Harriet O. Ilori And Others V. Chief Akinlolit Oloto (1941)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Claim to set aside sale of land attached under tot-it of Fi Fa and sold by public auction—Question of tenure–Cl aira to title based on long and undisturbed occupation. –
The land situated at Ebute Metta and forming part of the area granted in 1868 for use of the Egba Refugees was attached under a writ of Fi Fa issued out of the Supreme Court and it was not shown that the father of the plantiffs was the actual holder of a ” Glover Ticket ” respect of the plot or what the tenure was.
The Court following previous decisions agreed with the trial Judge that it would be inequitable to disturb an occupation which had not been challenged for eighty years.
Akpan Alpo v. Cookey Gant 2 N.L.R. 100 followed. P. Oddie for Appellant.
E. J. Alex Taylor and J. E. David for Respondents. The following joint judgment was delivered BAKER, BROOKE, AND JEFFREYS, JJ.
This is a claim by the plaintiffs to have set aside the sale of a piece of land situated at Ebute Metta forming part of the area granted to the Governor in 1868 for the use of the Egba refugees. The land was attached under a writ of Fieri Facial issued out of the Supreme Court on a judgment given in Suit No. 333 of 1931 as the property of the Oloto family, and sold by public auction, The Court was not satisfied that the father of the present plaintiffs was the actual holder of a ticket in respect of the plot but found that the family have been in actual possession for nearly eighty years and gave judgment for the plaintiffs.
The argument of counsel for the appellant before this Court was that the land was originally granted ” for the use of ” and that as there had been no adverse possession (or if any only since 1929) the land belonged to the third defendant and could be attached. The Statement of Claim says ” the children became seised in fee simple ” but no attempt has been made to show what the tenure is though terms were used which suggested incidents of the tenure of family land.
Counsel for the appellant stated that customary law had not been invoked and that there is in this case no question of the reversion. Were it found to be held as family land the matter would stop there but it has not, and counsel carefully avoided the question of tenure. The confusion existing with regard to titles to land within this area is notorious but the Courts have for a considerable number of years upheld claims to a title based on long and undisturbed occupation therein.
Previous judicial decisions have recognised the title of the occupiers of these plots and we can only agree with the trial Judge following the decision in the case of Akpan Arno r. Cookey Gam page 100 Vol. 2 of the Nigeria Law Reports, that it would not be equitable to disturb an occupation which has not been challenged for eighty years.
The appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs assessed at twenty-three guineas.