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Dosunmu vs. Dada

CHIEF JONATHAN DOSUNMU

V

ALIMI AKANBI DADA

COURT OF APPEAL

( IBADAN DIVISION )

M. OMOTAYO ONALAJA, JCA (Presided and Read the Lead Judgment)

DALHATU ADAMU, JCA

FRANCIS FEDODE TABAI, JCA

CA/I/71/95

THURSDAY, 14TH FEBRUARY, 2002

ACTION - Writ of summons - Relief claimed therein - Where omitted in the statement of claim - Effect

APPEAL - Brief of argument - Where defective and faulty - What court will do to it

APPEAL - Findings of fact by trial court - When appellate court will interfere with

COURT - Appellate court - Attitude of to defective briefs of argument

COURT - Evaluation of evidence - Duty on trial court in respect thereof

COURT - Technicalities  - Attitude of court thereto - Need to do substantial justice

EVIDENCE - Burden of proof in a declaration of right of occupancy - On whom lies

EVIDENCE - Evaluation of evidence - Duty on trial court in respect thereof

LAND LAW - Declaration of right of occupancy - Claim for - Burden of proof in respect thereof - On whom lies

LAND LAW - Ownership of land - How to prove - Production of documents of title as a way of proof

PLEADINGS - Averments in the statement of claim - When they are deemed to be in issue - Duty on defendant to deny averments specifically

PLEADINGS - Bindingness of

PLEADINGS - Contents and nature of

PLEADINGS - Defendant averring that he ‘is not in a position to admit or deny facts contained in statement of claim’ - Effect

PLEADINGS - Statement of defence - Evasive denial - Effect of

PLEADINGS - Writ of summons - Supersession of by statement of claim Relief claimed in writ of summons omitted in statement of claim Effect

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Defendant averring that he ‘is not in a position to admit or deny facts contained in statement of claim’ Effect

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Pleadings - Bindingness of

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Pleadings - Contents and nature of

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Pleading - What it must contain - Need to avoid evidence - Order 14, rules 5, 6 and 7 of Ogun State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Pleadings - Writ of summons -

Supersession of by statement of claim - Relief claimed in writ of summons omitted in statement of claim - Effect

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Statement of defence - Evasive denial Effect of

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Writ of summons - Need to endorse claims therein in statement of claim - Failure to do so - Whether a serious error

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Writ of summons and statement of claim

-  Relationship between

Issues:

1.            Whether the production of exhibit D, the deed of conveyance, by the appellant, is sufficient to discharge the onus on the appellant to prove the title which he claims.

2.            Whether the rejection of exhibit D by the trial court will alone constitute a good ground for reversing the decision of the learned trial Judge.

3.            Whether the plaintiff/appellant who seeks a declaration of title to the land in dispute proved the precise area to which the title relates.

Facts:

The plaintiff/appellant issued a writ of summons at the Ogun State High Court against the defendants jointly and severally for a declaration that he is the person entitled to a right of occupancy in respect of the land in dispute.

The gist of the plaintiff’s case was that a deed of conveyance was executed in his favour in respect of the land in dispute by one Madam Bamisebi before a Senior Magistrate at Otta in order to avoid further misunderstanding. The said conveyance was registered. The plaintiff stated that he took over the farmland and the tenants thereon and that the tenants signed a tenancy agreement in his favour. Although at the time plaintiff was making a plan of the land for the conveyance, there was a dispute as to the exact boundary between him and some people, the dispute was resolved by plaintiff conceding a small fraction of the land to the rival claimants. The defendant denied plaintiff’s claim and contended his ownership right to the land.

At the end of trial, the learned trial Judge dismissed plaintiff’s case in its entirety. Dissatisfied with the judgment, plaintiff appealed.