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PERSONAL SERVICE OF A NOTICE OF APPEAL IS A REQUIREMENT OF LAW

Dictum

With profound respect to the erudite senior counsel, this cannot be. As this Court explained, in a most magisterial manner, the term irregularity in respect of procedure, is often construed to denote something that does not fundamentally taint or besmirch a procedure as to render it invalid or a nullity. In other words, an irregularity is deemed to be curable. However, personal service of an originating process, like a Notice of Appeal, is a fundamental requirement of the law.

– C.C. Nweze JSC. Odey v. Alaga (2021) – SC.9/2021

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MORE THAN ONE NOTICE OF APPEAL FILED WITHIN TIME IS VALID

Tukur Vs Government of Gongola State (1988) 1 NSCC 30 at 36: It is more correct to say that the Rules of the Court of Appeal did not expressly provide for the filing of more than one notice. The Rules were silent on the Issue and it is therefore my opinion that every notice of appeal filed within time is valid. If more than one notices are filed within time, the others may be superfluous but not invalid. All the notices combined have been in exercise of a right of appeal. They may have stated different grounds which if permissible in law, gives validity and competency to the notice. Where several notices of appeal have been validly filed, I cannot see anything preventing an application for leave to consolidate them into one or for withdrawal of all except one.

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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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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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AN AMENDED NOTICE OF APPEAL OBLITERATES THE EARLIER NOTICE

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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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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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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