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Owoo v. Edet

THEODORE EMMANUEL CHARLES OWOO

( For himself and as the administrator of the estate of late Emmanuel Charles Dannet Owoo)

ARCHIBONG EMMANUEL CHARLES OWOO

CHARLES EMMANUEL CHARLES OWOO

JOSEPH EMMANUEL CHARLES OWOO

V

MRS. UMO ASUQUO EDET

COURT OF APPEAL

( CALABAR DIVISION )

JA’AFARU MIKA’ILU JCA ( Presided )

MASSOUD A. OREDOLA JCA

ISAIAH OLUFEMI AKEJU JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

CA/C/39/2010

FRIDAY, 25 MARCH 2011

CONTRACT - Binding contract - Elements of

CONTRACT - What a contract is

COURT - Court making agreement for parties - Impropriety thereof

COURT - Trial court - Error of - When will vitiate judgment on appeal

DAMAGES - Award of - Import thereof - Classification of damages - Duty of court thereon

EVIDENCE - Facts admitted - Needlessness of further proof

LAND LAW - Valid lease agreements - Requirements thereof PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Court making agreement for parties -  Impropriety thereof

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Error of trial court - When will vitiate judgment on appeal

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Facts admitted - Needlessness of further proof

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Contract’ - What it is

Issues:

  1. Whether the learned trial judge was not wrong when he held that an oral tenancy agreement existed between the appellants and the respondent.
  2. Whether the learned trial judge was correct to have attributed to the 1st appellant evidence he did not give.
  3. Whether the learned trial judge was not wrong in awarding the sum of N2,000,000.00 (two million naira) as damages for trespass.

Facts:

The respondent approached the appellants for lease of their undeveloped property. The parties orally agreed that the respondent should construct a structure on the land for her business and bear the cost of construction which sum will be deducted as rent by the appellants until the sum would have been exhausted. Parties also agreed to execute a written agreement at a later date.

When the appellants interfered with her quiet enjoyment of the property, the respondent instituted an action against the appellants before the High Court of Cross River State, wherein she claimed the sum of N6,537,950.00 (six million, five hundred and thirty-seven thousand, nine hundred and fifty naira) being special damages and the sum of N10,000,000.00 (ten million naira) general damages.

The appellants counterclaimed, and sought interest on unpaid rents, order of court to demolish respondent’s structure on the land and general and special damages.

The trial court in upholding the existence of an oral tenancy agreement between the parties, entered judgment against the appellants jointly and severally in the sum of N6,537,950.00 (six million, five hundred and thirtyseven thousand, nine hundred and fifty naira) made up of cost of labour, cost of fence construction, cost of materials and N2,000,000.00 (two million naira) was awarded as general damage for the trespass of the appellants. The appellants counterclaim was dismissed.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, the appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.