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DEVOLUTION OF PROPERTY OF A DECEASED PERSON UNDER YORUBA CUSTOMARY LAW

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CASE TITLE: COLE & ANOR v. SUNMOLA & ORS (2018) LPELR-45978(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 14TH NOVEMBER, 2018

PRACTICE AREA: ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATE

LEAD JUDGMENT: UGOCHUKWU ANTHONY OGAKWU, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT

INTRODUCTION:

This appeal borders on Administration of Intestate Estate.

FACTS:

This is an appeal against the decision of the High Court of Lagos State.

The Respondents claimed the following reliefs at the trial Court:

“1a. A Declaration that by virtue of a deed of conveyance dated 24-10-56 and by operation of law the Plaintiffs, the 2nd Defendants and the heirs at law of Mrs. Lanre Abayomi, now deceased as beneficiaries of the Estates of Emmanuel Oladipo Coker and Samuel Olatunde Coker are the owners or otherwise entitled to the legal Estate in the property known as No. 26 Balogun Street, West Lagos.
Alternatively

b. An order directing the 1st defendant to wind up the Estate of the late Gabriel Olumuyiwa Coker and vest the property known as 26 Balogun Street, West in the Plaintiffs and the 2nd defendant together with the children of Mrs Lanre Abayomi now deceased.

2. An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant her agents, servants, privies or other persons claim [sic] through or under her from demolishing pulling down, constructing or otherwise committing further acts of trespass on the property situate lying, being and known as No. 26 Balogun Street, West Lagos.

3. The sum of N2, 000, 000 as damages for trespass on the said property.”

The Appellant counterclaimed against the Respondents, and also defended the suit. In its judgment, the Court dismissed the Appellant’s counterclaim and entered judgment for the Respondents. Dissatisfied, appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION:

The Court determined the appeal on the following issues:

“a) Whether the Court below based its judgment of 19th December, 2003 on a case not made out by the Respondents.

b) Whether the Respondents had locus standi to institute the action at the Court below.

c) Whether the judgment of the Court below is in line with the evidence of the parties.”

 

DECISION/HELD:

In conclusion, the appeal was dismissed.

RATIOS:

  • ACTION- LOCUS STANDI: Who has the locus standi to sue in respect of an intestate estate
  • APPEAL- GROUND(S) OF APPEAL: Effect of a ground of appeal from which no issue for determination is formulated
  • CUSTOMARY LAW- YORUBA NATIVE LAW AND CUSTOM: Devolution of property of a deceased person under Yoruba customary law
  • EVIDENCE- EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE: Duty of trial judge to evaluate evidence and nature of the duty of an appellate court in reviewing such evaluation on appeal

lawpavilion • November 28, 2018


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