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Dabo vs. Abdullahi

DODO DABO

V

ALHAJI IKIRA ABDULLAHI

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

MUHAMMADU LAWAL UWAIS CJN (Presided)

SYLVESTER UMARU ONU JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

AKINTOLA OLUFEMI EJIWUNMI JSC

NIKI TOBI JSC

DENNIS ONYEJIFE EDOZIE JSC

SC. 81/2001

FRIDAY, 11TH FEBRUARY, 2005

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - Exercise of statutory power - When invalid

APPEAL - Finding not challenged on appeal - Validity of

APPEAL - Fresh issues on appeal - Need for leave of court to validly raise

CASE LAW - Decision of court in Teniola vs. Olohunkun (1999) 4 SCNJ 92 - Purport of

COURT - Academic exercise - Supreme Court embarking upon Impropriety of

LAND LAW - Declaration of title - Root of title based on statutory right of occupancy - What claimant must show

LAND LAW - Land Use Act, Cap. 202, section 5(1)(a) and 6 - Purport of

LAND LAW - Possession - Adverse possession - Whether can supercede title to true holder


LAND LAW - Proof of title to land - Production of title documents as proof of - When sufficient

LAND LAW - Title to land - Non-existent root of title - Support of acts of possession with - Impropriety of

STATUTE - Land Use Act, Cap. 202, section 5(1)(a) and 6 - Purport of

Issues:

1.              Whether the Court of Appeal properly affirmed the validity of exhibit 2 and the fact that the Governor lawfully exercised his powers to issue same.

2.              Whether the Court was right when it affirmed that exhibit 2 was over the piece of land in dispute.

3.              If the answer to ‘1’ and ‘2’ above are in the affirmative, whether in the circumstances, on the authority Teniola vs. Olohunkun (1999) 4 SCNJ 92, the appeal ought to be dismissed.

4.              Whether the Court of Appeal was right to have affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

Facts:

By his writ of summons, the respondent as plaintiff at the Kaduna State High Court claimed against the appellant as defendant a declaration of title, an injunction and N10,000 general damages for trespass on a plot of land along Kachia road, Kakuri, Kaduna State, covered by statutory certificate of occupancy No. 8764.

Both parties claimed to have derived title to the land on the basis of the documents of title which they each produced and tendered in evidence. While the appellant placed reliance at the trial on exhibit 3, notice of grant of the land in dispute, written in Hausa language and exhibit 5, Local Government certificate of occupancy No. 14864 issued in 1983 and traced his root of title to 1963; the respondent on the other hand relied on two exhibits, including the statutory certificate of occupancy No. 8764.

The trial court discountenanced appellant’s exhibits and having no valid documents to support his claim over the land in dispute, entered judgment against him in favour of the respondent. The appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal, sitting in the Kaduna Judicial Division, which court dismissed the appeal, affirming the judgment of the trial court.

Further aggrieved, the appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.