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INSTANCES WHERE EVIDENCE THAT WAS NOT FRONTLOADED WILL BE ADMISSIBLE

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CASE TITLE: MINISTER FOR WORKS, HOUSING & URBAN DEVELOPMENT & ORS V. OGUNGBE (2018) LPELR-45977(CA)

PRACTICE AREA: CIVIL PROCEDURE

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

FACTS OF THE CASE

This is an appeal against the decision of the Federal High Court, Lagos, delivered by Abang J.

The Respondent, an Assistant Director in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, was allocated Government quarters to live in 1992. It was a two-bedroom flat. She moved into possession and was residing thereat and the rent was being deducted from her salary. Having risen through the ranks, and having attained Directorate Cadre, as an Assistant Director, she had the need for a more commodious accommodation. She was consequently given the three bedroom accommodation at No. 5A Sasegbon Street, GRA, Ikeja, in place of the two bedroom flat previously occupied by her since 1992. This was by covered of letter dated 31st January, 2005.

Pursuant to the policy on the alienation of the Federal Government Houses in Lagos, she applied as a legal sitting tenant, for her first right of refusal to buy the Government quarters occupied by her. Meanwhile, by Clause 15 (iii) of the Guidelines for the Alienation of the Federal Government Landed Property, a public servant, in order to be qualified as a legal sitting tenant to the right of first refusal to lease Government quarters, has to have a letter of allocation dated on or before 1st April 2004. It was on account of the letter allocating No. 5A Sasegbon Street to the Respondent, having been dated 31st January, 2005, that she was disqualified. While still in occupation of the house, she was forcibly evicted, viet armis, consequent upon which she proceeded against the appellants, at the trial Court.

The trial Court found in favour of the Respondent as regards some of the reliefs claimed. Dissatisfied, appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES: 

The issues for determination, as submitted by the respondent, are:

“a. Whether the Trial High Court was right in its application of the mischief rule in arriving at its decision.

b. Whether the Appellants right to fair hearing was violated by the Court in awarding damages against the Appellants

c. Whether the Court was right to award general damages in the sum of 10 Million Naira against the Appellants

d. Whether the Court was right to recognize the Respondent as the legal sitting tenant in respect of the property known as No. 5 Sasegbon Street, G.R.A., Ikeja, Lagos State.

DECISION/HELD: 
In conclusion, the appeal was allowed.

RATIO DECIDENDI

  • INTERPRETATION OF STATUTE – MISCHIEF RULE OF INTERPRETATION – How the courts apply the mischief rule
  • EVIDENCE – ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE – Circumstances in which evidence that was not frontloaded will be admissible
  • ACTION – CLAIM(S)/RELIEF(S) – When Court can grant relief not claimed

lawpavilion • December 5, 2018


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