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MR. TADE FALAKO & ANOR v. MR. RASIDI ONAFEKO

(2017) LPELR-42602(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Thursday, the 13th day of July, 2017

CA/IB/123/2010


Before Their Lordships

CHINWE EUGENIA IYIZOBA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

HARUNA SIMON TSAMMANI Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

NONYEREM OKORONKWO Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

1. MR. TADE FALAKO
2. MRS. BISOYE FALAKO - Appellant(s)

AND

MR. RASIDI ONAFEKO - Respondent(s)


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Land Law.

FACTS:
This appeal emanated from the High Court of Ogun State holden at Abeokuta.

The respondent herein sued the defendants in the High Court of Ogun State at Abeokuta for declaration of title to land, general and special damages for trespass and an order of perpetual injunction.

The case presented by the respondent was that his grandfather Pa Ekerin - Salami Onafeko settled on the land since 1906 and carried on extensive farming thereon and built houses some of which were inhabited by his farm labourers who were Hausa men from the Northern parts of the country. Through the farm labourers, Pa Ekerin farmed Cocoa, Kolanuts, banana and engaged in timber lumbering as there were so many big trees on the land some which were sold or otherwise exploited economically.

At the death of respondents grandfather Pa Ekerin in 1953, the land in dispute devolved on plaintiff's father who was the first son of Pa Ekerin. At the death of the respondent's father, his uncle - Mudashiru Onafeko took over the land and held it in same manner as those before him until his death in 1962 when the respondent took over the land in dispute in beneficial possession until the land was forcefully taken from the respondent by the 1st defendant who became the Oba of the Ogbere Community and gave the land seized to the 2nd - 4th defendants who were his relatives.

???The appellants who were defendants countered that the land in dispute was Community land of Ogbere and was given out to non indigenes that usually paid rents used for the development of the Ogbere Community just as the 1st defendant pleaded in paragraph 2 of the amended statement of defence that the 1st defendant is the traditional ruler of Ogbere, and as such the custodian of all landed properties of Ogbere Community. It was established in evidence that the said land in dispute was indeed taken and given to the 2nd - 4th defendants/appellants who are the relatives of the 1st defendant Oba.

The trial Court gave judgment in favour of the Claimant now Respondent. Miffed by the said judgment, the Defendant now Appellant filed this appeal.


ISSUES:
The appeal was decided on the following issues:
1. Whether, the plaintiff's evidence was sacrosanct as to meet the conclusion of a first settler on the in dispute, entitling him to a Declaration of ownership. (Ground 2)
2. Whether, the plaintiff's traditional evidence to establish his title "was never controverted or challenged under cross-examination of plaintiff's witnesses" as held by the trial judge. (Ground 2)
3. Whether, failure of the learned trial judge to consider material contradictions in the evidence of the plaintiff's witnesses occasioned a miscarriage of justice. (Ground 3).
4. Whether, the Honourable trial Court has jurisdiction to try the claim for declaration claimed in Writ of Summons and Amended Statement of Claim. (Ground 4)
5. Whether, the plaintiff's claim is bad in law.
6. Whether, the learned trial judge acted or proceeded upon wrong principles of law. In the award of the sum of "N100,000, N400,000 and N750,000 as damages, and that the same being erroneous, high and no reasonable tribunal will make such. (Ground 5).



DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the appeal was dismissed for want of merit.


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