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WHERE A NOTICE OF APPEAL IS DEFECTIVE

Dictum

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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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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PARTIES IN NOTICE OF APPEAL SHOULD BE SAME IN AN APPLICATION SUBSEQUENTLY BROUGHT ON SAME SUIT

The Notice of Appeal which is the foundation of this application has four parties as respondents, whereas the application has only three parties, exclusive of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court who is the 4th respondent in the Notice of Appeal. The Chief Registrar shouldn’t have been excluded/omitted from the application before us, as, if the appeal is supposed to involve the Chief Registrar, then the Chief Registrar is supposed to be involved in the application. The parties in both processes should be the same, and none should be excluded unless it has been formerly withdrawn. In this respect I endorse the submission of Chief Olanipekun. SAN on the issue of the parties, and I agree that the applicant cannot change the parties in the notice of appeal in this application.

— A.M. Muktar, JSC. Shinning Star Nig. Ltd. v. AKS Steel Nigeria Ltd. (2011) – SC. 101/2010

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APPELLANT ENTITLED TO FILE MORE THAN ONE NOTICE OF APPEAL

There is also no doubt and it cannot be disputed that an appellant is entitled to file more than one Notice of Appeal within the time prescribed for so doing by the Rules of court. But whenever there are more than one Notices of Appeal and all the said Notices were filed within the time so prescribed, the Appellant cannot use or rely upon more than just one of the Notices of Appeal to argue the appeal. He must choose which of them he intends to rely upon.

– O. Ariwoola, JSC. Tukur v. Uba (2012) – SC.390/2011

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APPEAL CANNOT BE DECIDED WHERE NOTICE OF APPEAL IS COMPETENT

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

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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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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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