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GILBERT MADUAKOLAM v. CHRISTIAN CHIEKE & ANOR

(2018) LPELR-45480(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Friday, the 24th day of August, 2018

CA/OW/301/2016


Before Their Lordships

MASSOUD ABDULRAHMAN OREDOLA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

AYOBODE OLUJIMI LOKULO-SODIPE Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

ITA GEORGE MBABA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

1. GILBERT MADUAKOLAM
(For and on behalf of Maduakolam Family of Umuosu Naze, Owerri, North L.G.A.) - Appellant(s)

AND

1. CHRISTIAN CHIEKE
2. FRANKLIN ONYEGWAM
(For and on behalf of Onyegwam Family of Umuosu
Naze, Owerri, North L.G.A.) - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on civil procedure.

FACTS:
This appeal is against the judgment of the Customary Court of Appeal, Imo State, delivered on the 24th day of January, 2014.

The suit from where this appeal emanated, was commenced by a claim dated and filed on the 15th day of April, 1998, wherein the appellant in a representative capacity, claimed and sought for the grant of the following reliefs:
"1. A declaration that the Plaintiffs are entitled to Customary Right of Occupancy to that piece or parcel of land known as and called UhuNwarioke lying and situate at UmuosuNaze in Owerri North L. G. A. within Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court.
2. N50,000.00 general damages for trespass into the said land.
3. Perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants their heirs, agents or servants from further entry into the said piece of land or dealing with it in anyway inconsistent with the interest of the plaintiffs."

The dispute between the parties pertained to a piece and or parcel of land referred to and or called UhuNwarioke by the appellant but called UhuChieke by the defendants/respondents (hereinafter called the respondents). Both parties claimed ownership to the land in dispute and relied on traditional evidence in an avowed bid to prove their respective title to the said land in dispute. In proof of his title, the appellant testified for himself and also tendered the certified record of proceedings which contained the evidence of Emmanuel Madukolam, the then 1st plaintiff (now deceased). On their own part, the respondents called a sole witness in addition to the 1st respondent and tendered the arbitral decision of Eze Julius Emeana, in proof of their case.

At the close of hearing, the learned counsel for the parties duly addressed the trial customary Court, and the case was adjourned for delivery of judgment. The trial customary court panel, in a reserved judgment was convinced that the appellant had proved his case on the preponderance of evidence and granted all his claims as claimed. The respondents were however not satisfied with the said decision of the trial customary Court and thus appealed against the same, to the Customary Court of Appeal. The Customary Court of Appeal after the giving of due considerations to the grounds of appeal filed by the respondents, issues distilled therefrom and the arguments in support thereof, the Customary Court of Appeal reversed the decision of the trial customary Court and set the same aside on the basis that the traditional evidence proffered by the appellant was internally conflicting and contained unexplained gaps. Thus, the appeal filed by the respondents was allowed.

The appellant was dissatisfied with the said decision of the Customary Court of Appeal, thus, he has appealed against the same to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
Whether or not the Court of Appeal has the requisite vires or jurisdiction to entertain this appeal, having regard to the Court from where it emanated and the nature of the grounds of appeal.

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court found the appeal to be incompetent and it was accordingly struck out.


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