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(2019) LPELR-47537(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Tuesday, the 21st day of May, 2019


Before Their Lordships

MOJEED ADEKUNLE OWOADE Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

YARGATA BYENCHIT NIMPAR Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

MUHAMMED LAWAL SHUAIBU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria





Other Citations

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This appeal borders on the Undefended List Procedure.

This appeal is against the judgment of the High Court of Akwa Ibom State sitting at Uyo delivered on 6th August, 2015.

The appellant vide Exhibit A entered into a lease agreement with the respondent wherein the appellant took over the respondent's guest house, Ultrafit Nigeria Ltd., at a monthly rental value of N1,400.00 (One Million Four Hundred Thousand Naira only) commencing from 30th April, 2013 to 29th April, 2016.
On 21st March, 2014, the respondent served on the appellant a letter demanding for N7,096,552.00 (Seven Million, Six Hundred and Ninety Six Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty Two Naira) being an outstanding rent in respect of the leased property. The appellant responded that the outstanding balance was N5,696,552.00 (Five Million, Six Hundred and Ninety Six Thousand Five Hundred and Fifty Naira) instead of N7,096,552.00 as demanded. It was based on the said appellant's admission that the respondent approached the trial Court through the undefended list procedure seeking the recovery of the said amount from the appellant.

The respondent as claimant took out a Writ under the undefended list wherein, she claimed against the defendant as follows:
1. The sum of N5,696,552.00 (Five Million, Six Hundred and Ninety-Six Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty Two Naira) only being balance of sum owed by the Defendant over the demised premises within July 2013 to March 2014.
2. The interest of 10% on the said sum of N5,696,552.00 from April, 2014 until judgment is delivered and thereafter at the same rate until the total liquidation of the debt.
3. Cost of action assessed at N100,000.00.

After service of the said Writ and its annexure, the defendant filed a notice of intention to defend on 29/6/2015 together with affidavit setting forth a defence on the merit. But by a considered ruling of the trial Court delivered by E. F. F. Obot J, the Court refused to grant leave to the defendant to defend the suit and thereafter entered judgment in favour of the claimant.

Aggrieved by the above decision, the defendant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The Court determined the appeal based on a sole issue thus:
Whether the learned trial judge rightly entered judgment in favour of the respondent against the appellant in the circumstances of this case.

In the final analysis, the Court of Appeal held that the appeal lacked merit and same was accordingly dismissed.

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