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Fabiyi v. Adeniyi

OBA LAWAL FABIYI

V

CHIEF SOLOMON ADENIYI

IFELODUN/IREPODUN TRADITIONAL COUNCIL

ATTORNEY-GENERAL, KWARA STATE

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

SALIHU MODIBBO ALFA BELGORE, JSC ( Presided )

SYLVESTER UMARU ONU, JSC (Read the Lead Judgment)

ALOYSIUS IYORGYER KATSINA-ALU, JSC

UMARU ATU KALGO, JSC

EMMANUEL OLAYINKA AYOOLA, JSC

SC. 116/1994

FRIDAY, 5TH MAY, 2000

APPEAL  - Issues for determination - Wrong issues for determination formulated by the parties - Determination  of appeal on issues formulated by appellate court -  Whether fair hearing thereby breached

APPEAL - Appellate Courts - Powers of  - Trial court making declaration in respect of unpleaded matter - Attitude of appellate courts.

APPEAL - Brief - Issues for determination contained therein inadequate Power of court to identify appropriate issues - Extent and scope of

APPEAL - Issues for determination - Need to relate to grounds of Appeal

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Fair hearing - Wrong issues formulated by parties  - Appellate court formulating issues and deciding appeal thereon - Whether breach of fair hearing

CUSTOMARY LAW - Native law and custom - How proved

JURISDICTION - Of trial courts - Order made not asked for on the pleadings -  Effect

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Pleadings - Issue not pleaded - Court making declaration in respect thereof - Effect

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Pleadings - Straying away from pleadings

of the parties in the interest of justice - Whether  trial court can so do WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘District’ - ‘District Head’ - Meanings

Issues:

  1. Whether the Court of Appeal was right in ignoring the issues formulated by the parties and formulating its own issues.
  2. Whether the Court of Appeal was right in setting  aside the judgment of the Lower Court.

Facts:

The plaintiff/appellant sought inter alia a declaration that he is the head of Ile-Ire district and a rightful title holder as Owa-Onire to represent Ile-Ire district in the TraditionalCouncil of the 2nd respondent. He also sought an injunction as such against the 1st respondent.

After a review of the evidence, the learned trial Judge made a declaration that the plaintiff is the district head of Ile-Ire district in Ifelodun Local Government of Kwara State. He also declared that the appointment of the 1st respondent as a representative of Ile-Ire district does not entitle the 1st respondent to parade himself as the head or district head of Ile-Ire district.

Being dissatisfied, the 1st respondent appealed to the Court of Appeal, which court allowed the Appeal. The Court of Appeal observed that the question of district headship or headship of Ile-Ire was not a matter directly in issue for determination, that it only arose on the assumption by the respondent that he, being the district head of Ile-Ire, was the only qualified person to represent  the district as a member of the  Traditional Council and that the trial Judge erred  in making a  declaration as such since it was not prayed for.

Being dissatisfied, the appellant appealed to the Supreme Court contending in the main that:

  1. The Court of Appeal erred in jettisoning the issues formulated by the parties and substituting therefore its own views of what the issue should be .
  2. The Court of Appeal erred in setting aside the judgment of the High Court when there was sufficient evidence to support same.