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Nzeoma v. Ugocha.

ALPHONSUS NZEOMA

V

DAMIAN UGOCHA

COURT OF APPEAL

( PORT HARCOURT DIVISON )

JAMES OGENYI OGEBE ( Presided )

IGNATIUS CHUKWUDI PATS-ACHOLONU, JCA

MICHAEL EYARUOMA AKPIROROH, JCA (Read the Lead Judgment)

CA/PH/127/99

TUESDAY, 27TH FEBRUARY, 2001

ARBITRATION - Customary arbitration  - Conditions for bindingness of

ARBITRATION - Customary arbitration - Decision thereof - Party who has accepted to be bound thereby - Whether estopped from resorting to another mode of channeling his complaints

ARBITRATION - Customary arbitration - Party who has been compensated for slander under customary arbitration proceedings - Subsequent claim for damages for the same slander made thereby in the court Whether amounts to double compensation

ARBITRATION - Customary arbitration - Subsequent claim for damages for slander made by party who has been compensated under customary arbitration proceedings - Whether amounts to double compensation

DEFMATION - Party who has been compensated for slander under customary arbitration proceedings - Subsequent claim for damages for the same slander made thereby in the court - Whether amounts to double compensation

                           Nzeoma vs. Ugocha                                                    695

ESTOPPEL - Party who has accepted to be bound by decision of customary arbitration - Whether estopped from resorting to another mode of channeling his complaints

Issues:

1. Did the arbitration proceedings pleaded by the parties create a valid estoppel in favour of the respondent?  If answered in the affirmative, what is the effect of the said arbitration on the respondent’s case?

2 . Whether given the circumstances of the case as a whole, the judgment of the lower court can be supported.”

Facts:

Appellant herein was reported to have falsely and maliciously spoken and published scandulous words against the respondent. The matter was reported to the Nwadiali a body of elders who decided that since the slander involved the life of a person they should swear to a juju which was accepted by them. They took oath on the Bible and the respondent survived it. Subsequently, the appellant performed some customary rituals for the respondent’s age grade as a sort of cleansing.

Thereafter, the respondent filed an action for slander at the High Court against the appellant. At the conclusion of trial, the trial court entered judgment in favour of the respondent.

Dissatisfied, appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.