieces of evidence proffered and placed before the learned trial judge. There is clear evidence in the evidence of the respondent at page 51 of the record of appeal wherein he admitted that he had the custody and was in control of his Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Debit Card and that his Personal Identification Number (PIN) was known only by him. There is no evidence that the respondent’s ATM Debit Card ever got lost, because according to him the same was always in his possession. And the most intriguing dimension to this matter, was

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that the withdrawals from the respondent’s account, were not done through the appellant’s own Automated Teller Machine (ATM), but curiously through the Zenith and GT Banks’ Automated Teller Machines. In the circumstances, it was a perverse finding by the learned trial judge, to the effect that the appellant was liable for the withdrawals from the respondent’s account. It seems to me more probable that it is the respondent who was in possession and had custody cum control of his ATM Debit Card at all material times, and who only knew his PIN number, that can account for the withdrawals in question. And if it is otherwise, then the respondent may have been careless with his ATM Debit Card and PIN number, such that a third party could have stealthily got possession of the said ATM Debit Card and PIN number with which the respondent’s account was accessed. That was the ratio decidendi of our decision in Agi v. Access Bank Plc (supra) @ pp. 155-156.

In sum and without further ado, I resolve issue four for the appellant. Having resolved all the issues discussed in the appeal in favour of the appellant,

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I hold that the appeal has onions, it is accordingly allowed. Consequently, the judgment delivered by A. A. Oyebanji, J., in re – Suit NO: ID/1187/2010, on 22nd December, 2016, is hereby set aside. In other words, the respondent’s claim at the court below failed and stands dismissed.

Each side shall bear own costs of the appeal.

ABIMBOLA OSARUGUE OBASEKI-ADEJUMO, J.C.A.: I read the lead Judgment of my learned brother, TOM SHAIBU YAKUBU, JCA before now and I find that he has covered the field and brought out the salient issues at stake. Therefore, I agree with the reasoning and conclusion reached therein.

I agree that the appeal has merits and the decision of the lower Court is hereby set aside.

JAMILU YAMMAMA TUKUR, J.C.A.:I read before today the lead judgment just delivered by my learned brother TOM SHAIBU YAKUBU JCA. I agree with the judgment and adopt it as mine with nothing useful to add.

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Appearances:

M.E. Esonanjor, Esq. with him, J.O. Osaro, Esq.

For Appellant(s)

Adeyemi Adegbite, Esq.For Respondent(s)

Appearances

M.E. Esonanjor, Esq. with him, J.O. Osaro, Esq.For Appellant

AND

Adeyemi Adegbite, Esq.For Respondent

 

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