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Chairman, L.E.D.B Vs Fasasi Adesina & Anor (1969) LLJR-SC

Chairman, L.E.D.B Vs Fasasi Adesina & Anor (1969)

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In Suit LD/357/65 the Chairman of the L. E. D. B. brought an originating summons to determine:- “Who is entitled to the compensation payable on a piece or parcel of land situate, lying and being at Surulere compulsorily acquired by the applicant under and by virtue of the Lagos Town Planning Act Cap. 95 (section 45 (2)).”     

After statements of interest had been filed by the applicant and two claimants and hearing evidence thereon Lambo J. on the 26th of September, 1966 directed that compensation be paid by the applicant to the 2nd claimant with costs payable by the Ist claimant of 30 guineas to the applicant and 35 guineas to the 2nd claimant and against that decision the 1st claimant has appealed to this Court whilst the 2nd claimant has filed a notice to affirm the judgment on grounds other than those relied on by the learned trial judge.

It is not in dispute that on the 2nd of July, 1963 the applicant served on the 2nd claimant a notice (ex. ‘D’) in the following terms:- “Land acquisition Notice No. B792/SL3258 L.E.D.B. Form I (a) LAGOS EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT BOARD The Lagos Town Planning Act Cap. 95 (Section 45 (2)) To Olabiyi Abeke, 30 Makinde Road Surulere, Whereas the land described in this notice is required by the Board for the development of Lagos, the land so described is vested in the Board under the power conferred in that behalf under Section 42 of the Lagos Town Planning Ordinance, from the date of service of this notice. (Sgd.) K. A. ABAYOMI Chairman Lagos Executive Development Board. DESCRIPTION Parcel of land situate and being at South Surulere in the Township of Lagos, which parcel of land is particularly described in the Deed of Conveyance dated 10th January, 1959 and Registered as No. 60 at Page 60 in Volume 1127 of the Register of Deeds kept in the Land Registry Office at Lagos. Please forward the above mentioned Deed of Conveyance and/or any other Documents to prove your title to the said parcel of land, and sup-porting any claim to compensation which you consider due to you, to the Lagos Executive Development Board, Reclamation Road, Lagos, (or P O. Box 907, Lagos) within 14 days of the date of this notice as required by Cap. 103, Section 76(1) Date of Service 2nd July, 1963 Served by Post.”

Subsequently on the 24th of August, 1963 the applicant published in a newspaper a notice (ex. ‘K’) in the following terms: DAILY – EXPRESS SATURDAY, 24 AUGUST, 1963 page 2 LAGOS EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT BOARD LAND ACQUISITION NOTICE

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Notice is hereby given that all that parcel of land at Iganmu and Abule-Nla, Lagos Mainland, in that part of the Federation of Nigeria in the Federal Territory of Lagos, comprising an area of approximately 241.3 acres the boundaries of which are described below is required by the Lagos Executive Development Board for public purposes absolutely.

Description Starting at a concrete pillar marked LD6803, the co-ordinates of which are 10, 412, 05 feet South and 3, 222, 17 feet West of a concrete pilar marked LCS. 165P, the old origin of Lagos Cadastral Surveys, the boundaries run as follows:- N.E. for 1158; to LD6800, thence S.E. along the Western Avenue Acquisition boundary for 3302,.9 ft. S.W. for 1027.8 N.W. 30.7 ft., N.E. for 179.3 ft. N.W. for 1375.6 ft., S.W. for 140.8 ft., N.E. for 60.5 ft., N.W. for 239.8 ft., S.W. 190.2 ft., S.E. for 175.4 ft., S.W. for 112.1 ft., N.W. for 161.7 ft., S.W. for 235.1 ft., S.E. for 141.7 ft., S.W. for 163.1 ft., S.E. for 250.1 ft., N.E. for 464.8 ft., S.W. for 399.9 ft., S.E. for 676.6 ft., due W. for 5395.2 ft., due N. for 2235.0 ft., on Swamp edge. Thence along the swamp edge S.E. and N.E. direction to the boundary of Freehold Housing Scheme No. 5 thence S.E. for 282.7 ft., to L.D. 6803 the starting point).

All measurements are approximate. Any person claiming to have any right or interest in the said land is required within 4 weeks from the date of this notice to send to the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Executive Development Board, P O. Box 907, Lagos, a statement of his/her right and interest, and of the evidence thereof and any claim made by him in respect of any such right or interest.

