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Bashiru Sogunro Akinwunmi & Ors V. Chief Liadi Lawal & Ors (1981) LLJR-SC

Bashiru Sogunro Akinwunmi & Ors V. Chief Liadi Lawal & Ors (1981)

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The claim of the plaintiffs, who are the respondents in this appeal and who, hereinafter, will be referred to as respondents in this judgment, against the defendants hereinafter referred to as appellants is for –

(a)    A declaration that the said defendants are not members of Ado Family of Ado Village, Ajeromi Local Government Council Area Lagos State, Nigeria.

(b)    An injunction to restrain the said Defendants their servants or agents from interfering  with the properties of the Ado family and from holding themselves out as members of the said Ado family.

Pleadings were ordered by the trial court and filed, though in the statement of claim the words “from interfering with the properties of Ado family” were omitted from claim (b) Evidence was led and in his judgment, the learned trial Judge held:

“In the light of the above as well as from my own observation drawn from the history as revealed by both parties, i am fully convinced that the evidence or history as stated by the plaintiffs and (their) witnesses is more probable and in line with the  fact of the present day. I have tried to draw a few of the salient points and there is no doubt that the history given by the Defendants cannot stand the test of the day.”

He then said that in view of the evidence before the court, the respondents proved their case to the  satisfaction of the court. He ordered judgment in the terms of the declaration and injunction sought.

The appellants were dissatisfied with that judgment and they appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal. The court having listened to the arguments of learned counsel for both parties and having amended the statement of claim in the terms of the claim held as per Coker, JCA. –

” I have already drawn attention to the fact that the parties knew the identity of the land in dispute. The learned trial Judge accepted the fact that Ado, the ancestor of the Plaintiffs, first settled on the land and that he granted portions thereof to Alegunigbe, Olawunmi and Ajakaiye under customary tenure. The trial Judge on the evidence before him rightly rejected version of the Defendants’ traditional evidence to the effect that Alegunigbe first settled on the land and that he made grants to Olawunmi, Ado and Ajakaiye. The defendants led no evidence that the land was communal property as pleaded in paras. 20 and 21 of the Statement of Defence; also the Statement of Defence in Paragraphs 13 and 14 avers that the whole land has been acquired by the Government and most of the 12 villages have been deserted or demolished. The recorded evidence reveals however that not all the land has been acquired, or destroyed, at least, Ado Village still remains and according to Chief Liadi Lawal, the 2nd Plaintiff and Alhaji Semsemiu Bakare Oluwakemi 1st P.W. the injunction was necessary to (protect) the Plaintiffs’ family from the wrongful interference by the defendants with whatever remains of Ado family property. The order of injunction is to restrain the defendants who, on their own admission, are not members of Ado family, the owner of the landed property along Lagos/Badagry Road, from interfering with the said property and holding themselves out as members of that family. Ground 3 therefore fails.
In result, the appeal fails on both grounds and is dismissed with costs fixed at N120.”

See also  Architects Registration Council Of Nigeria (No.4) In Re: O.c. Majoroh V. Prof. M. A. Fassassi (1987) LLJR-SC

Now in their appeal to this court, the appellants relied upon two grounds of appeal to wit-

“1.    The Federal Court of Appeal erred in Law and misdirected itself in holding that this (is a) case where the filing of a plan to know the exact boundaries of the land claimed by the defendants and over which an injunction is granted is not necessary.

Particulars of Error IN LAW AND MISDIRECTION

(1)    it is clear from the evidence adduced that the Defendants contend that there are several villages comprising Odan Parapo Family and that Ado Village forms only an integral part thereof. This, therefore, becomes an issue between the parties and the Plaintiffs are bound to file a plan as to whether they are claiming the whole land or portion thereof. Otherwise the order for an injunction will become unenforceable. And there is no claim for a Declaration of Title to the land.

(2)    The Federal Court of Appeal also erred in Law and misdirected itself on the amendment granted the Plaintiffs. Although there is evidence that the Defendants have been interfering with lands alleged belonging to the Plaintiffs, there is  also equal and unequivocal evidence that the Defendants have not and never been interfering with any land either belonging to the Plaintiffs or the Defendants. And concluding his evidence the plaintiff clearly stated the relief he wanted the court to give him and this also the review of the evidence of the learned trial Judge supported.”

Mr. B. A. Agusto for the appellants did not object to a suggestion by Mr. Abraham Adesanya learned counsel for the respondents that a plan ought to be filed to delimit the area covered by the injunction. We thereupon ordered a plan to be filed. Mr. Agusto also agreed that the injunction granted by the court should be tied to plan.
It was upon this concession that in dismissing the appeal of the appellants, it is ordered that the injunction granted by the trial court be tied to the area edged red in Plan No. GF/1150 made by G. F. Okusanya as certified true copy of plan No. AB 1381 which was originally made by one A. B. Apatira licensed surveyor on 13th August, 1962.

See also  Alhaji Fatai Adekunle Teriba V. Wale Adeyemo (2010) LLJR-SC

With this order incorporated as part of the judgment of the trial court, the appeal of the appellants is hereby dismissed. I agree with the costs as assessed by the Presiding Justice, my learned brother, Sowemimo, JSC

G. S. SOWEMIMO, J.S.C.: I agree with the judgment of the learned brother, Kayode Eso, JSC., which I have had the privilege of reading in draft. I agree that the  appeal be dismissed with costs of N324 in favour of the respondents.

C. IDIGBE, J.S.C.: I agree with the judgment just delivered by my learned brother Kayode Eso, JSC., which I have had the privilege of reading in draft; and I would also dismiss this appeal. I endorse the orders proposed by my learned brother Sowemimo, JSC. I agree that the appeal be dismissed with costs of N324 in favour of the respondents.

A. O. OBASEKI, J.S.C.:  This appeal is against the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal delivered on 12th December, 1979, affirming the decision of the High Court, Lagos wherein it was declared that the appellants are not members of the Ado family of Ado village, Ajeromi Local Government council Area, Lagos State, Nigeria, and an order of injunction granted restraining the appellants, their servants and agents or whosoever from representing themselves as members of Ado family and or interfering with the landed property of Ado family along Lagos Badagry Road.

At the hearing of the appeal, Mr. B. A. Agusto, learned counsel for the appellants contended that although the appellants admitted that they know the 12 villages claimed by the respondents as their villages in respect of which the injunction was granted, the absence of a plan made it difficult for them to obey the order of injunction. Mr. Adesanya’s undertaking to file a plan of the area was accepted by Mr. Agusto. Thereupon, an order that a plan should be filed was made.

See also  Dabo Fulani And Anor V Bornu N.A. (1966) LLJR-SC

Now that the  plan has been filed, I hereby dismiss this appeal in concurrence with the judgment just delivered together with the order made by my learned brother, Kayode Eso, JSC.
I also agree with the order as to costs made by my learned brother, Sowemimo, JSC.

A. NNAMANI, J.S.C.: I have had the advantage of reading in draft the judgment just delivered by my learned brother Eso, JSC, and I agree with it entirely. Subject to the orders made in the said judgment, I also agree that the appeal be dismissed and it is hereby dismissed. I agree with the costs as awarded in the judgment of my learned brother Sowemimo, JSC.


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