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A GROUND OF APPEAL CANNOT BE BASED ON AN OBITER DICTUM

Dictum

The law is trite that a ground of appeal cannot be based on an obiter dictum. A ground of appeal is based on a ratio decidendi. An obiter dictum is, as a general principle of law, not binding on courts; a ratio decidendi is.

— Niki Tobi, JSC. Buhari v. INEC (2008) – SC 51/2008

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A COMPETENT APPEAL ARISES FROM A LOWER COURT’S DECISION

A competent appeal to this Court from the Court of Appeal, the Court below, arises only from that Court’s decision. In the case at hand where an issue had not been heard and decided by the Court of Appeal, an appeal to this Court, by virtue of Section 233(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, does not enure. See THOR V. FIRST CITY MERCHANT BANK LTD (2002) LPELR – 8061 (SC) and OYAKHIRE V. STATE (2006) LPELR-2863 (SC).

— M.D. Muhammad, JSC. Friday Charles v. The State of Lagos (SC.CR/503/2020, Friday March 31 2023)

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APPEALING MIXED LAW AND FACT REQUIRES LEAVE OF COURT

Where the law or rule prescribed the procedure to be taken in the performance of an act is not complied with, the performance of the act in the circumstance is a nullity. Section 233 (3) (a) provides that subject to the provisions of “Subsection (2) of this section, an appeal shall lie from the decisions of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court with leave of the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.” In other words, a party desiring to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court on mixed law and facts or facts is required to obtain the leave of the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court to file the notice and grounds of appeal.

— W.S.N. Onnoghen, JSC. SPDC v Agbara (2019) – SC.731/2017(R)

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A VAGUE GROUND OF APPEAL IS INCOMPETENT

I have taken a calm look at ground 6 and considered the submissions of counsel to the respective parties and it does appear to me that though the law is that a ground of appeal should not be considered in isolation of its particulars in order to understand its purports, yet it is also the law that a ground of appeal which defies understanding or is not particularized or indeed contains irrelevant particulars is simply a vague ground of appeal and thus incompetent. See CBN and Anor v. Okojie and Ors (2002) LPELR- 836 (SC).

— B.A. Georgewill JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Ors. (CA/L/427/2016, 9 Mar 2018)

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ISSUE DERIVED FROM BOTH COMPETENT & INCOMPETENT GROUND

It is also settled law that an issue for determination can only be distilled from a competent ground or competent grounds of appeal. As observed earlier, in a situation where an issue for determination is derived from both competent and incompetent grounds, the issue is liable to be struck out for incompetence.

– Kekere-Ekun JSC. CITEC v. Francis (2021) – SC.720/2017 CITEC v. Francis (2021) – SC.720/2017

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WHEN IS A GROUND OF APPEAL SAID TO BE VAGUE

The case of Hassan v. Buhari and Ors., (2022) LPELR – 56677 (CA), where this Court per Abiru, JCA, explained what constitutes a vague ground of appeal, as follows: “Now, a ground of appeal is said to be vague and imprecise when it is couched in a manner which does not provide any explicit standard for its being understood or when what is stated is so uncertain that it is not susceptible of being understood. It may also be considered vague when the complaint is not defined in relation to the subject or it is not defined in relation to the subject or it is not particularized or the particulars are clearly irrelevant – Central Bank of Nigeria v. Okojie (2002) 8 NWLR (Pt. 768) 48, Governor, Ekiti State v. Osayomi (2005) 2 NWLR (Pt. 909) 67, Imam v. Sheriff (2005) 4 NWLR (Pt. 914) 80 and Nwabueze v. Nwora (2005) 8 NWLR (Pt. 926) 1. In other words, where the complaint in a ground of appeal is discernible vis-a-vis the judgment of a lower Court, the ground of appeal cannot be said to be vague or imprecise”.

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ESSENCE OF PARTICULARS OF GROUND OF APPEAL

The essence of particulars to a ground of appeal is to explain or substantiate on the ground or grounds. Where the particulars are incorporated and embedded in the ground of appeal, as in this case, it does not make ground 2 incompetent. This method I would term as a “short cut” in drafting and formulating grounds of appeal by the learned counsel to the Appellant.

– Uwa, JCA. GTB v. Innoson (2014) – CA/I/258/2011

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