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  • 2005-07-11
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Yakubu vs. M.W.T.A.S

ALHAJI ISIYAKU YAKUBU

ALHAJI ISIYAKU YAKUBU ENTERPRISES LTD.

V

MINISTRY OF WORKS & TRANSPORT, ADAMAWA STATE

THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL  AND COMMISSIONER OF JUSTICE, ADAMAWA STATE

MINISTRY OF FINANCE, COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, ADAMAWA STATE

DIRECTOR-GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF LAND

AND SURVEY GOVERNOR’S OFFICE, ADAMAWA STATE

ADAMAWA STATE TASK FORCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION

COURT OF APPEAL

( JOS DIVISION )

AMIRU SANUSI JCA ( Presided )

IFEYINWA CECILIA NZEAKO JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

IKECHI FRANCIS OGBUAGU JCA

CA/J/164/99

TUESDAY, 22ND MARCH, 2005

COURT - Judgment of - Necessity of to be confined to issues raised by parties to the action

DAMAGES - Damages awardable - Determinant of

DAMAGES - Double compensation - Attitude of court to

DAMAGES - Interest - Payment of on a debt - When accrues

DAMAGES -  Meaning of

DAMAGES - Special damages - Claim for - Obligation of party claiming

DAMAGES - Special damages - Strict proof of required - Meaning of

EVIDENCE - Unchallenged and uncontroverted evidence - Power of court to act on

EVIDENCE - Unchallenged and uncontroverted evidence - Onus of proof thereof - When discharged

DEBT RECOVERY - Interest - Interest payable on a debt - When accrues WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Damages’ - Meaning of

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Strict proof’ - Meaning of in the context of special damages

Issues:

1.              Whether the interest rate payable by a defendant already found to be liable to pay a certain rate of interest can be reduced to take effect from any date predating the date of judgment.

2.              Whether the appellants are not in law entitled to their claim for N321,627.24 as contained in paragraph 59(3) of their amended statement of claim especially when same was based on the interest rate already approved both by the Governor and the L.U.A.C., and especially when the relevant interest rate was never disputed by the respondents.

3.              Whether the claims in paragraph 59(4) - (10) are included in the amount approved and if they were not, whether the appellants are not entitled to claim them as special damages in the form of paragraph 59(4)-(10).

4.              Whether the circumstances of this case are not such as entitled the appellants to general damages as a consequential relief to the hardship suffered by them.

5.              Whether the learned trial Judge can rightly single out one of the respondents to solely bear the burden of the liability in this case.

Facts:

The plaintiffs (now appellants) who had certificates of occupancy and legal titles to property and had carried out developments on the property had their properties demolished at the instance of the Adamawa State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation in 1984. Following the demolition, they submitted a claim for compensation, wherein they itemised what was demolished and the cost as well as cost of replacement. They alleged that they had taken various bank loans to finance the developments of the properties and due to the demolition, could neither service nor pay back the loans.

Following an assessment of the extent of the demolition and the value of the properties destroyed the amount of compensation payable to the appellants was fixed at N909,150.00 in 1990. Part payment of this sum was made in 1991, leaving a balance of N623,676.29. This sum was however later reviewed according to market value to N1,447,409.34, which sum the respondents have refused/neglected to pay despite repeated demands by the plaintiffs.

Consequently, the appellants sued the respondents at the lower court for compensation for demolition of their properties, expenses incurred, loss of earning and interest on the said compensation for non-payment within a reasonable time or delayed payment.

In arguing their case, appellants led oral and documentary evidence in proof of the averments in their statement of claim. Although the respondents filed a statement of defence to which the plaintiffs filed a reply, they never appeared at the trial, led no evidence, nor challenged the evidence tendered by the appellants.

The Judge in his judgment granted appellants’ claims in part against the 1st respondent alone and refused their other claims which appellants allege to be 75% of their claims. Thus dissatisfied, the appellants have appealed to the Court of Appeal.