At inception, the Court had three Judicial divisions; Lagos, Kaduna and Enugu. In June 1977, the number was increased to five with the establishment of Benin and Ibadan divisions. Jos division came on stream in 1983,Port Harcourt division in 1989 and Abuja division in 1996. Two Judicial Divisions were established at lIorin and Calabar in February 1999, and recently six more divisions were established in 2009; Sokoto, Owerri, Akure, Ekiti, Yola and Makurdi thus bringing the total number of judicial divisions to sixteen. In 1976, the number of Justices of the Court including the President was fixed at thirty-six (Act No.43 of 1976). Cap 95 of 1990 Laws of the Federation increased the number to forty-one. 1993 Amendment Act increased the number to fifty and by 2006 Court of Appeal Act, the number increased to seventy. The Court of Appeal (Amendment) Act, 2013 recently increased the number to Ninety.
The Court is primarily an Appellate Court. The Court shall be deemed to be duly constituted for the purpose of hearing and determining any appeals, civil or criminal, if it consists of three Justices at a sitting. The Court of Appeal hears appeals from the Federal High Court, the High Court of a State, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the Sharia Court of Appeal of a
State including Abuja, the Customary Court of Appeal for both Abuja and the States, the Code of Conduct Tribunals, and Election Tribunals; particularly with regards to the National Assembly Election Tribunals, the Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Tribunals. The Court has original jurisdiction as Court of first instance in Presidential Election Petition.
The Federal Supreme Court which in pre-independence era was the intermediate appellate Court had since1963 become the final appellate Court.
The jurisprudence of this country acknowledged the need for an intermediate appellate Court. The Western State of Nigeria at that time had experimented with the process and established the Western Nigerian Court of Appeal (WNCA). This court was short-lived. The Court of Appeal was established by the Federal Court of Appeal Act (no. 43 of 1976), which came into existence in 1976 and was then called the Federal Court of Appeal. Their lordships, the late Hon. Justice D. O. Ibekwe and Hon. Justice M. Nasir, then Justices of the Supreme court, provided the initial injection of appellate experience. The history of this Court must be eternally grateful to this duo.
Hon. Justices of the Court of Appeal since 1976
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