LawPavilion Online


Back

BULET INTERNATIONAL NIGERIA LIMITED & ANOR v. DR. MRS. OMONIKE OLANIYI & ANOR

(2017) LPELR-42475(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 2nd day of June, 2017

SC.226/2015


Before Their Lordships

WALTER SAMUEL NKANU ONNOGHEN Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUDIRAT MOTONMORI OLATOKUNBO KEKERE-EKUN Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

EJEMBI EKO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

1. BULET INTERNATIONAL NIG. LTD
2. MUSA GARBA IZAM - Appellant(s)

AND

1. DR. MRS. OMONIKE OLANIYI
2. C.B. VENTURES LIMITED - Respondent(s)


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on contract for sale of property.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, which dismissed the appeal of the Appeallant and upheld the decision of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.

The 1st respondent in this appeal, DR, MRS. OMONIKE OLANIYI, was a customer of the 2nd respondent, C.B. VENTURES Ltd. She had a deposit of N15 million with them. The property in dispute located at Plot 2370 Cadastral Zone A6 Maitama District of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, covered by Certificate of Occupancy No. FCT/ABU/PL.344 was allocated to the 2nd appellant, MUSA GARBA IZAM. He developed it by constructing an 8-bedroom duplex thereon. He put in the 1st respondent, BULET INTERNATIONAL NIG. Ltd. as his tenant. Somewhere along the line, Musa Izam became indebted to C.B. Ventures Ltd. He agreed to sell the property to C.B. Ventures to offset his liability to them. C.B Ventures, in turn, later became indebted to Dr. Olaniyi. In part payment of its indebtedness, it assigned the property to her. A Deed of Assignment (Exhibit P10) was executed between Dr. Olaniyi and C.B. Ventures Ltd. The deed was duly registered as No. FCC III at page III Vol. 8 at the Lands Registry, Abuja. When the 2nd appellant failed to apply for the consent of the Minister for Lands and Survey to the assignment, as required by Section 22 of the Land Use Act, the 2nd respondent, through its solicitors, filed the application for consent. The appellant, Bulet International Nig. Ltd., as a tenant in the property was duly notified of the change of ownership and was requested to pay its rent thenceforth to Dr. Olaniyi, the new owner. The refusal of Bulet International Nig. Ltd. to acknowledge her as the new owner and its refusal to pay rent to her caused her to institute an action against it before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja vide a writ of summons and statement of claim.

After the institution of the suit, the 1st appellant applied to join the 2nd appellant and 2nd respondent as co-defendants. They were so joined. The 1st respondent was granted leave to file an amended statement of claim to reflect the joinder. The 1st and 2nd defendants in the suit (the appellants herein) filed an amended statement of defence and counter claim. The 1st respondent filed a reply to the statement of defence and defence to the counter claim. The 2nd respondent, C.B, Ventures Ltd. did not file any pleadings.  Both sides led evidence and tendered exhibits in support of their respective positions. At the conclusion of the trial, the High Court in a considered judgment entered judgment in favour of the plaintiff/1st respondent.

The appellants were aggrieved by this decision and they appealed to the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, which dismissed same and upheld the decision of the High Court. The appellants still aggrieved further appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The appellants distilled 3 issues for the determination of this appeal. The respondents also formulated 3 issues for the determination of the appeal. The Court determined the appeal on the issues formulated by the appellant as follows:
as follows:
"1. Whether the 2nd respondent was entitled to surreptitiously apply for statutory consent to assign without prior recourse to the 2nd appellant on whom the duty is vested.
2. Whether the burden of proof of non-fulfilment by the 2nd appellant of agreed pre-condition(s) to valid assignment (as comprised in Exhibit P10) has been discharged against the backdrop of the state of pleadings.
3. Whether the 2nd respondent being a wholly-owned subsidiary of Commerce Bank Plc., is entitled to own or transfer interest in the res in favour of the 1st respondent in the aftermath of the liquidation of Commerce Bank Plc. and statutory takeover of its assets by CBN/NDIC."

DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the Court found the appeal devoid of any merit and it was accordingly dismissed.


Read Full Judgment