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  • Dashi vs. Satlong
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  • 2003-10-06
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Dashi vs. Satlong

DAMULAK DASHI

NOKDANG DAWANG

SAMUEL DAMULAK

DATAU DAWANG

V

STEPHEN SATLONG

SATLONG DALIP

COURT OF APPEAL

( JOS DIVISION )

ALOMA M. MUKHTAR, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

OLUDADE OLADAPO OBADINA, JCA

ISA ABUBAKAR MANGAJI, JCA

CA/J/317198

THURSDAY, 23RD MAY 2002

APPEAL - Concurrent findings of lower courts - When appellate court will disturb

COURT - Appellate court - When will disturb concurrent findings of the lower courts

ESTOPPEL - Res judicata - Required principle of law for establishing

ESTOPPEL - Res judicata - Successful plea of - Effect

EVIDENCE - Onus of proof - On whom lies

EVIDENCE - Proof of ownership of land - One of the five ways of proving

LAND LAW - Ownership of land - Long possession as a way of proof

Issues:

1.            Whether from the available evidence on record including exhibit ‘A’ are the plaintiff’s/appellants estopped by the principles of estoppel per res judicata from relitigating on the disputed land.

2.            Is it correct to conclude in this case that the plaintiffs/appellants are guilty of standing by in spite of the decision in exhibit ‘A’?

3.            Whether the plaintiffs/appellants proved that the defendants/ respondents are their customary tenants on the disputed land and if they have proved their case, were they not entitled to the declaration sought?

4.            Whether the defendants/respondents are not bound to forfeit the disputed land to the plaintiffs/appellants.

Facts:

Plaintiffs commenced this suit against the defendants at the Upper Area Court of Plateau State for a declaration of title to a piece of farmland. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants are their customary tenants and have stopped complying with their obligation of paying tribute to them as the customary landlord. Defendants pleaded res judicata on the ground that the subject-matter had been a subject of litigation in a previous judgment referred to as exhibit A.  At the conclusion of hearing, the trial Area Court upheld the plea of res judicata and struck out the plaintiff case.

Dissatisfied, plaintiff appealed to the Customary Court of Appeal which also dismissed the appeal. Plaintiff further appealed to the Court of Appeal.