ARE LIMITATION LAWS APPLICABLE TO CUSTOMARY LAW OR ACTIONS TO RECOVER LAND HELD UNDER CUSTOMARY LAW ?
CASE TITLE: ZANGYE v. TUKURA (2018) LPELR-45889(CA)
JUDGMENT DATE: 2ND NOVEMBER, 2018
PRACTICE AREA: LIMITATION LAW
LEAD JUDGMENT: JUMMAI HANNATU SANKEY, J.C.A.
SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT
This appeal borders on Limitation of Action.
This is an appeal against the decision of the High Court of Nasarawa State, setting aside the decision of Grade 1 Area Court, New Karshi, Nasarawa State. Sometime in the year 2002, the Appellant commenced an action seeking title to land at the trial Grade 1 Area Court Karshi vide suit no CV/37/2002. At the trial, the trial Court entered Judgment for the Respondent. Dissatisfied with the Judgment of the trial Court, the Appellant appealed to the High Court of Nasarawa State in 2002. The appeal succeeded and the Judgment of the trial Area Court was consequently set aside. An order of re-trial of the suit was made. Thirteen years thereafter i.e. sometime in 2015, the Appellant filed another suit before the same trial Grade 1 Area Court, and attached to the particulars of claim was the printed Record of the said High Court sitting in its appellate jurisdiction wherein the order for retrial was made. Before the matter proceeded to hearing, the Respondent filed a motion on notice raising an objection to the hearing of the suit on two grounds namely: that the new suit no. CV/05/2015 was statute-barred, the cause of action having accrued in 2002, and was also an abuse of Court process in view of the existence of suit no CV/37/2002 earlier sent back to the same Area Court for retrial in 2002.
The trial Grade 1 Area Court heard arguments on the objection and dismissed same. Aggrieved by the Ruling of the trial Court, the Respondent appealed to the High Court, which allowed the appeal and dismissed appellant’s claim at the trial Court. Dissatisfied, Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.
ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION:
The issues for determination as distilled by the appellant are:
“1. Whether the lower Court was right in holding that the suit instant is statute-barred?
- Whether the lower Court was right in holding that the suit instant constitutes abuse of Court process?”
In conclusion, the appeal was allowed. Consequently, the order of dismissal made by the trial Court was set aside. In its stead, an order striking out the said suit number CV/05/2015 was thereby made.
- LIMITATION LAW- LIMITATION OF ACTION: Whether limitation law is applicable to customary land tenure
- LIMITATION LAW- LIMITATION PERIOD: Limitation period for bringing an action for recovery of land
- PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE- ABUSE OF COURT/JUDICIAL PROCESS(ES): What constitutes abuse of Court process