The Chairman, Lagos Executive Development Board is willing to treat for the Acquisition of the said land. Land in respect of which no statement is received is likely to be dealt with as an unoccupied land.

A notice is also hereby given that the Chairman, Lagos Executive Development Board intends to enter into possession of the said land at the expiration of 6 weeks from the date following the publication of this notice. Dated the 22nd day of August, 1963. (Sgd.) K.A. ABAYOMI Chairman Lagos Executive Development Board. As a result of that notice the 1 st claimant made a claim for compensation.

Now the first point that has to be determined here is the effect of exhibit ‘D’ and exhibit ‘K’ as the learned trial judge in his judgment said:- “It was argued that on the 2nd July, 1963 the land in question had vest-ed in the L.E.D.B. the present Applicant, and that consequently the 1st claimant who relied on a deed of conveyance of the 8th of August, 1963 had no right, title or interest in the land as at the date of vesting. This contention by Mrs. Jinadu, learned counsel for 2nd claimant, is undoubtedly based on the land acquisition notice, exhibit `D’. It seems to me, however, that the effect of the notice has been whittled down by another Notice of the 22nd of August, 1963, exhibit `K’, in which per-sons claiming to have any right or interest in the said land were required within 4 weeks of the date of the Notice to send the statement of their right and interest and all the evidence thereof and any claim made by them to the applicant. I am of the opinion that the 1st claimant acted within the stipulated period, and that when this matter was referred to the court he had a proprietory interest in the Area Of Law of the summons.” There is in our view no doubt at all that when the applicant served the notice on the 2nd claimant on the 2nd of July, 1963 by virtue of section 45(2) of the Lagos Town Planning Act (Cap. 95) the land immediately thereon became vested in the applicant. What therefore was the effect of the publication of exhibit ‘K’? It is not in our view to alter the date of vesting because once that had happened it could not be altered as it took place by virtue of the law, so the effect therefore could only be to fix the time within which the applicant was willing to receive notification of claims for compensation from any rival claimants in respect of the land already acquired and vested. When the applicant wants to acquire any property the Board does not necessarily know for certain who is the owner and serves notice on the person who prima facie appears to be the owner bearing in mind the definition of “owner” in section 2 of the Act which reads:- ‘Owner’ means the person for the time being receiving the rent of the land or premises in connection with which the word is used, whether on his own account or as agent or trustee for any other person or as receiver (not being appointed by or on behalf of a mortgagee) or who would receive the same if such land or premises were let to a tenant, and shall include a mortgage in possession.”

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Here there was in fact evidence, albeit as Chief Coker submitted on which no finding was actually made by the learned trial judge, that the 2nd claimant was in possession and had,a caretaker on the land on the 2nd of July, 1963 so that she would prima facie have fallen within the last portion of the definition where it reads -“or who would receive the same if such land or premises were let to a tenant.”

Since the notice under section 45(4) of the Lagos Town Planning Act offering payment of compensation is intended not only for the owner but also for such other person as have any interest in the property, the limited definition of owner in section 2 thereof under which the Board is entitled to treat the 2nd claimant as the “owner” does not preclude others from claiming compensation and indeed they have the right to demand a determination of their interest by the court under section 48 of the Act.

PAGE| 5 It is however the position as at the date of vesting in the applicant that has to be determined and here Chief Coker for the appellant was in difficulties as both the conveyances (exhibits ‘C’ and ‘F) on which his client relied, albeit that they were in conflict with each other were dated the 8th of August, 1963, e.g. some 5/, weeks after the property had vested in the applicant. Chief Coker sought to argue before us, first, that the date in exhibit ‘K’ was the material date of vesting for the purpose of determining the claims for compensation.

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However, as we have already indicated, we do not think that exhibit ‘K’ altered the date for vesting and that date must be the date to determine entitlements to compensation. Besides this, the notice exhibit ‘K’ said nothing about vesting whereas exhibit ‘D’ clearly did so. He then sought to argue that anybody who could trace his title to a person who was entitled on the 2nd of July, 1963 stood for purposes of entitlement in the shoes of that person and he asked us to treat the conveyance of such title as if it was an assignment of the interest of the party conveying at the vesting date.

As a general proposition of law that submission may be correct, but its application must depend upon the evidence available for consideration and we do not think that such a proposi

Other Citation: (1969) LCN/1707(SC)

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