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  • 2012-09-24
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Rabiu v. Adebajo

MR. LAMIDI RABIU

V

MR. TOLA ADEBAJO

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

MAHMUD MOHAMMED JSC ( Presided )

MUHAMMAD SAIFULLAH MUNTAKA-COOMASSIE JSC

JOHN AFOLABI FABIYI JSC

BODE RHODES-VIVOUR JSC

NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

SC.129/2004

FRIDAY, 15 JUNE 2012

APPEAL - Concurrent findings of lower courts - Supreme Court - Attitude of thereto

APPEAL - Preliminary objection - Nature - Need to determine firstly

LAND LAW - Title to land - Declaration of - Claimant for - Onus on to succeed on strength of own case and not rely on weakness of defence - Grant of - Trial court - Discretionary power of therefor -  Exercise of - Proper approach thereto

LAND LAW - Title to land  - Declaration of - Competing claimants for -  Where both rely on common grantor - Proper party to ascribe title to

Issues:

  1. Whether the Court of Appeal was right to have upheld the trial court’s finding that the respondent had proved earlier title to the original owners and had established better title to the land in dispute since it was common good that both parties traced their title to the same original owners.
  2. Whether the Court of Appeal was right in its refusal to interfere with the trial court’s exercise of discretion which led to the refusal of the appellant’s post trial application to amend its reply to plead the special defence of limitation law.
  3. Whether having upheld the exercise of the trial court’s discretion to refuse the application to amend, the lower court’s refusal to consider the applicant’s entitlement or otherwise, to the plea or special defence of limitation, had led to a miscarriage of justice.

Facts:

The plaintiff claimed in the High Court of Lagos State; a declaration of right of occupancy to the disputed land; injunction restraining the defendant from further acts of trespass; special and general damages for trespass. The defendant counterclaimed for declaration of statutory right of occupancy; general damages for trespass; and injunction restraining further trespass. The trial court dismissed plaintiff’s claims and granted defendant’s counterclaim. Aggrieved, the plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeal where the trial court decision was affirmed. Yet aggrieved, the plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court.