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CHIEF JAMES ADEBAYO OYEWUSI & ORS v. OBA SUNDAY OLAGBAMI & ORS

(2018) LPELR-44906(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 6th day of July, 2018

SC.273/2013


Before Their Lordships

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

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

CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMIRU SANUSI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

EJEMBI EKO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

1. CHIEF JAMES ADEBAYO OYEWUSI
(for himself and on behalf of Ikolaba Ayoola Chieftaincy Family)
2. DIEKOLA OLATUNBOSUN
3. JOHN OLA AWONIYI
4. DAVID ORODIRAN
5. SAMUEL OYEGBAMI
6. MRS. TOYIN GEORGE
7. SAMUEL MATIKU
8. BAMIDELE OGUNDELE
9. DANIEL AFON
(for themselves and other farm settlers of Ogbomoso Farm Settlement) - Appellant(s)

AND

1. OBA SUNDAY OLAGBAMI
2. GOVERNOR OF OYO STATE
3. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OYO STATE - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Land Law.
FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the High Court of Oyo State, Ibadan.
The genesis of the suit was the release of the land in dispute to the family of the 1st respondent by the 1st and 2nd respondents on the basis that 1st respondent's family was entitled to the reversionary interest in the land, which had previously been acquired from them. The appellants' case was that it was the 1st appellant's family that was entitled to the reversionary interest in the land because it originally belonged to them and was acquired by the government of the old Western Region through a negotiated acquisition and without payment of compensation. They also asserted that the 2nd - 9th appellants are settlers on the land who claim to have been put in occupation by the 2nd and 3rd respondents, pursuant to the acquisition of the land from the 1st appellant's family and that their interests are affected by the release of the land to the 1st respondent. 
???The 1st respondent, on the other hand, contended that the Old Farm School land was acquired from his family by the government of the Old Western Region and that they were paid compensation through the family solicitor to the tune of ??12,232. It was the contention of the 2nd and 3rd respondents that the area known as the old farm school was never acquired by the government nor was it allocated to the 2nd - 9th appellants as settlers. They further contended that the land in dispute was leased to them by the respondent's family for a period of 10 years in 1961 and that the land was released to the family when the lease lapsed due to effluxion of time. They pleaded that they had erroneously believed that the old farm school land belonged to them, having regard to its proximity to the farm settlement, which they acquired. Upon realising that the land belonged to the 1st respondent, they met with him and requested to be allowed to remain in occupation of the portion of the land on which they had erected structures being used for public purposes. According to them, it was as a result of a resolution between them that 55% of the land was released to the 1st respondent while they were allowed to remain in occupation of 45% on which their structures were built.
The appellants sought the following reliefs against the respondents at the trial Court:
1. A Declaration that the purported transfer or grant of the land in dispute situate, lying and being at Ogbomoso farm settlement by the Oyo State Government to the 3rd defendant is illegal, unconstitutional, unlawful, irregular, and null and void.
2. A Declaration that the 1st and 2nd defendants are not entitled to transfer to the 3rd defendant the land acquired from the 1st plaintiff's family by Oyo State Government for the purpose of Ogbomoso Farm Settlement.
3. N50 million damages for trespass committed and still being committed by the 3rd defendant on the land in dispute.
4. A Declaration that the 1st plaintiff is the family entitled to any reversion interest, release, transfer and or grant of the land in dispute made by the 1st and 2nd defendants.
5. An Injunction restraining the defendants by themselves, their agents, servants and or privies or otherwise howsoever from interfering or further interfering with the plaintiff's possession and enjoyment of the land and from further trespassing on the land.
The learned trial Judge visited the locus in quo at the close of the case for the defence. After considering the addresses of counsel, the trial Judge found in favour of the plaintiffs/appellants and granted all their reliefs. The N50 million claimed as damages for trespass was reduced to N500,000.00. The 1st respondent was dissatisfied with the decision and filed an appeal at the Ibadan Division of the Court of Appeal. His appeal was allowed. Dissatisfied, appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The issues for determination are:
1. Whether considering the avalanche of evidence both oral and documentary led by the parties before the trial Court, the Court below was not wrong in allowing the 1st respondent's appeal and setting aside the judgment of the trial Court.
2. Whether the lower Court was not wrong when it held that the 2nd -9th appellants pleaded that the land in dispute belongs to the 1st respondent's family and that the case put up by the 1st appellant was inconsistent with the case of the 2nd -9th appellants.
3. Whether the lower Court was not wrong when it set aside the award of damages and order of injunction made by the trial Court against the respondents.

DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the appeal was dismissed.


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