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  • 2003-01-27
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Kopek Construction Limited v. Ekisola

MUHAMMADU GABIDA

V

BALA MARCUS

COURT OF APPEAL

( JOS DIVISION )

ALOMA MARIAM MUKHTAR, JCA ( Presided )

ISA ABUBAKAR MANGAJI, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

IFEYINWA CECILIA NZEAKO, JCA

CA/J/219/2001

THURSDAY, 14TH MARCH, 2002

APPEAL - Cross-appeal and main appeal - Distinction between

COURT - Court of Appeal - Power of to re-evaluate evidence adduce at trial court

EVIDENCE - Document - Content of - Whether can be altered by oral evidence

EVIDENCE - Evaluation of evidence - Evidence adduced before trial court -  Whether appellate court can re-evaluate

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Illiteracy of a person - What determines

Issues:

1.            Whether the learned justices of the High Court were right in law in dismissing the appellant’s appeal against the decision of the Upper Area Court dismissing the appellant’s case as the plaintiff against the respondent as defendant in view of the overwhelming evidence before the lower court.

2.            Whether the learned Justices of the High Court were right in law in dismissing the appellant’s appeal in their first finding

that exhibits ‘A’ and ‘B’ are documentary evidence over one and the same piece of land as against the finding of the Upper Area Court.

3.            Whether the learned justices of the High Court were right in law in dismissing the appellant’s appeal after making some unsupported contradictory findings and variations of the judgment of trial Upper Area Court without cross-appeal by the respondent.

Facts:

The appellant as plaintiff filed an action at Kabong Upper Area Court against the respondent as defendant seeking for declaration of title over a piece of land sold by PW2.

The plaintiff’s/appellant’s brother, one Isa bought a piece of land from PW2 at the cost of N270 on 18/6/83 and the purchase price accordingly paid. The defendant/respondent’s father also bought the same farmland from the same Pw2 for and on behalf of his wife and paid N210 for it. The land sold to the plaintiff’s brother was not vividly described while the agreement entered with the defendant’s father had a vivid description of the farm and its location. Both the brother of the plaintiff and the defendant’s father are dead, hence the parties herein presumably inherited their late beloved one.

The plaintiff having found that the land he believed to have been purchased by his brother had been occupied by the defendant; he unsuccessfully sought to evict the defendant. The plaintiff therefore filed the action at the Upper Area Court for declaration of title.

The Upper Area Court, Kabong having heard the case of the parties, dismissed the plaintiff’s case. The plaintiff subsequently lodged an appeal against the decision of the Upper Area Court at the Plateau State High Court sitting in its appellate jurisdiction, the said appeal was equally dismissed.

Being dissatisfied, the plaintiff/appellant brought this appeal challenging the Plateau State High Court’s judgment.