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INTEREST TO BE SHOWN BY AN INTERESTED PERSON TO APPEAL

Dictum

The interest which will support an application for leave to appeal as interested party must be genuine and legally recognisable interest in respect of a decision which prejudicially affects such a person. And for a person to qualify as a person interested, the applicant must show not only that he is a person having interest in the matter but also that the order or judgement of the Court below which he is seeking leave to appeal against prejudicially affects his interest. In other words, to succeed in the application, the applicants must show that they are persons who are aggrieved or persons against whom decisions have been produced which have wrongfully refused them something or wrongly affected their title to something. See: Nwaogu v. Atuma (2013) All FWLR (Pt. 669) 1022, In re: Ugadu (1988) 5 NWLR (Pt. 93) 189 at 202 per Karibi Whyte JSC; Usanga and Ors v. Okada and Ors (1964) 1 All NLR 36; Ikonne v. Commissioner of Police (1986) 4 NWLR (Pt. 36) 473; Dairo v. Gbadamosi In re: Afolabi (1987) 4 NWLR (Pt. 63) 18 and Ademola v. Sodipo (1992) 7 NWLR (Pt. 253) 260 261.

— K.B. Aka’ahs JSC. Abdullahi v. Nigerian Army (SC.433/2010(R), 25 MAY 2018)

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ONLY FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES WHICH ARE INCIDENTAL TO THE MAIN CLAIM CAN BE RAISED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE SUPREME COURT

✓ It is this clear that the jurisdiction to entertain any suit which seeks to enforce the observance of a fundamental right under chapter 4 of the Constitution, including the right of any person not to be subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment guaranteed under section 31(1)(a), of the 1979 Constitution, ties only with the High Court of a State or a Federal High Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is appellate and not original. See Attorney-General of Anambra State and others v. Attorney-General of the Federation and others (1993) 6 NWLR (Pt.302) 692. However, constitutional issues which pertain only to the breach of a fundamental right in the course of trial or hearing before the lower courts may be raised in an appeal to the Supreme Court. Such issues are those that relate mainly to breach of the right to fair hearing and the right to personal liberty under sections 32 and 33 of the Constitution. Other rights such as right to life and those to private and family life, peaceful assembly and association and freedom of the press can only be enforced through a substantive action in the appropriate High Court and cannot be raised in an appellate court, including the Supreme Court, as being incidental to the proceedings in the lower courts. The appellate courts, inclusive of the Supreme Court, have no original jurisdiction to entertain, determine or pronounce on questions relating to an alleged breach of fundamental rights, especially where the issue involved or the redress invoked is not directly relevant or intrinsic to the determination, on the merit, of the appeal before them. — Iguh JSC. Onuoha v State (1998) – SC. 24/1996

✓ The death row phenomenon was only raised obliquely and clearly extrinsically by the appellant in this appeal. The issue raised is whether the appellant’s confinement under sentence of death for an alleged unnecessarily prolonged length of time from the date of his conviction amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to section 31(1)(a) of the Constitution thereby warranting the quashing of his death sentence and substituting the same with life imprisonment. This issue, in my view, is not properly before this court. The jurisdiction of this court to entertain and determine such constitutional question will only arise on appeal after both the High Court and the Court of Appeal have considered and adjudicated on the issue. This is exactly the procedure adopted in the foreign cases that were cited before us. — Iguh JSC. Onuoha v State (1998) – SC. 24/1996

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WHEN AN APPEAL IS ENTERED, THE APPEAL COURT IS SEISED OF THE WHOLE PROCEEDING

As observed earlier, there is a finding by the court below that there was a pending appeal before it as Appeal No. CA/L/133/93 which was entered on May 2, 1995. Now, in accordance with the provisions of the Court of Appeal Rules, 1981 (as amended) an appeal is said to be entered in the court when the record of proceedings in the trial court has been received in the Registry of the court. See: Order 1 Rule 22, Court of Appeal Rules (1981) (as amended); Order 4 Rule 10, Court of Appeal Rules, 2007 (as amended). Once it is so entered, an appeal is then said to be pending. The Rule governing the control of proceedings during pendency of an appeal is that after an appeal has been entered and until it has been finally disposed of, the court shall be seised of the whole of the proceedings as between the parties thereto and except as may be otherwise provided in the Rules, every application therein shall be made to the court and not to the court below (i.e. the trial), but any application may be filed in the trial court for transmission to the court below. See Order 4, Rule 11. Thus, in pursuance of the above provisions of the Court of Appeal Rules, the trial court will have no competence or jurisdiction to decide on any application whether on notice or ex-parte in relation to an appeal which the trial court has become FUNCTUS OFFICIO. If the trial court takes any step thereon, except for the purposes of transmitting the processes so filed to the Court of Appeal, that step taken will be declared a nullity.

— T. Muhammad, JSC. VAB Petroleum v. Momah (2013) – SC.99/2004

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APPEAL STANDS OR FALL ON POINTS APPEALED AGAINST

MICHAEL V. THE STATE (2008) LPELR – 1874 (SC); where my lord MUSDAPHER (JSC, CJN) (of blessed memory) said as follows: “It is the law that where there is an appeal on some points only on a decision, the appeal stands or falls on those points appealed against only while the other points or decision not appealed remain unchallenged.”

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THERE IS NO RIGHT OF APPEAL ON AWARD OF COSTS

Generally there is no right of appeal against an award of costs except with leave of the High Court or of this court by virtue of section 241(2)(c) of the 1999 constitution. The exception to this provision of the constitution is where in addition to appeal as to costs, there is appeal on other issues or issue. See Anyaso v. Anyaso (1998) 9 NWLR (Pt 564) page 157. Ayanboye v. Balogun (1990) 5 NWLR (Pt 151) page 410.

— Abdu Aboki JCA. ACB v Ajugwo (2011) – CA/E/66/2006

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COURT CANNOT REVIVE AN INCOMPETENT APPEAL

The inherent jurisdiction to regulate proceedings in this court does not arise until there is a lis extant upon which the inherent jurisdiction operates. There is no provision either in the Constitution, the Court of Appeal Act or Court of Appeal Rules vesting this court with jurisdiction to validate by rectifying defects in appeals which are otherwise incompetent. There is no power in this court to entertain any application for or grant any relief in respect of a putative or incompetent appeal.

— Salami, JCA. Ifeajuna v. Ifeajuna (1998) – CA/E/181/97

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APPEAL IS THE CONTINUATION OF THE ORIGINAL ACTION

It is also trite that an appeal is a continuation of the original action. The parties are therefore confined to their case as pleaded and presented at the Court of first instance. See: Ngige Vs Obi (2006) 14 NWLR (Pt.999) 1 @ 225; Adegoke Motors Vs Adesanya (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt. 109) 250 @ 266; Alhassan Vs Ishaku (2016) LPELR – 40083 (SC) @ 680.

— K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun, JSC. MTN v. Corporate (2019) – SC.674/2014

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