DOES A PLAINTIFF NEED TO PROVE ALL THE FIVE WAYS BY WHICH THE OWNERSHIP/TITLE TO LAND MAY BE PROVEN?

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CASE TITLE: GOBA v. ALGONI (2020) LPELR-49489(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 19TH FEBRUARY, 2020

PRACTICE AREA: LAND LAW

LEAD JUDGE: MUDASHIRU NASIRU ONIYANGI, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION

This appeal borders on Land Law.

FACTS

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

The facts of the case are that the Respondent who was the plaintiff before the High Court claimed to have purchased plots of land at a place described as Alidawari village in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State in 2003 and 2004 at a cost of N20,000.00 and N40,000.00 respectively from Alhaji Audu. He claimed to have farmed on the land for 5 years. After, he gave the land to Lawan Musa to farm on it. Musa used it for two years and handed back the land to him. When insurgence broke out in Borno State, he left the land because he could no longer farm on the land till when there is relative peace. He started clearing the said land and he noticed the appellant trespassing into the land by demarcating the land and dividing it into various plots. He challenged the appellant and when he noticed that the appellant would not yield and leave the land and was insisting that he inherit the land from his father, the Respondent decided to approach the Court claiming the reliefs vide paragraph 16 of his statement of claim. At the end of trial judgment was entered in favour of the plaintiff.

Miffed by the outcome of the trial wherein the High Court entered judgment in favour of the Respondent/Plaintiff, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

The Court determined the appeal on this sole issue couched as follows:

“Whether or not the Respondent has proved his title to the disputed land and whether the learned trial judge has properly evaluated the evidence adduced before coming into the conclusion reached.”

DECISION/HELD

On the whole, the Court found no merit in the appeal and accordingly dismissed same.

RATIOS:

  • APPEAL- REPLY BRIEF: Purpose of a reply brief; Effect of failure to comply with rules on reply brief
  • APPEAL- INTERFERENCE WITH EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE: Circumstance(s) when an Appellate Court will not interfere with evaluation of evidence made by a Trial Court
  • EVIDENCE- BURDEN OF PROOF/STANDARD OF PROOF: Burden and standard of proof in an action for declaration of title to land; whether a plaintiff can rely on the weakness of defence to prove his case
  • EVIDENCE- UNCHALLENGED/UNCONTROVERTED EVIDENCE: Effect of an unchallenged/uncontroverted evidence
  • EVIDENCE- PROOF OF TITLE TO LAND: Ways by which ownership/title to land may be proved; whether a plaintiff needs to prove all the five ways
  • LAND LAW- EQUITABLE INTEREST IN LAND: Whether part or full payment of purchase price coupled with possession of land entitles a buyer to an equitable interest in property.
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lawpavilion • April 22, 2020


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