AN INDIVIDUAL SHOULD NOT BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BY REASON OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF HIS BIRTH
HEADING: AN INDIVIDUAL SHOULD NOT BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BY REASON OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF HIS BIRTH
CASE TITLE: ADUBA & ORS v. ADUBA (2018) LPELR-45756(CA)
JUDGMENT DATE: 12TH OCTOBER, 2018
PRACTICE AREA: CIVIL PROCEDURE
LEAD JUDGMENT: ITA GEORGE MBABA, J.C.A.
SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT
This appeal borders on Administration of Estate of a deceased person.
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Imo State High Court in Suit No. HAM/9/2002, delivered on 29th March, 2011, by Hon. Justice U.D. Ogwurike. The facts of the case are that the Respondent was received and accepted by the parents of the Appellants in 1972, when the Respondent was only five years old, from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Exhibit F was the document showing where, when and how the Respondent became a member of the family of Aduba Ohagwam Nwaemere and Felicia Nwugo Aduba. Aduba Ohagwam Nwaemere married two wives, Felicia Nwugo Aduba and Ihuoma Aduba; Felicia Nwugo Aduba was the first wife. She had a son for Aduba, but the son died at young age. She also had female children. The second wife, Ihuoma, had many male children, including the Appellants.
After the death of the only male child of Felicia for her husband, the two opted for adoption of the Respondent at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, East Central State, in 1972, as shown in Exhibit F. The Respondent adopted or was given the name of the family (Aduba) and was absorbed and treated as a child of the family, trained and nurtured by Aduba and Felicia as their son. He grew up with the other children, including Appellants,into adult-hood, married in 1990 and begot children of his. Nobody challenged his status as a member of the family, while the parents were alive. After the death of Aduba Ohagwam Nwaemere and his wife, Felicia Aduba, the Appellants came up with the idea that the Respondent was not a member of late Aduba Nwaemere family. The 3rd Appellant in particular alleged that the Respondent was a stolen child brought into the family by PW2, Comfort Aduba, and he wrote a petition to the Police. They excluded him (Respondent) in the share of the estate of their father – Aduba Ohagwam Nwaemere. Hence, an action was instituted by the Respondent at the High Court to challenge the Appellants.
The High Court resolved that the Respondent was an adopted child of Aduba Ohagwam Nwaemere and his wife, Felicia; that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, Section 42 (2) thereof, applied, to protect the Respondent’s right against discrimination and so he was entitled to share in the landed property and estate of Aduba Ohagwam Nwaemere, as his adopted son. It also granted him customary right of occupancy over the particular land in dispute. Dissatisfied, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.
The Court determined the appeal on these issues couched as follows:
- Was the trial Court right when it held that the Respondent was an adopted son of Aduba Ohagwam Nwaemere and Felicia Nwugo Aduba, to entitle him to share in the landed property and estate of Aduba Ohagwam Nwaemere, given the evidence and the circumstances of this case?
- In respect of the very land in dispute, was the trial Court right to hold that the land and the building therein belonged to the PW2, Comfort Aduba (not Aduba Ohagwam Nwaemere) and to grant the Respondent customary right of occupancy thereof, upon proof of exclusive possession, with the consent of PW2?
On the whole, the Court found no merit in the appeal and accordingly dismissed same.
- ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATE- INHERITANCE OF INTESTATE ESTATE: Whether an adopted child can be deprived of inheriting and sharing of the estate of a deceased adopter
- APPEAL- PROLIFERATION OF ISSUES: Effect of proliferation of issues
- APPEAL- REPLY BRIEF: Purpose/function of a reply brief