Machine Umudje & Anor V. Shell -bp Petroleum Development Company Of Nigeria Limited (1975) LLJR-SC

Machine Umudje & Anor V. Shell -bp Petroleum Development Company Of Nigeria Limited (1975)

LawGlobal-Hub Lead Judgment Report


This is an appeal from the judgment of Ogbobine J., in the High Court of Midwestern State sitting at Ughelli in a rather inartistic, if not badly worded claim against Shell -BP Petroleum Development Company  of Nigeria, the appellants, by the respondents (members of the Enenurhie – EVWRENI – Community) which reads:-

“The plaintiffs’ claim against the defendants as follows: for

(a)   the sum of 50,000 pound being fair and reasonable compensation due payable by the defendants to the plaintiffs for the damage done by the defendants, by and through their agents to plaintiffs farm land, fishing ponds, fishing lakes on plaintiffs’ land, known as and called Oto Edefema and IWHREMO BUSH in that the defendants by themselves their servants and or their agents wrongfully and partially blocked the Utefe stream and the original channel or waterway hatched green in the survey plan No. AR 1391, now replaced by the Access Road sometimes in 1969/70 and also the defendants by themselves, their agents or servants caused crude oil and chemicals to escape and sip into plaintiffs’ fishing ponds and lakes from the defendants Location known as EVWRENI LOCATION  thereby causing damages to the fishes and hindered fishing cropping in the said lakes and fishing ponds. Defendants have failed refused and or neglected to pay reasonable compensation to the plaintiffs despite repeated demands. (b) Any other reliefs which the justice of the case demands.”

In this court the above claim was, in our view, rightly attacked by learned counsel for the appellants and reference will, in due course be made to that aspect of the appeal. However, it is clear from the pleadings and evidence given in the trial court that the claim arose as a result of the activities of the appellants in their search for oil around the area of land adjoining the parcels of land known as OTO-EDEFEMA, IWHREMO and IWHREVA all of which are delineated on the plan, (No AR 1391 made by a licensed surveyor, Mr. A.R. ARUBAYI on 28/8/72 and countersigned by the Surveyor-General of Midwestern State on 26/9/72) tendered in evidence by the respondents and admitted as Exh. B. The appellants, a company prospecting for oil, in the course of their search for the same were in 1969/70 based at a site, south of the IWHREMO and OTO-EDEFEMA lands (verged PINK in Exh. B. and hereinafter, in this judgment, together referred to as UNENURHIE land), which the parties hereto have throughout these proceedings referred to, as “LOCATION E’.  

Unenurhie land, used by the respondents for farming and which also has a large number of artificial ponds and lakes, is bordered in a South to North-Easterly direction by a stream (called the Utefe stream by the respondents) which flows from the North Eastern to the Southern boundary of this land and across the Southern boundary of the adjoining IWHREVA Land into the main EWU River which forms the Western boundary of IWHREVA land. In order to facilitate their search for oil it was necessary for the appellants to construct a road (referred to by parties in these proceedings as “the ACCESS ROAD”) across the Western boundary of Unenurhie land (where it adjoin the IWHREVA land) to its northern boundary (a distance of over 5400 feet) and, through which as the evidence shows, fishes swim during the flood season into the artificial ponds and lakes already mentioned.

In order to appreciate the significance of the Access Road to the respondents’ claim it is, in our view, necessary to refer at this stage to the evidence of the respondents on the effect which this road had on their farming and fishing activities in Unenurhie land. Their evidence which remained unchallenged at the end of the trial, was that during the flood season fishes, following the current in the Utefe stream, come into the EWU River and swimming across the IWHREVA and Unenurhie lands between their Southern and Northern boundaries (a distance of over 5400 feet which during the flood season may conveniently be likened to a “waterway” and over which the appellants’ Access Road was subsequently constructed) they travel into the area of the artificial ponds and lakes where they eventually become trapped at the end of the flood season. The Access road was constructed over only five culverts (each of about 24 inches in diameter) which, although they were intended to provide for the free flow of water into the Unenurhie land, were completely inadequate since, on the whole they provided a kind of “waterway” of no more than 10 feet (ten feet) wide. The Access Road in effect blocked the flow of water into the ponds and lakes even if only partially, and this is the basis of the respondents’ claim of damages.  It is also clear from both the evidence of the respondents and their pleadings that they complained about an oil-waste pit (a kind of reservoir for oil waste) dug by the appellants in their site at Location E. from which crude oil – waste escaped, in 1969/70 when the pit was full, and spread all over the respondents’ farms and into their ponds and lakes on Unenurhie land, killing a large quantity of fishes therein.

