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MOHAMMED KINAMI ABUBAKAR v. MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT & ANOR

(2017) LPELR-43286(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Tuesday, the 7th day of November, 2017

CA/A/334/2017


Before Their Lordships

ABDU ABOKI Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

TANI YUSUF HASSAN Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

MOHAMMED MUSTAPHA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

MOHAMMED KINAMI ABUBAKAR - Appellant(s)

AND

1. MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT
2. PRINCE TOLUFASHE KOLAWOLE EMMANUEL - Respondent(s)


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Land Law.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the judgment of the High Court of Justice Lokoja, Kogi State delivered on the 20th day of February, 2017 in Suit No.HCL/67/2011.

The appellant as claimant at the lower Court instituted an action by writ of summons and statement of claim against the respondents as (defendants therein).

The writ claimed against the defendants (respondents herein) jointly and severally as follows:
1. A declaration that, the claimant is the statutory owner of plot of land within an urban area on block 5 TCP 08 extension Lokoja measuring 15MX15M (100FT X 100FT)
2. A declaration that, the defendants' act of taking over his land and using his block to build on the said land constituted trespass unto his land.
3. An order awarding the sum of N306,000.00 to the claimant as special damages for the use of blocks, sharp sand and gravel by the 2nd defendant.
4. An order awarding the sum of N500,000.00 as general damages.
???5. An order declaring the subsequent allocation made in favour of the 2nd defendant as illegal, void and of no effect whatsoever.
6. An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, servants or privies from trespassing unto the land earlier allocated to the claimant.

The 1st respondent with the leave of the trial Court filed its statement of defence dated 17th September, 2012. The 2nd respondent's statement of defence was dated and filed on the 22nd of November, 2011. The 1st respondent did not lead evidence in its defence. Its statement of defence was deemed abandoned. The trial was conducted between the appellant and the 2nd respondent. At the conclusion of trial, the appellant's case was struck out for failure to disclose any cause of action.

Dissatisfied, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court adopted the issues as formulated by the Appellant thus:
???1. "Whether the learned trial judge was right when he relied on Exhibit "B" in coming to the conclusion that the
appellant did not have a cause of action against the Respondents and consequently struck out the Appellant's suit?" (Grounds 1 and 2).
2. "Whether the learned trial judge was justified in refusing to grant reliefs sought by the Appellant having regard to the evidence led by the parties and the surrounding circumstances of the case at the trial Court?" (Grounds 3, 4, 5 and 6)


DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the Court of Appeal held that the appeal had merit and it was allowed. The judgment of the trial Court delivered on the 20th of February, 2017 in suit No. HCL/67/2011 was consequently set aside.


Read Full Judgment