On Who Lies the Power to Issue Statutory Right of Occupancy in the FCT?

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CASE TITLE: SEGUN & ANOR v. AMAH & ANOR (2022) LPELR-58848(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 10TH NOVEMBER, 2022

PRACTICE AREA: LAND LAW

LEAD JUDGMENT: BIOBELE ABRAHAM GEORGEWILL, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION:

This appeal borders on declaration of title to land.

FACTS:

This is an appeal against the Judgment of the High Court of Federal Capital Territory Abuja Division.

The Respondents’ case briefly was that the 2nd Respondent was the original Allottee of Plot No 17 Kubwa Annex Kubwa Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja by virtue Abuja Municipal Area Council, Abuja Municipal Planning Office, Conveyance of Provisional Approval dated 15/6/95 which was regularised by the Abuja Geographical Information Systems on 13/12/2009.

The 1st Respondent came into possession of the Plot in dispute in 2003 while the 2nd Respondent has been in quiet and undisturbed possession of the Plot in dispute since it was allocated to him in 1995. The Appellants denied the claims of the Respondents and stated that the Respondents were mere trespassers without any colour of title to the Plot in dispute. The parties filed and exchanged their pleadings and the matter proceeded to trial.

At the hearing, the Respondents led evidence and tendered some documents, which were admitted as Exhibits and closed their case. In their defence, the Appellants also led evidence and tendered some documents, which were also admitted as Exhibits and closed their case. The parties addressed the trial Court in their final arguments and the trial Court delivered its judgment, in which it granted the claims of the Respondents against the Appellants.

Dissatisfied, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:

The Court of Appeal determined the appeal based on the issues formulated by the respondents as follows:

1. Whether the lower Court was right in arriving at its decision that the Respondents where the trespassers in possession of the Plot in dispute vide the Exhibits on Record?

2. Whether the trial Court was right in awarding the Respondents a monetary compensation of N1,000,000.00?

DECISION/HELD:

The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal.

RATIOS:

  • EVIDENCE – PROOF OF TITLE TO LAND – Ways of proving title/ownership of land; whether proof of any one of these methods by credible evidence would be sufficient to ground an action for declaration of title to land
  • EVIDENCE – PROOF OF TITLE TO LAND – Whether proof of any of the five ways will suffice to prove title to land
  • LAND LAW – STATUTORY RIGHT OF OCCUPANCY – Who has the power to issue statutory right of occupancy in the Federal Capital Territory
  • LAND LAW – CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY – Whether mere production of certificate of occupancy entitles a party to declaration of title to land
  • EVIDENCE – PROOF OF TITLE TO LAND – Whether a party who fails to prove his pleaded mode of acquisition of title to land can have recourse to other unpleaded ways of proving title to land

lawpavilion • November 30, 2022


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