As already indicated, the claim of the respondents as set out in their writ of summons is, indeed, unsatisfactory for it is only when one takes a proper look at the pleadings that the cause or causes of action become apparent.  We therefore consider it desirable to set out in full some of the material paragraphs of the respondents statement of claim.  Paragraphs 14, 15 and 17 read:-

“(14)  Defendants were at the time material to this case the occupiers of Shell ‘E’ Location, a location adjacent to the plaintiffs’ land and (plaintiffs will at the trial rely on the principle established by Ryland v. Fletcher (15) Plaintiffs will contend at the hearing of this case that (a) the escape of the chemicals crude or waste oil from the waste pit was caused by the negligence of the defendants their servants and agents (b) that the loss of income occasioned by the partial blockade of the original (sic) waterway which facilitate seasonal fishing cropping and (sic) due to the negligence of the defendants their agents and servants.

(i)    Failing to take any effective measure timeously to prevent the crude oil from escaping from the waste pit unto the land and property of the plaintiffs.

(ii)   Failing to exercise or maintain any proper or adequate control of the said waste oil crude oil.

(iii)  Failing to provide any or any adequate device to prevent the escape of the crude or waste oil from the waste oil pit.

(iv)  Failing to construct therein more culverts of a bigger diameter on the said waterway on the Access Road as was expected of experts with skill knowledge and or in a workman like manner.

(v)   Constructing the said Access Road with such a negligible outlet through which water and  “fish would flow a total waterway of 9 feet 2 inches as against the original 5436 feet …….

(17) The plaintiffs asked the defendants to pay for the damage done to their farm lands and for damage caused by the chemicals and the crude oil which escaped and sipped into plaintiffs’ fish ponds and lakes ……… but the defendants put up a very uncompromising attitude … and refused to attend to the plaintiffs… wherefore the plaintiffs were compelled to institute this action against the defendants claiming as follows:-

(a)   the sum of 50,000 pounds being fair and reasonable compensation …

(b)   Any other reliefs which the justice of the case demands.” (The underlining and brackets are supplied)

The respondents called four witnesses in support of their case and in denial of the claim, four witnesses testified for the appellants who had on their pleadings rejected liability in respect of all the particulars of negligence stated in the statement of claim.  After a review of the evidence before him the learned trial Judge made the following observations:-

“…..I have no doubt in my mind that the access road blocked the passage of water during the flood season, and made it impossible for water and fish to go into the ponds on the right side of the access road during the flood season. It has definitely starved the ponds and lakes of water and fish, notwithstanding the fact that five culverts were erected under the access road …. I am inclined to accept their (i.e. respondents’ ) evidence that there was in fact some spillage (i.e. of oil ) which did some damage to the fish in the ponds … I believe and accept the evidence of the 1st plaintiff on this point, and find as a fact that the oil spillage killed the fishes left in the pond after the access road had blocked the flow of water and fish into them…..”

The learned Judge then found for the respondents in whose favour he made a total award of 7,200 pounds as damages which he described as “being a fair and adequate compensation due and payable to the plaintiffs for the damage caused them by the access road and oil spillage” It is from this judgment that the appellants have appealed to this court. The first ground of appeal argued before us by learned counsel for the appellants reads:

