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CHARLES UMEZINNE v. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (2018)

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⦿ CASE SUMMARY OF:

CHARLES UMEZINNE v. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (2018) – SC

by PaulPipar

⦿ THEME(S)

Notice of appeal;
Appellant signing of a notice of appeal;

⦿ PARTIES

APPELLANT
CHARLES UMEZINNE

v.

RESPONDENT
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

⦿ CITATION

(2018) LPELR-46334(SC);

⦿ COURT

Supreme Court

⦿ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:

CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE, J.S.C.

⦿ LAWYERS WHO ADVOCATED

* FOR THE APPELLANT

– Babatunde Kehinde.

* FOR THE RESPONDENT

⦿ FACT

This is an appeal; the respondent has raised an objection as to the competence of the appeal.

⦿ ISSUE(S)

Whether or not a notice of appeal not signed by the Appellant himself is competent?

⦿ HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI

[APPEAL: ]

The preliminary objection was upheld.

RATIO:
i. For instance, this Court in Iwunze v FRN [2014] 6 NWLR (pt 1404) 580, 599, approvingly, re-affirmed Uwazurike v AG. Federation (supra) as “authority for the position…that a notice of appeal in a criminal appeal must be signed by the appellant.” In effect, ever since the old decision in Umar Cham v. Gombe Native Authority (supra) to the most recent decision in Iwunze v FRN (supra); Ikuepenikan v. The State (2015) LPELR, this Court has been consistent in its position that a notice of appeal in a criminal appeal must be signed by the appellant personally; see also: Ugochukwu Duru v FRN(2013) LPELR -19930 (SC) 16-7, paragraphs B-E; Okey Ikechukwu v FRN (supra); Ikuepenikan v The State (2015) LPELR 24611 (SC)

Available:  Okonofua Vincent Omoijahe v. Uwesu Umoru & Ors. (1999)

⦿ REFERENCED

S.243(1)(b) CFRN 1999;

⦿ SOME PROVISIONS

The Court of Appeal would have no jurisdiction to hear an appeal if there is noncompliance with Order 16 Rule 4(i) which states that: “4(i) Every notice of appeal or notice of application for leave to appeal or notice of application for extension of time within which such notice shall be given, shall be signed by the appellant himself …”

⦿ RELEVANT CASES

Umar Cham v. Gombe Native Authority (1964) NNLR 94, per Brett FJ: “There are good reasons for insisting that a notice of appeal should be signed by the convicted person himself. He may believe that an appeal would be hopeless and be unwilling to suffer the suspense of waiting for it to be determined. In a non-capital case, he may fear that he would fare worse if a retrial was ordered, and in the case of an appeal against sentence, he may not wish to take the risk of having the sentence increased. He may recognize that he has done wrong and feel that he can best expiate his wrong-doing by undergoing the sentence passed on him.”

Available:  Dr Oladipo Maja v. Mr. Costa Samouris (2002)

⦿ NOTABLE DICTA

* PROCEDURAL

Order 6 Rule 2 (1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2011 prescribes that every appeal shall be initiated through a Notice of Appeal. Such a notice is thus the most important foundational step in the building block in the appeal pyramid. Thus, any defect in it would render the appeal incompetent. – Centus Chima Nweze, JSC. Umezinne v. FRN (2018)

This must be so for a preliminary objection is a pre-emptive strike; its’ resolution obviates the need for the dissipation of precious judicial time in the determination of the appeal on the merit. – Centus Chima Nweze, JSC. Umezinne v. FRN (2018)

Available:  ALHAJI AMINU JUBRILLAH ABDULLAHI & ORS v. MRS. CHRISTIANA IYABO ADETUTU (2019)

I read a draft of the leading judgment of my learned brother, Nweze JSC, and I am in complete agreement with His lordship that under the Court of Appeal Rules 2007 the convict must sign the Notice of Appeal except: (a) He is of unsound mind; or (b) A body corporate; or (c) He is in a condemned cell and access to him is difficult or impossible. – Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Umezinne v. FRN (2018)

The Court of Appeal would lack jurisdiction to hear an appeal if an Appellant fails to comply with Statutory Provisions or the relevant rules of Court. The originating process in all appeals is the Notice of Appeal. Once it is found to be defective, the Court of Appeal ceases to have jurisdiction to entertain an appeal in whatever form. – Adamu Augie, JSC. Umezinne v. FRN (2018)

* SUBSTANTIVE

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