APPEAL – FILING/ENTRY OF APPEAL – Effect of failure to file a cross appeal against a final decision in a civil matter to the Supreme Court within the statutorily prescribed time


“The case from which the cross-appellant’s purported cross-appeal emanates is a civil case. The decision of the Court of Appeal from which the purported cross-appeal emanates is a final decision of the Court of Appeal. The said final decision of the Court of Appeal was delivered by the Court of Appeal on 9th December 2014 over six (6) years ago. No extension of time was sought by the Cross-Appellant and none was granted by the Supreme Court. In the circumstances therefore, there is no Cross-Appeal before the Supreme Court with respect to which the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court ought to be invoked to consider the Cross-Appellant’s Brief of Argument that has been filed before the Court on 4th November, 2020 and the Notice of Cross Appeal filed on 9/3/2015, a period of 92 days. The law is trite, that the Supreme Court like any other Court is competent to entertain or hear appeals or complaints of any litigation before it if, among other things, the case that comes before it was or has been initiated by due process of law and upon fulfilment of any condition precedent to the exercise by it of its jurisdiction. It follows, therefore, that the Notice of Appeal for every ground of appeal therein, shall strictly comply with either the enabling statute or the Rules of Court, failing which the appellate Court cannot exercise jurisdiction over the appeal. In the instant case, the cross-Appellant has failed to file its Notice of Cross-appeal in the purported Cross-Appeal before the Honourable Court within the time limit stipulated by the extant law and therefore, the Supreme Court ought not to exercise jurisdiction over the Cross-Appeal with respect to which the Cross-Appellant’s brief of argument has been filed. The Notice of Cross appeal needed to strictly comply with the provision of Section 233(3) of the Constitution requiring leave to appeal in view of the effluxion of time to appeal within time and failing so the Court cannot exercise jurisdiction over the appeal. See Madukolu v. Nkemdilim (1962) 2 SC NLR 341; Achonu v. Okuwobi (2017)14 NWLR (pt.1584) 142 at 182.” Per MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI, JSC in BRONWEN ENERGY TRADING LTD. v. OAN OVERSEAS AGENCY (NIG) LTD & ORS (2022-LCER-46529-SC) (Pp 42 – 44; Paras E – C)

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