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(2018) LPELR-44406(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Friday, the 11th day of May, 2018


Before Their Lordships

MOJEED ADEKUNLE OWOADE Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

HAMMA AKAWU BARKA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

BOLOUKUROMO MOSES UGO Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


3. MR. ADENIRAN ADEYEMI - Appellant(s)



Other Citations

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This appeal borders on Land Law.
This is an Appeal against the decision of the High Court of Kwara State, Ilorin Judicial Division.

The Respondent pleaded and stated that he acquired the land in dispute measuring 2.137.381 Square Metres from ALHAJI AIYELAGBE who was introduced to him by his Late Elder brother, Mr. John Adebayo Adeyemi, who had earlier on bought a parcel of land from the said ALHAJI AIYELAGBE which he fenced and built a bungalow on where he lived until his death.

Respondent testified as PW2, that he bought two pieces of land measuring 100Ft by 132 each on 25th January, 1977 and 23rd April, 1977. He gave further description of the land in dispute as bordering his Late brother's land and adjacent to the land of the Baptist Church. That after taking possession of the land, he fenced the same and instructed a Surveyor to survey the land, which was done. He returned to Ilorin from Calabar in December 2011 and discovered that his perimeter fence had been broken and half of his land cleared by the Appellants, who had commenced construction work on the land. That on reporting to the Police, the 1st Appellant stated he purchased the land from the 2nd and 3rd Appellants. He proceeded to the trial Court, where he claimed against the Appellants as follows:
1. A DECLARATION that the Claimant is the owner of the land covered by the agreements dated 25th February, 1977 and 23rd April 1977 respectively properly delineated and described in Survey Plan No. SOS/KW87/164 by Surveyor Samson Ozi Sanni a licensed Surveyor dated the 11th day of March, 1988 situate at Olunlade Village off Ajase-Ipo Road, Ilorin.
2. A DECLARATION that the 1st Defendant is not entitled to the possession of the Land described in Paragraph 43(1) above.
3. A DECLARATION that the Defendants committed an act of trespass on the Claimant's Land described in Paragraph 43(1) above.
4. AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants either by their heir, agents, servants, privy from trespassing, occupying, selling, disposing, pledging or encumbering the Claimant's land described in Paragraph 43(1) above in anyway whatsoever. 
5. The sum of N20, 000,000.00 (Twenty Million Naira) as general damages for trespass on the land described in Paragraph 43(1) above.

The case of the Appellants was that the land in dispute belonged to the father of the 3rd Appellant who also bought from AIYELAGBE. The 3rd Appellant's Late father built on another parcel of land beside the land of the Respondent (Claimant) where he lived. On the death of his father, himself and his mother as representatives of the Estate of his father sold the land in dispute to the 1st Appellant who built a bungalow on the land without hindrance from construction to completion. The Appellants maintained that there was never a perimeter fence or structure on the land and deny carting away any of the Respondent's building materials.

The matter proceeded to trial, after which the trial Court found for the Respondent on the ground that even if his case has failed vide production of title documents, he (the Respondent) has nevertheless proved his case by acts of possession and proof of possession of adjacent land. Dissatisfied, appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The issues for determination in the appeal are:
1. Whether the jurisdiction of the trial Court was properly invoked by the Respondent in view of the non-compliance with the provisions of the Legal Practitioners' Act and the Rules of the Court.
2. Can the trial Court be said to be right in awarding the land in dispute to the Respondent where it has declared invalid the Respondent's root of title (Exhibits 2 and 3) and found him not to be a credible witness.
3. From the available evidence in this case, can the Respondent be said to have established his acts of ownership and possession on the land in dispute when same was based on unreliable evidence.
4. Whether the weight attached to DW1's evidence by the trial judge in giving judgement to the Respondent is justified.
5. Whether the learned trial judge was not wrong in granting more than what was claimed.
6. Whether the reliance on the Respondent's invalid Reply has not occasioned a miscarriage of justice.

On the whole, the appeal was allowed.

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