“The learned trial Judge erred in law in giving judgment in favour of the plaintiffs for damages when the facts alleged by the said plaintiffs in their evidence cannot support any of the reliefs claimed”.
The principal point urged in favour of this ground of appeal by learned counsel for the appellants, Chief F.R.A. Williams, was that the claim as formulated by the respondents is unsatisfactory; it is neither a claim for “damages,” nor is it clear what the cause of action is. On this first part of the submission which deals with the form of the claim, there is no doubt that as formulated the claim, in so far as it asks for “a fair and reasonable compensation due to plaintiffs,” is in the language usually identified with the claims in actions or suits for compensation arising from compulsory acquisition of land. Learned Counsel for appellant has therefore submitted that in the form in which the claim was, the lower court ought not to have entertained it. We concede that a claim which asks for “a fair and reasonable compensation” due to the plaintiffs for damage done to the plaintiffs is most inappropriate in an action for damages in tort.  Where, however, as in the instant case, it seems clear from the state of the pleadings that although the language of the summons speaks of “compensation” its substance or gist is really a claim for damages in tort, and the claim has gone to trial in the court below on that basis, it is our view that this court ought not in those circumstances to strike out such a claim. “Damages”, after all, have been defined “as the pecuniary compensation which the law awards to a person for the injury he has sustained by reason of the act or default of another, whether that act or default is a breach of contract or a tort;” or put more shortly, “damages are the recompense given by process of law to a person for the wrong that another has done him.” (See Halsbury Laws of England: 3rd Ed. Vol. II at 216.  And damages, it has been said, “are in their fundamental character compensatory. Whether the matter complained of be a breach of contract or a tort, the primary theoretical notion is to place the plaintiff in a good a position, so far as money can do it, as if the matter complained of had not occurred……  This primary notion is controlled and limited by various considerations, but the central idea is compensation, or, as Blackstone ……….. says – “compensation and satisfaction’ ….” (See Whitfield v. De Lauret & Co. Ltd. (1920) 29 CLR 71 per Isaacs J. at 80) (The underlining is supplied). The expression “damages”, however cannot be regarded as synonymous with “compensation” and, indeed, damages sometimes go beyond compensation; for example where a plaintiff is allowed to recover, by way of damages, much more than his actual loss. We ought, therefore, to sound a note of warning that it is not intended that we should be understood as saying that, in all cases, a claim in this form should be entertained. With the second arm of Chief Williams’ submission which complains that it is not clear from the form of this claim what, exactly, the respondents’ cause of action is we entirely agree, but the respondents’ case must not be confined to the form of his claim; this court, as did the lower court, must look at the pleadings in order to understand the claim put forward by the parties, and a careful reading of the statement of claim makes it abundantly clear that the respondents’ based their action in both negligence and on the principles of strict or absolute liability under the well-known doctrine of Rylands v. Fletcher. Accordingly, this ground of appeal fails.

The next ground of appeal argued on behalf of the appellants reads:-

“(3)   The learned trial Judge erred in law in giving judgment in favour of the plaintiffs for damages when:- (a) the Rule in Rylands v. Fletcher upon which the plaintiffs relied in support of their claim cannot apply to the facts of this case especially in respect of the alleged ‘blockade’ of the Utefe stream and the so-called waterway (b) to the extent that the plaintiffs’ claim was based on negligence it was not established that in law or on the facts the defendants owe any duty to the plaintiffs in the construction of the Access Road; and (c) if (which is denied) the plaintiffs’ claim was based on nuisance the claim ought to have been dismissed not only because the alleged nuisance would have been a public nuisance in respect of which the plaintiffs suffered no particular damage beyond what was suffered by other members of the community, but also because the alleged nuisance took place within the land owned and occupied by the defendant.”

The sum of the argument urged upon us, by learned counsel for the appellants in support of grounds 3 (a) and 3(b) comes to this: the award of 6000 pounds by the lower court was made in respect of damage caused by the Access Road and not as a result of the escape’ of oil from the oil waste pit. This award, counsel submitted, can neither be supported on the general principles of negligence nor under the Rule in Rylands v. Fletcher (1866) LR. 1 Ex. 265, 279; (1868) LR. 3H.L. 330. It can not be supported under the said rule (Rylands v. Fletcher) because it is apparent from the statement of claim that respondents had specifically pleaded and invoked the Rule in aid of the claim for damages arising from the oil spillage; and the award can not be supported on the general principles of negligence because the learned trial Judge failed to make any specific findings against the appellants, on the issue of negligence. The statement of claim had given particulars of negligence but the respondents had failed to lead any evidence in aid of the particulars pleaded and, it being patent from the statement of claim that the cause of the damage sustained by the respondents is known to them, they cannot invoke in aid of the award the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.The award, therefore, must be set aside. Put shortly, the argument in support of ground 3(c) was that it is not clear from the writ whether the respondents intended to rely on nuisance, as a cause of action, in support of their claim; and they certainly made no reference to ‘nuisance in their evidence in court. Although, in the end, learned counsel for the appellant conceded that, on the facts accepted by the trial court, it could be said that appellants had in fact created a nuisance on the adjoining property as a result of the escape of crude oil waste from property under their control, he, never the less, submitted that it would still be wrong in law to sustain the award since the learned trial Judge had made no specific finding on the issue of nuisance.

