My lords, it is of utmost importance and I so bear it in my mind that it is only when a notice of appeal is competent that a determination of it on the merit will be feasible. In other words, where a notice of appeal is incompetent, it is liable to be terminated in limine and it would be of no moment no matter how meritorious it would have been if it were to be considered on the merit. In law, one of the most essential requirement or condition precedent for the competence of an appeal to be determined on the merit by the Court is a valid notice and grounds of appeal, in the absence of which such an appeal would be rendered incompetent and thus incapable of being determined on the merit by this Court for without jurisdiction there can be no competence of any cause or matter or appeal before the Court. It has long been settled in our law that jurisdiction is a fundamental one and thus can be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal for the first time as in the instant appeal by either of the parties or even by the Court suo motu and once raised it must first be determined one way or the other by the Court before any other issue touching on the merit or otherwise of the respective cases of the parties can be enquired and be determined on the merit by the Court. This is so because in the absence of jurisdiction there can be no competence in the 1st Respondent’s claim to be heard and determined on the merit, since jurisdiction is the life blood of every cause or action and thus where the requisite jurisdiction is found to be lacking, that is indeed the end of the matter. See Madukolu v. Nkemdilim (1962) 2 All NLR 581.
— B.A. Georgewill, JCA. University of Lagos v. Mbaso (2018) – CA/L/775/2016