Chief Amos Amadi & Ors V. Richard Ohuru & Ors (1978)
LawGlobal-Hub Lead Judgment Report
The judgment on appeal in this case, is from a decision of the High Court of the Rivers State, sitting in Port Harcourt in consolidated Suits No. P/16/66 and PHC/2/72. In both suits, either party claims declaration of title, damages for trespass and injunction.
The case for the plaintiffs was that the land, the subject matter of the claim belong to their family and that the defendants were only granted foot-path right to enable them to travel to and from a market in the plaintiffs’ village. The plaintiffs also gave evidence that the piece of land was contiguous with their own larger area of land and further mentioned that they have common boundary with the members of the Atali family.
The defendants, on the other hand, representing their own family, gave evidence that the piece of land was similarly contiguous to their own village land, that the foot path on the land was made by them, that there is a Juju Shrine on the land, the origin of which they traced to a member of their family and lastly that the market mentioned by the plaintiffs was a market in their own village (the defendants). After the completion of the evidence, both parties invited the learned trial Judge to visit the scene.
It was discovered at the scene, that the plaintiffs have no common boundary with the Atali people at all, and further that the land, contrary to plaintiffs’ case, was contiguous to that of the defendants and had similar features. The defendants also gave traditional history which the learned Judge believed. The trial Judge also observed that whereas, the defendants called independent witnesses outside their family to give evidence about their boundaries, the plaintiffs called only members of their own family. The learned trial Judge also was satisfied that all the acts of ownership disputed were more in favour of the defendants. The claims of the plaintiffs were dismissed and that of the defendants in the cross suit was allowed. On appeal before us, the plaintiffs argued the following grounds of appeal:- “1. Judgment is against the weight of evidence. 2. The learned trial Judge erred in giving no consideration whatsoever to the traditional evidence of the plaintiffs and also did not take account of the plaintiffs’ numerous acts of ownership in and over the land in arriving at his decision.” Counsel for the appellants contended that in spite of the learned trial Judge’s findings on inspection at the site, he should nevertheless have given some consideration to – (a) Traditional evidence of the plaintiffs; and (b) Plaintiffs’ numerous acts of ownership. PAGE|
3 The learned counsel for the respondent drew our attention to the detailed findings of fact by the learned trial Judge which were not challenged by the appellants and contended that there was no merit whatsoever in the two grounds of appeal argued. We have ourselves considered the proceedings and the judgment in this case and we are quite satisfied that the learned trial Judge came to proper conclusions in his judgment. We are satisfied that he considered the evidence of both parties in detail, and, gave both parties opportunities on the visit to the scene either to give evidence or cross-examine any of the witnesses who gave evidence and therefore, the judgment is in our opinion, right.
We therefore dismiss the appeal, uphold the judgment of the lower court and award costs of N325 in favour of the defendants/respondents.
Other Citation: (1978) LCN/1984(SC)