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BARRISTER YUSUF OJO ODELEGAN MAFILA v. ENGR. BABATUNDE JOSEPH BAKINDE & ANOR

(2018) LPELR-44680(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Wednesday, the 30th day of May, 2018

CA/IL/M.108/2015


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


Between

BARRISTER YUSUF OJO ODELEGAN MAFILA - Appellant(s)

AND

1. ENGR. BABATUNDE JOSEPH BAKINDE
2. MAJOR GENERAL HUSSEIN ABAYOMI SALIU - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the Undefended List Procedure.
FACTS:
The instant appeal is against the Ruling of the Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin and delivered on the 11th of June, 2015. 

The facts leading to the appeal is that the appellant a senior legal practitioner, presented himself to the respondents as an agent of one Joseph Olanrewaju Olorunnishola, the title holder of some plots of land situate along Awolowo Road, Tanke Area Ilorin; and offered the said land for sale to the respondents for the sum of N14,000,000 (fourteen million naira only). Apparently convinced by the status of the appellant as a senior lawyer, and the certified true copy of the Certificate of Occupancy covering the said parcel of land shown to them, the respondents paid the demand price of N14, 000,000.00 (fourteen Million Naira) to the appellant and erected a perimeter fence on the land indicating their possession.

???Thereafter and when the respondents wanted to start construction on the said plot, the title holder showed up and challenged the respondents on his parcel of land. This led to the appellant being confronted on the turn of events, and when it became clear and apparent that appellant had no authority to sell the land, and indeed never delivered the purchase price paid by the respondents to the title holder, appellant undertook to refund the purchase price to the respondents, pledging the title documents of his own house, but evidently failed to make good his promise of repaying the said sum.

After waiting in vain for their money to no avail, respondents took out a civil action against the appellant when they filed a suit under the undefended list procedure on the 4th day of March 2015, claiming the sum of N14,000,000.00 collected from the claimants/respondents, and the cost of the suit.

???In his response to the suit filed, appellant on the 24th of April, 2015 filed a Notice of intention to defend under Order 23 Rule 1 of the Kwara State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2005, contending that there was in fact a disclosed principal (Mr. Joseph Olanrewaju Olounnishola) who was the seller, and the undertakings made by him exhibited by the claimants were obtained from him under serious pressure by law enforcement agents of the Police Command headquarters Ilorin. The Court examined the Notice of intention to defend, and arrived at the conclusion that the defendant/appellant failed to place sufficient materials before the Court entitling the defendant to be granted leave to defend the suit, and thereby entered judgment against the appellant under Order 23 Rule 3 of the Rules of Court of the trial Court for the sum of N14, 000,000.00 in favor of the claimants, 10% interest per annum and costs of N10,000.00 only. 

It was against the said judgment that the appellant filed an appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court of Appeal determined the appeal on the Respondent's issue as follows:
"Whether from the appellant's notice of intention to defend, filed in response to the respondents' undefended list procedures, appellant raised a prima facie defense or triable issue warranting the lower Court to transfer the suit to the general cause list."

DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the Court of Appeal held that the appeal lacked merit and same was accordingly dismissed. Consequently, the decision of the trial Court was affirmed.


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