In considering the above submissions, we think it is necessary, once again, to take a look at the findings of the learned trial Judge, so far as they are material to the argument in support of them. The learned trial Judge had found (1) that the Access Road blocked the passage of water into Unenurhie land during flood season and made it impossible for water and fish to go into the ponds, (2) that the Access Road had definitely starved the ponds of water and fish notwithstanding the five culverts which were erected under the said road, (3) that there was ‘escape’ of oil-waste from the pit dug in Location E on to Unenurhie land where the oil-spillage did damage to the ponds and fishes therein; and we think there was ample evidence in the lower court to justify the above findings. There is no doubt, however, that, on the whole, the judgment has not been entirely satisfactory, in so far as it relates to the issue of negligence for it was silent on some of the vital inferences it should have drawn, in respect of particulars of negligence pleaded, from the facts it accepted as proved; but this court, as a court of appeal, can also draw its own inferences from those specific facts accepted as proved by the trial court (See Benmax v. Austin Motor Co. Ltd. (1955) AC 370).

Now, the respondents were, as a matter of law, required in an action based on negligence, to give particulars of negligence and to recover on the negligence pleaded in those particulars. As was stated in Gautret v. Egerton
“The plaintiff must, in his declaration, give the defendant notice of what his complaint is. He must recover secundum allegata et probata. What is it that a declaration of this court (i.e. of negligence) should state in order to fulfill those conditions It ought to state the facts upon which the supposed duty is founded, and the duty to the plaintiff with the breach of which the defendants is charged. It is not enough to show that the defendant has been guilty of negligence, without showing in what respect he was negligent, and how he became bound to use care to prevent injuries to other….” (Brackets and underlined supplied by the court). (See Willes J. in Gautret v. Egerton Common Pleas 371 at p. 374).

We think that the respondents discharged their obligations and had not only supplied the necessary particulars from which can be seen the duty to the respondents with the breach of which the appellants are charged but also led sufficient evidence in support of the said particulars.  Here, the appellants, as the evidence accepted in the lower court undoubtedly shows, had (1) “damed” – as it were – the natural course of the Utefe stream at a point south of Unenurhie land and (2) had interfered with the flow (a) of the stream and (b) of the water during flood season into the said land by failing to provide for adequate flow of the same from underneath the Access Road they had constructed across a quasi-water way of some 5400 feet; they had only provided culverts which allowed an area of less than 10 feet (or just about that much) for the flow of water in an area which, before the construction of the Access Road, had a waterway of over 5000 feet. In the same way the evidence which the learned trial Judge accepted was that oil-waste collected in the location occupied by, or at least in the control of, the appellants, ‘escaped’ (and it is not necessary to show that it did so as a result of negligence) into Unenurhie land where it damaged the respondents’ ponds. The learned trial Judge on the evidence before him accepted the above facts as proved.  The questions before us, so far as they are material to the submission of learned counsel are, (1) were the above facts rightly accepted as proved and (2) when applied to accepted and known principles of negligence and the rule in Ryland v. Fletcher, do they justify the award of damages made by the trial court We have already answered the first question in the affirmative. The second question has to be examined in detail.

We pause to consider the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher and the principles of negligence material to the arguments which have been urged upon us. So far as is material to the case in hand, what has to be considered in relation to the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher, is the appellants’ liability in respect of water and natural streams. Dealing with this aspect of the subject the learned authors of Clerk and Lindsel on Torts observe:

“Liability in respect of water depends on whether the water is naturally on the land or whether it is artificially accumulated or interfered with in some way.
The owner of land on a lower level cannot complain of water naturally flowing or percolating to his land from a higher level. Nevertheless the higher proprietor is liable if he deliberately drains his land onto his lower neighour’s land and this appears to be so if the water is caused to flow in a more concentrated form than it naturally would, as a result of artificial alterations in the level and contours of the high land…” (Underlined supplied) (see Clerk & Lindsell Torts 13th Edition p. 851 Art 1498).

