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  • 2002-07-08
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Urunne v. Agboro

OTU URUNNE

V

PETER AGBORO

COURT OF APPEAL

( BENIN DIVISION )

NIKI TOBI, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

BABA ALKALI BA’ABA, JCA

SAKA ADEYEMI IBIYEYE, JCA

CA/B/214/98

THURSDAY, 10TH MAY, 2001

APPEAL - Appeal from Rent Tribunal - Need for to be with leave of High Court

APPEAL - Brief of argument - Respondent’s brief - Features of - Need for to deal only with issues arising from the appeal

APPEAL - Brief of argument - Respondent’s brief -Respondent adopting issues formulated by appellant therein - Duty on to indicate that he is adopting same

APPEAL - Conclusion and reason for allowing or dismissing an appeal While stating same - Whether an opportunity to reargue the case or introduce fresh arguments

APPEAL - Concurrent findings of fact by lower courts - Attitude of appellate court thereto - When appellate court will not interfere therewith

CONTRACT - Non est factum - Purport of - Whether available to the appellant herein who, although, being an illiterate understood the content and nature of transaction he made

COURT - Area Customary Court - Whether competent to sit as a Rent Tribunal without changing its name - Appeal from its decision to

High Court - Whether leave is required therefor

COURT - Concurrent findings of fact by lower courts - Attitude of appellate court thereto - When appellate court will not interfere therewith

COURT - Court process - Leave to commence same - Where required Effect of failure to obtain same on court’s jurisdiction to entertain the process

COURT - Rent Tribunal - Appeal therefrom - Need for to be with leave of

High Court

COURT - Rules of court - Essence of - Obligation to adhere thereto

EVIDENCE - Credibility of witnesses - Proper court to assess - Whether appellate court can recapture trial court’s vantage position to assess same

JUDICIARY - Trial Judge - counsel attacking same in briefs of argument Impropriety of - Whether as person of dishonesty and insincerity on the part of a Judge amounts to an insult

JURISDICTION - Jurisdiction of court - Whether court’s name has any effect on its jurisdiction - Whether court vested with additional jurisdiction outside its regular jurisdiction need to change its name before exercising same

LANDLORD AND TENANT - Rent Tribunal - Appeal therefrom - Need for to be with leave of High Court

LEGAL PRACTITIONER - Counsel attacking a trial Judge in briefs of argument - Impropriety of - Whether as person of dishonesty and insincerity on the part of the Judge amounts to an insult

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Appeal - Party wishing to go on appeal  Duty on to adhere strictly to laid down procedure - Effect of noncompliance

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Court process - Leave to commence same - Where required - Effect of failure to obtain same on court’s jurisdiction to entertain the process

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Rules of court - Essence of - Duty to comply therewith

Issues:

1.            Whether or not the Warri Area Customary Court II sat as a customary court or as a Rent control and Recovery of Residential Premises Tribunal in respect of the suit the subject matter of this appeal.

2.            What is the nature of the transaction between the two parties. Is it landlord and tenant matter, or loan or sale?

Facts:

The plaintiff/respondent claimed against the defendant/appellant at the Area Customary Court, Warri  the recovery of possession of his piece of land/premises situate at a village near Warri. According to the plaintiff he acquired the said property from the defendant but that he allowed the defendant to occupy the said premises pending when the plaintiff would be ready to develop the said premises. The defendant refused, failed and/or neglected to give up possession of the property despite his repeated demands. The defendant on the other hand alleged that what took place between him and the plaintiff was a loan, that he borrowed N17,000 from plaintiff to be paid within 3 months and that he never sold this land and building to plaintiff. Plaintiff tendered documents at the trial to authenticate his evidence of sale such as the cash receipt and the sale agreement between the parties amongst other documents.

At the end of the trial, the Area Customary Court gave judgment in favour of the plaintiff/respondent. Dissatisfied with the Area Court judgment, the defendant/appellant appealed to the High Court. That court dismissed the appeal. Still dissatisfied, the defendant/appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.