S. D. Oshodi V. Momodu Aremu (1952)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Native Law and Custom—Lagos—Family Land—Gift by Chief Oloto to member of family without concurrence of family.
The Supreme Court was asked to decide between two persons claiming ownership of land compulsorily acquired by the Board.
The first claimant relied on a certificate of purchase from the Court given him as the purchaser at a sale in 1940 in execution of a judgment against members of the Oloto Family sued asrepresenting the Family; so his claim depended on the interest the Family then had in the land.
The second claimant alleged that he bought from one L., who said he had bought from one B.O., a member of the Oloto Family, to whom it was alleged that in 1928 the Chief Oloto of the time made a gift of the land. Of this gift the present Chief Oloto was not aware; nor did B.O., or L., or the second claimant, ever enter into possession.
The trial Judge held that L. had acquired an interest which passed to the second claimant; and the first claimant appealed.
For the second claimant, the respondent, it was argued that a Chief Oloto can make a gift of Family land, without the Family’s concurrence, to a member of the Family and if the donee alienates to a stranger, it would be voidable at the Family’s instance but not void ab initio.
It was for the respondent to establish that native law and custom in Lagos recognises gifts of land to individual members of the Oloto family by the Chief without the concurrence of the family.