Following the same rule (Rylands v. Flectcher (supra) it is now generally accepted that a person who diverts a natural stream or causes the same to become blocked and in this way diverts its natural course does so at his peril and is liable for any damage caused by the failure of his works to contain the diverted streams although there was no negligence on his part, subject only to a few exceptions. (see Charlesworth Negligence 4th Ed. Art 555; Clerk and Lindsell Torts 13th Ed. Art 1500). The only exceptions, as appears from the judgment of Blackburn J. in Rylands v. Fletcher (supra) are, (1) Act of God, (2) act or default of the plaintiff (3) consent of the plaintiff (4) Novus actus interveniens and (5) Statutory authority. And so, where a corporation had diverted the course of a natural stream, made a paddling pond for children and constructed other works necessitating the enclosing of the stream in a culvert, and during a heavy rainfall the stream overflowed and burst from its artificial banks, with the result that a neighouring railway company’s property was damaged, the Corporation was held liable in damages (See Greenock Corporation v. Caledonian Railway (1917) AC 556). The duty of a member of the community who interfers with the flow of a natural stream cannot be better expressed than as was done in the language of Lord Finlay in Greenocks Case (supra):
“It is the duty of any one who interferes with the course of a stream to see that the works which he substitutes for the channel provided by nature are adequate to carry off the water brought down even by extraordinary rainfall, and if damage results from the deficiency of the substitute which he has provided for the natural channel he will be liable……” (underlined supplied) (See Greenocks Case (1917) AC. at p. 572.)

There is no doubt that the appellants would be liable under the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher for damages arising from their interference with the natural flow of the Utefe stream and water from Ewu river into Unnenurhie land had the learned Judge found that the blockade caused by the Access Road resulted in the flooding of the Unenurhie land, together with the ponds and lakes therein; for liability under the rule does not arise unless there was an ‘escape’ of the dangerous substance from a place in the occupation, or control, of the defendant to another place which is outside his occupation or control. (see Read v. Lyons (J) & Co. Ltd. (1947) AC 156). The position here, as found by the trial court, is that the Access Road blocked the flow of water through the “waterway” or channel and in consequence “definitely starved” the Unenurhie land together with ponds therein of water and fishes. The award of damages, so far as they relate to the appellants’ act in constructing the Access Road cannot, therefore, be sustained under the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher.  We consider, however, that on the facts found and accepted by the trial court the award can be sustained on the principles of negligence. While it is true, as submitted by learned counsel for the appellants that the learned trial Judge failed to make any specific pronouncement on the liability of the appellants vis-a-vis the particulars of negligence given in the respondents’ pleadings, he, however, made relevant and specific findings of fact on the evidence before him; and although the learned Judge failed to make the necessary inference of negligence from those facts this court can, on a proper evaluation of those specific findings of fact, draw the necessary inference of negligence (see Benmax v. Austin Motors Co. Ltd. (1955) 1 AER 326 at p. 328 per Viscount Simon. The trial court found that the “waterway” provided by the five culverts located under the Access Road constructed by the appellants was inadequate – and this must be so when viewed against the background of the former waterway of at least 5000 feet which existed prior to the construction of the Access Road – and that the inadequacy caused the blockade of the passage of water into the Ununerhie land together with the ponds therein which became “starved” of water and fishes, and consequently damaged. The obvious inference and which this court can and has drawn is that the appellants are guilty of negligence.

With reference to the ‘escape’ of oil-waste which respondents claimed had damaged their ponds and lakes, the findings of the learned trial Judge were that crude oil-waste previously collected in a pit burrowed by, and in the control of, the appellants escaped into the adjoining lands of the respondents where it damaged the ponds and lakes in Unenurhie land and killed the fishes therein. As already explained liability on the part of an owner or the person in control of an oil-waste pit, such as the one located at Location E in the case in hand, exists under the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher although the ‘escape’ has not occurred as a result of negligence on his part. There is no evidence of any novus actus interveniens in regard to the ‘escape’ of the crude oil-waste, nor is there any evidence that respondents either consented to, or in any way, contributed to the allocation of the crude oil-wask in location E; nor is there any evidence of justification, under any statutory provisions, for collection of the same by the appellants who cannot, therefore avail themselves of any of the exceptions to the rule aforesaid (Rylands v. Fletcher). The appellants are, therefore liable under the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher,  for damages arising from the escape of oil-waste from the oil pit. On the same issue (i.e. damage resulting from the escape of oil-waste) the respondent had also charged the appellant with negligence and, in their pleadings, gave particulars thereof; the trial court however, made no finding on negligence. Had the learned Judge found in respondents’ favour on the issue, the appellants would also have been liable in negligence for damages resulting from the ‘escape’ of oil-waste;  and it is well settled that a single act of a defendant may give rise to liability under both heads of tort ( i.e. (1) negligence and (2) the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher) – (See Attorney General & Others v. Cory Brothers (1921) 1 AC 521 at 536 per Viscount Haldane). Accordingly, the argument advanced in support of paragraphs 3 (a) and (b) of the third ground of appeal must fail; and we do not, in the circumstances, consider it necessary to make any pronouncement on the arguments advanced in support of paragraph (c) of the said ground.

