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AN AMENDED NOTICE OF APPEAL OBLITERATES THE EARLIER NOTICE

Dictum

Ordinarily, an amended notice of appeal completely obliterates the original notice of appeal amended. It no longer avails the appellant either to formulate his issues for the determination of the appeal therefrom or to argue his appeal on the original notice amended … I agree with the 3rd Respondent that it is the law that an appellant cannot rely on and argue his appeal on more than one notice of appeal because an issue in an appeal cannot be determined on two separate filed notices of appeal. CHUKWU v. THE STATE (2007) All FWLR 1224 at 1240. It also the law that a withdrawn notice of appeal is taken as abandoned. Upon amendment of the notice of appeal upon leave of Court, the amendment goes to the roots and the amended notice of appeal, superseding the original notice of appeal, has the effect of completely obliterating the original notice of appeal which is taken to have been abandoned. Technically, it no longer avails the appellant to rely on the original notice of appeal, it having been amended and deemed abandoned.

— Ejembi Eko, JSC. Oboh & Anor v. NFL (SC.841/2016, January 28, 2022)

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ISSUE OF COMPETENCE SHOULD BE RAISED VIA NOTICE OF APPEAL

HEYDEN PETROLEUM LIMITED v. TOP LEADER SHIPPING INC (2018) LPELR-46680(CA) stated: “A preliminary objection that an appeal should not be heard and determined on the merit is a serious issue and if founded on grounds alleging incompetence of the appeal it should be taken seriously and considered and resolved one way or the other since without competence there is really no basis for adjudication and decision on the merit by a Court. Thus an issue bordering on the competence or incompetence of the entire grounds of appeal in an appeal is one which can validly be raised by means of a notice of preliminary objection and not by way of motion of notice.”

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A COMPETENT NOTICE OF APPEAL

A competent notice of appeal is like having the right key for a particular door. The notice of appeal is the key to the door to this Court. Without the right key, any effort to gain entrance through the door is an exercise in futility. It is void and therefore a nullity. In the immortal words of Lord Denning, MR in McFoy vs UAC (1961) 3 ALL ER 169 @ 172: “If an act is void, then it is in law, a nullity. It is not only bad but incurably bad … And every proceeding which is founded on it is also bad and incurably bad. You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse.” See also: Madukolu Vs Nkemdilim (1962) 2 SCNLR 341; Skenconsult Vs Ukey (1981) 1 SC 6.

— K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun, JSC. Francis v. FRN (2020) – SC.810/2014

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NOTICE OF APPEAL MUST BE SERVED PERSONALLY

By Order 2 Rule 3 (1) (b) of the Supreme Court Rules, Notice of Appeal is required to be served personally. This Court has in a number of cases held that the Notice of Appeal is an originating process and failure to serve same personally on a Respondent constitutes a fundamental vice which renders the appeal incompetent as this Court will be deprived of the jurisdiction to entertain the appeal in any form whatsoever except to make an order to strike out the said appeal.

– S.C. OSEJI, J.S.C. Odey v. Alaga (2021) – SC.9/2021

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WHERE A NOTICE OF APPEAL IS DEFECTIVE

It is not in doubt that a notice of appeal, being an originating process in an appeal process, is a very important document. It is the foundation of an appeal. If it is defective, the appellate Court has no choice than to strike it out on the ground that it is incompetent. I need to emphasis that the question of whether or not a proper notice of appeal has been filed in Court is a question which touches on the jurisdiction of the appellate Court. If no proper Notice has been filed, then there is no appeal for the Court to entertain. See FBN PLC v TSA Industries Ltd (2011) 15 NWLR (pt.1216) 247, Anadi v Okoti (1972) 7 SC page 57, Central Bank of Nigeria v Okojie (2004) 10 NWLR (pt.882) 488, Olanrewaju v BON Ltd (1994) 8 NWLR (pt.364) 622, Abubakar v Waziri (2008) 14 NWLR (pt.1108) 507.

— J.I. Okoro, JSC. Universal Properties v. Pinnacle Comm. Bank, NJA, Opia, Heritage, Fatogun (SC.332/2008, Friday, April 08, 2022)

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A NOTICE OF APPEAL IS AN INITIATING PROCESS

A notice of appeal is an initiating process by which a higher Court is invited to review the decision of a lower Court to determine whether on a proper consideration of the facts placed before the Court and the applicable law to the said facts, the lower Court arrived at a correct decision … The filing of a notice of appeal is a necessary prerequisite to the hearing of an appeal. Where leave is required a notice of appeal filed without leave is incurably defective and such notice cannot be amended. See Popoola vs. Adeyemo (1992) 8 NWLR (pt. 257) 1 SC, Abidoye vs Alawode (2001) 13 WRN 71 SC.

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

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INCOMPETENT NOTICE OF APPEAL CANNOT BE AMENDED

Any notice of appeal that is incompetent cannot be amended because you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand.

– K.B. Aka’ahs, JSC. SPDC v Agbara (2019) – SC.731/2017(R)

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