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(2017) LPELR-42427(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Friday, the 19th day of May, 2017


Before Their Lordships

MONICA BOLNA'AN DONGBAN-MENSEM Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

MODUPE FASANMI Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

CHINWE EUGENIA IYIZOBA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


4. SAMUEL ALAKE (For themselves and on behalf of Ode-Olo market Traders Association) - Appellant(s)


MR. GBOLAHAN LANIYONU (For himself and on behalf of Mrs Leticia Laniyonu) - Respondent(s)

Other Citations

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This appeal borders on the issue of signing of Court process.

This is an appeal against the judgment of the High Court of Oyo State Ibadan wherein the claims of the Appellants were dismissed.

The Appellants who were the 1st %u2013 4th Claimants at the High Court commenced this suit for themselves and on behalf of Ode-Olo Market Traders Association against the Respondent as defendant by a writ of summons signed by Akin Aiyedun & Co claiming declaration of entitlement to the issuance of Statutory Right of Occupancy, the sum of Ten Million (N10 Million) being special and general damages for trespass committed by the Defendant and perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, his servants, agents or any one claiming through or under him from further trespass on the said parcel of land.
The Appellants%u2019 case is that sequel to the incessant flood disasters in Ibadan which devastated and destroyed lives and properties, the Oyo State Government acquired Lands on both sides of Ogupa River which acquisition was published in Gazette No. 44 Volume 2 of 27/10/77. The Oyo State Environmental Protection Commission Agency then put the Ibadan North Local Government on the land for public utility (Market) purposes in 1992. Ibadan North Local Government then allocated the land to the Claimants for development and business purposes. The Claimants/Appellants averred that they were in undisturbed possession of their respective portions, developed them to shops, stalls and stores in which they peacefully carried on their respective trades. However, on the 5th day of March, 1999, the Respondent aided by hoodlums, forcibly took over and destroyed the shops, stalls and stores thereon while some valuable items were carted away there from and others destroyed or/and damaged, hence the institution of this suit.

The Defendant%u2019s case however is that the land in dispute belonged to his father Chief J. O. Laniyonu. He claimed that the Oyo State Government acquired some part of the land for canalization of Ogunpa River after the floods that ravaged Ibadan City. The set back to the Ogunpa Stream as of 1977 when the acquisition notice No. 44 of 27/1077 was published was 50 feet or 15 meters measured from the center of the stream on either side of the stream. He contended that the 1977 acquisition by Oyo State Government affected just a portion of his Father%u2019s land. When therefore he noticed some trespassers on his land who claimed to have derived their interest on the land from the Ibadan North Local Government, he instituted Suit No.1/236/96: GBOLAHAN LANIYONU & ORS VS. IBADAN NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT & 2 ORS. Eventually, the suit was amicably resolved and terms of settlement agreed upon and entered as the judgment of the Court on 1/3/99. He claimed that a warrant of possession was issued and subsequently executed by the Court bailiffs based on the terms of settlement. The Defendant contended that the Claimants who were mere allottees traced the ownership of the property in dispute to Ibadan North Local Government and yet the Local Government Council was not made a party in the suit. After hearing and considering the evidence led by the parties, the High Court dismissed the claims of the Claimants.

Dissatisfied with the judgment of the Court, the Claimants/Appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The Respondents filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection on the grounds that:
1. The Writ of Summons dated 10th of June, 1999 is incompetent.
2. The Writ of Summons was signed by Akin Aiyedun & Co.
3. By the provision of Section 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act Akin Aiyedun & Co is not a legal practitioner called to the Nigeria Bar.

In the final analysis, the Court found merit in the preliminary objection and it was thereby upheld. The appeal was thereby struck out.

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