CASE TITLE: AKPA V. OMO-OKENYI & ANOR (2023) LPELR-61079 (CA)
JUDGMENT DATE: JULY 25, 2023
PRACTICE AREA: LAND LAW
LEAD JUDGMENT: ABDUL-AZEEZ WAZIRI, J.C.A
SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:
This appeal borders on traditional evidence and history in proof of title to land.
This is an appeal arising from the judgment of the High Court of Justice in Kogi State.
The matter was commenced at Area Court Grade 1 Abochi, where the plaintiff or appellant beseeched the court for a declaration of title in respect of the land in dispute against the Defendants/Respondents. The trial court found for the Appellant. Respondents, being dissatisfied with the decision of the trial Court, appealed to the Upper Area Court in Dekina, which allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment of the trial Area Court Grade 1.
Perturbed by the aforesaid judgment, the Plaintiff/Appellant appealed to the High Court of Justice Kogi and lost out. It is against this decision that the Appellant approached the Court of Appeal via a Notice of Appeal consisting of six grounds of appeal.
The Court determined this appeal on the following issues:
“1. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case presented before the lower Court, whether the Appellant did not discharge the burden placed on him by his reliance on Traditional History.
2. Did the lower Tribunal reach the correct decision in the utility it placed on the alleged material contradiction in the evidence of PW 1 and PW 2?”
In conclusion, the appeal was allowed, while the judgment of the High Court of Kogi State, sitting in its appellate jurisdiction, was set aside.
• EVIDENCE: TRADITIONAL EVIDENCE/HISTORY – Meaning and nature of traditional evidence
• EVIDENCE – TRADITIONAL EVIDENCE/HISTORY – Effect of traditional evidence that is found to be conclusive and cogent
• EVIDENCE – TRADITIONAL EVIDENCE/HISTORY – What a party relying on traditional history is expected to plead and prove to establish his root of title
• LAND LAW – IDENTITY OF LAND – When the identity of land will/will not be in issue
• LAND LAW – GRANT OF LAND – Duty of a party where he relies and pleads a grant as his root of title in an action for declaration of title to land