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ALHAJI (CHIEF) AKIBU ALARAPE ADAMS & ANOR v. MR. M. A. FASASI & ORS

(2018) LPELR-44379(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Thursday, the 3rd day of May, 2018

CA/L/881/2015


Before Their Lordships

TIJJANI ABUBAKAR Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

BIOBELE ABRAHAM GEORGEWILL Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

UGOCHUKWU ANTHONY OGAKWU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

1. ALHAJI (CHIEF) AKIBU ALARAPE ADAMS
2. CHIEF SALIU SANNI
(For themselves and as Representatives of Langbasa Family Council) - Appellant(s)

AND

1. MR. M. A. FASASI
2. DR. FEMI OLOMOLA
3. CHIEF AJIBOYE TEJUMOLA
4. ALHAJI GBADEBO ANOFIU ADESANYA
(For himself and as accredited representative of Langbasa Community) - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Land Law.
FACTS:
This appeal is against the judgment of the High Court of Lagos State Coram: Nicol-Clay, J. delivered on 12th March 2015 in SUIT NO. LD/95/2002: CHIEF FATAI PELUJO & 3 ORS v. MR. M. A. FASASI & 5 ORS.  The Appellants were Claimants before the High Court and they claimed some reliefs in land. 

The facts of the case are that the Appellants and the 4th-6th Defendants at the High Court were from Langbasa Town. Following the excision of 75.8 hectares of land acquired by the Lagos State Government and the return of the said land to Langbasa Town, the 4th-6th Defendants at the High Court commissioned the 1st-3rd Defendants at the High Court to prepare a comprehensive layout plan for the excised land. The Appellants sued, contending that the 4th-6th Defendants all being from the Elejigbo Family of Langbasa Town, could not alone instruct the 1st-3rd Defendants as legal interest in Langbasa land is vested in Langbasa Family Council (comprising the four families of Langbasa Town) as has been upheld in previous Court judgments.

The Respondents, as Defendants before the High Court also filed a counterclaim. The case made out by the Respondents was that Langbasa Family Council was defunct and that the new entity created was Langbasa Community and that the 4th-6th Defendants on behalf of Langbasa Community engaged the services of the 1st-3rd Defendants to develop the Layout Plan for the excised land. That as descendants of Elejigbo, the 4th-6th Defendants have inalienable right over Langbasa land.

Pleadings were filed and exchanged, issues joined and the matter was subjected to a full blown plenary trial at which documentary and testimonial evidence was adduced. In its judgment, the High Court dismissed the Appellants case and entered judgment for the Respondents on their counterclaim. The Appellants were dissatisfied and appealed against the said judgment by Notice of Appeal filed on 23rd April 2015 to the Court of Appeal. 

ISSUES:
The Court of Appeal determined the appeal on the issues raised by the parties and acouched as follows:

APPELLANT'S ISSUES
"ISSUE 1
Whether having regard to the decisions of the Lagos State High Court in Suit No. LD/329/91 - Between Rear Admiral Mufutau Elegbede, Alhaji Anofiu Adesanya and Alhaji Lateef Ajenishe v. Chief L. Dosunmu & Anor and the Appeal in CA/L/285/99 between the same parties in respect of the owner of the Land in Langbasa Town, the subject matter of this appeal and which matter is now pending at the Supreme Court in Suit No. SC.26/11, the learned trial Judge was right to hold that the Appellants have not proved their root of title to the land. 
ISSUE 2
Whether the learned trial Judge was right not to determine who as between Langbasa Family Council and Langbasa Community is the owner of the land in Langbasa Town but was determining who had a better title to the land and whether the Appellants could obtain Judgment in this Suit based on the admission by the Respondents.
ISSUE 3
Whether the learned trial Judge was right when she held that the Appellants did not establish the identity and the area of the land in dispute as to be entitled to Judgment.
ISSUE 4
Was the evidence of the Appellants' sole witness contradictory and inconsistent as to make it unsafe for the learned trial Judge to rely on it?"

RESPONDENT'S ISSUES
"ISSUE ONE
Whether the trial Court was right in refusing to grant the declaration of title sought for by the Appellants/Claimants in respect of the land at Langbasa Town.
ISSUE TWO
Whether the trial Court was right in refusing to grant the injunction sought for the Appellants in respect of the land at Langbasa Town."

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court of Appeal found merit in the appeal and accordingly allowed same.


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