Dealing with grounds 6 and 7 of the grounds of appeal learned counsel for the appellants argued that the award in respect of damages, so far as it relates to fishes killed by the crude oil-waste which escaped to Unenurhie land is in error since there is no private ownership of fishes in their natural state. Grounds 6 and 7 read:-

“6.   The learned trial Judge erred in law in failing to observe that in law fishes cannot be subject of private ownership and accordingly the plaintiffs cannot claim damages for alleged acts of the defendants which frustrated their expectation to catch the fishes aforesaid.

7.     The learned trial Judge erred in law and on the facts in failing to observe that any member of the public is entitled to fish in Ewu River and that until fishes in water are caught they cannot be regarded as goods or chattels capable of ownership by the plaintiffs.”

There is no doubt that, in their natural or wild state, fishes are not subject to private ownership unless and until reduced to captivity by a person who may, thereafter claim ownership of them. But “animals ferea naturae may be the subject of qualified or limited property either on account of confinement or their inability to escape from the land of the possessor” (See Halsbury Laws of England Vol. 29 para 724 at p. 366), for example where they are confined in a pond and cannot escape. (See also Pollexfen & Ashford v. Crispin (1671) 1 Vent 122: 86 E.R. 84); and had the trial court found that fishes in the pond were killed while in the pond by the escaping oil-waste, an award of damages on that basis would, in the circumstances of this case, have been most certainly justified. However, although the learned trial Judge in the course of his judgment had observed that the oil-waste “did some damage to the fish in the pond” and “killed the fish therein” his award of damages was classified thus:

“for the 300 ponds the plaintiffs are  entitled to 6000 pounds. I also assess the injurious affection to their farm land as 400 pounds. For the lakes I award a total of 800 pounds”

We are satisfied that there is no award for fishes destroyed, or killed (in or outside the ponds); the award of 6000 pounds is in respect of damaged ponds. The arguments in support of grounds 6 and 7 of the grounds of appeal cannot therefore, have any effect on the judgment. Accordingly, grounds (6) and (7) of the grounds of appeal fails.
Although no argument was directed to us by learned counsel for the appellants on the damages awarded in favour of the respondents in regard to their farm lands and lakes, the appeal, however, is from the entire decision of the lower court. We are far from satisfied that the damages of 400 pounds for “injurious affection” to their farm land ( a most curious expression, but which on the evidence before, and on the review of the same by, the learned Judge could only mean, “damages for injury affecting” the plaintiffs’ lands), and the award of 800 pounds “for the lakes” ought to be sustained. Both awards are, in our view, erroneous in law. Save for the solitary reference by the learned Judge, in the course of the judgment, to respondents lakes having been “starved” of water and fishes, there was hardly any other occasion therein when these lakes came under any serious review; nor, indeed, was there sufficient evidence on which the trial court, or this court, can justify the award made in respect of the said lakes. It does appear from the evidence that only cursory reference was made to these lakes by the respondents.

The findings made by the learned trial Judge in respect of damage done to the respondents’ farm lands were most inconclusive, vague and unsatisfactory and it is our view that in the circumstances no award of damages to the farm lands can be justifiably made. This court must therefore set aside the award of damages, in respect of the respondents’ lakes and farm lands and they are accordingly set aside. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed, so far as it relates to the award of 6000 pounds (N12,000) for damages to the respondents’ ponds in Unenurhie land.

Subject to our comments on the award of damages for damage done to the respondents’ lakes and farm lands, this appeal must fail and it is hereby dismissed with costs to the respondents fixed at N163.

Other Citation: (1975) LCN/2005(SC)

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