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Chinda v. Amadi

1.      FELIX CHINDA

2.      OTUONYE CHINDA

3.      RICHARD E. CHINDA

4.      WONUKWURU CHINDA

5.      ODUNGWERU CHINDA

6.      NNA CHINDA

7.      IBECHENJO CHINDA

(For themselves and as representing the ChindaWoke Family of Nkpolu Oroworukwu, Phalga)

V

CHIEF APPOLOS N. AMADI

COURT OF APPEAL

( PORT HARCOURT DIVISION )

JAMES OGENYI OGEBE, JCA ( Presided )

SYLVANUS A. NSOFOR, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

ABOYI JOHN IKONGBEH, JCA

CA/PH/381/98

THURSDAY, 29TH NOVEMBER, 2001

APPEAL - What is an appeal - Whether new issues can be raised on appeal

COURT - Customary court judgment - Validity of in respect of land dispute -  Whether remains binding until set aside

DAMAGES - Special damages - Claim for - Putting same at the end of the statement of claim - Propriety of

DAMAGES - Special damages - Need to explicitly claim same in the pleading -  Failure to do so - Effect

EVIDENCE - Proof - Acts of ownership - Whether amounts to proof of ownership

         Chinda vs. Amadi                                                               697

EVIDENCE - Proof - Whether certificate of occupancy is a proof that land is within an urban area

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Customary court judgment - Validity of in respect of land dispute  - Whether remains binding until set aside

LAND LAW - Certificate of Occupancy - Whether proves that land is within an urban area

LAND LAW - Land being in urban or rural area - How determined Relevance of certificate of occupancy in determining where land belong

LAND LAW - Ownership - Acts of ownership - Whether amounts to proof of ownership

LAND LAW - Trespass - What amounts to - Where claim for trespass fails -

Effect on application for injunction

PLEADINGS - Bindingness of on parties and court

PLEADINGS - Need to explicitly claim special damages in the pleadings Failure to do so - Effect

PLEADINGS - Statement of claim - Putting claim for special damages at the end of - Whether proper

Issue:

Whether, on the pleadings and the evidence, the respondent was entitled to have judgment entered in his favour.

Facts:

By the writ of summons filed at the High Court of Rivers State, the plaintiff had claimed against the defendants, sued in a representative capacity, for a declaration that he was the holder of a statutory right of occupancy over the piece of land known amongst other names as ‘Ekwuodor’ more particularly described in the Certificate of Occupancy No. 69 at page 69  in Vol.  116.

The plaintiff’s case was that he became the owner of the land in dispute by purchase from one Anthony Ahorlu and Charles Ahorlu both of the Arholu family of Nkpolu Oroworukwo. His vendor executed a Deed of Conveyance (Exhibit B) in respect of the land. He took possession of the land, fenced it with blocks and developed a portion thereof by setting thereon some buildings and cultivating the undeveloped portion with some food crops.

Sometime in 1985, the plaintiff applied to the Military Governor of River State, pursuant to the Land Use Act and the Military Governor granted him in respect of the land in dispute, a Certificate of Occupancy (Exhibit A). It was plaintiff’s case that sometime in 1989, the defendants sued his vendor in the customary court claiming for Customary Right of Occupancy in respect of the land now in dispute. The customary court judgment in favour of the defendants was admitted as exhibit D.

The plaintiff’s application for certiorari to quash the judgment of the customary court was dismissed. By reason of the subsisting customary court judgment, defendant moved into the land in dispute and caused some damage to the structures on the land.

At the conclusion of evidence, the learned trial Judge, in his judgment found for the plaintiff on the ground that he was able to produce Certificate of Occupancy and Deed of Conveyance to which, according to him, the defendant had no answer.

Dissatisfied with this judgment, the defendants appealed.