Press publication on the order of the court that the above name on the headline is legally the owner of the property narrated in the document below and the video of the community announcement after which the court has made her order. all necessary document contented.









APPEAL NO: CA/AK/113/2014

SUIT NO: HIK/6/2012.


On issue one, Leaned Counsel for the appellants submitted that the appellants had placed sufficient facts in their pleadings and led evidence accordingly. That paragraphs 3 and 14 of the statement of Claims and the appellants reply to Defendants Statement of Defence and Defence to Counter Claim are specific pleadings of which evidence were led in the discharge of the onus placed on them under the law and reffered to exhibits tendered in proof of the their case.

Learned counsel submitted that in a claim for declaration of tittle, the claimant is to rely on the strength of his own case. That contrary to the trial court that the only pleadings and evidence of the claimants is that they have been owners of the land in dispute from time immemorial, without naming the founder of the land and the means of acquisition not pleased, neither is the particulars of the intervening owners. The appellants in paragraphs 2 and 6 of the statement of claim, reply to the defendants’ statement of defence and defence to counter claim are specific finding and evidence were led in establishing that.

Learned counsel argued that the right to declaration of tittle to land can be proved in one or more of five methods. Cited Adesanya v. Alhaji S.D. Aderonmus & Ors (2000) 6SC (pt 11) 18; Alhaji Kachalla v. Alhaji Banki & Ors (2006) ALL FLWR (pt 309) 1420 SC amongst others for the view. That the five ways stipulated in the case of Idundun were held not to be cumulative but concurrent. That the appellants through their witnesses particularly PW1 had adduced evidence asserting their origin, root of title and exclusive possession of the disputed land.

Learned counsel reffered to the case of A. G Oyo State v. Fairflakes Hotel Vol. 3 ACLC 1, to the effect that the burden of proof is in the party claiming a relief to prove same by evidence of the highest provable value. That the written statements by the claimants witnesses complemented by their documentary evidence as admitted are sufficient in the discharge of the onus placed on the appellants and urged the court to so hold

He argued that the evidence it the claimants as contained in the family receipt, minutes of meeting acts of possession and the layout plan as demonstrated positive acts of ownership as well as acts of long possession. That the lower court should have reverted to other acts of ownership of the appellants’ traditional history is not sufficiently proved. He cited the case of ………………………. for view. That Exhibits PW1B and PW1C are evidence of exclusive possession.

That the respondents did not adduced evidence that they gave the disputed land to the appellants to manage.

Learned counsel for the Respondents submitted that the appellants being the claimants and claiming declarative reliefs, the burden of proof is in them in establishing their case to the satisfaction of the court and that admission by the defendants would not aid the claimants. He cited Emenike v. P. D. P & Ors (2012) 8 SCM 111, Matanmi & Ors v. Dada & Anr (2013) 4 SCM 120, Owoade v. Omotola (1998) 2 NWLR (pt 77) amongst others for the point.

Learned counsel submitted that in a claim of title to land, the claimant is expected to prove his case by any of the five ways laid down in Idundun v. Okumagbe. That the appellants as the claimants at the trial court relied on traditional history in the main. That a party relying von traditional as root of his title must rove how his ancestors got to the land. The appellants said counsel, neither I their statement of claim nor in their evidence did prove their chain of ancestors on he land. He cited ……………………… for the view and said that none of the appellants boundaries men were called to testify.

Learned counsel submitted that where a claimant traditional history failed, he cannot rely on any other method such as acts of possession. The traditional tittle relied upon by the appellants has crumbled and failed, resort cannot be heard to long possession. Long possession according to counsel, cannot ripen into ownership against the true owners. He cited Uruamah & Ors v. Ebuzoeme & Ors (2013) 3 SCM 209; Omotayo v. Ayodele (1993) 8 NWLR (pt 314) 717; Ohakanu v. Nlemagu (2002) 33 WRN 100 for the view.

He argued that the respondents both in their pleadings and evidence had claimed that they put the Appellants on the land to manage it on their behalf and to share the proceed derived therefrom between them. That they led evidence bro that effect and tendered Exhibit DW1 which has not been debunked. That why should they be sharing it if the respondents have no tittle or claim to the land counsel asked. That the exclusive possession claimed by the appellants was examined by the lower Court and found to be of no merit. That the receipts tendered as Exhibit PW1B and PW1C are of no moment. The minutes of meetings tendered as Exhibits PW1D and PW1E are worthless paper for not being signed by the maker or the recorder, therefore, said Counsel, no probatve value can be placed on them. He cited Maku V. Al-Markura (2016) NWLR (Pt. 1505) 201.

That the Learned trial Judge was therefore right in dismissing the appellants’ case. He urged the Court to resolve this issue in favour of the respondents.

A party who solicits for declaration of title to land must succeed on the strength of his case and not on the weakness of defendant case. See ………………………………..

From the pleadings of the appellants, it is clear that the appellants relied on traditional history as proof of their title to the disputed land. Traditional evidence is one of the five recognized ways of proving title to land. See Odunukwe V. Ofomata (2010) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1225) 404, Dakolo V. Rewane Dakolo (2011) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1272) 22, Iseogbekun V. Adelakun (2013) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1362) 374.

It is trite that where party to an action for declaration of title to land relies on traditional history, as in the instant case, he has the duty to plead and prove:-

(a)   The founder of the land (b) the intervening owners through whom he derived his title and their particulars and how the land get into him. In the case of ………….


I have gone through the record of appeal, especially pages 23 and 36-39 where the said paragraphs situated.

  1. The Plaintiffs shall adduced evidence to prove that Imo Quarters, Arigidi Akoko is comprised of Egeye Family, Ijebu Family and Elaju Family of which three families are distinct not only in name but also in their affliction and ownership of family properly, more particularly as it relates to family land ownership.
  1. The Plaintiffs aver that each of the three families has its own family land within Imo Quarters, Arigidi Akoko, of which each families holds and enjoys to the exclusion of the others.
  1. The Plaintiffs shall adduced evidence to the effect that that embarked on the charging of layout for their family land of which is measuring …….and described as “Residential Estate for Egeye Family lying being and situate off Lokoja Road, Imo, Arigidi Akoko in Akoko North West Local Government Council of Ondo State. The said layout is hereby pleaded.

Paragraphs 3and 4 of the reply to the defendants statement of defence to defendants counter claim.

  1. That paragraph 3 of the statement of defence is not true and maintain that each of the three quarters that constitute Imo Arigidi as it comprises of Ijebu Quarters, Elaju Quarters and Egeye Quarters have their respective family land as follows:=
  1. ………………………
  1. ………………………
  1. ………………………


I have also gone through the oral testimonies of the appellants witnesses as seen at pages 147-157 of the record. The appellants only pleaded that the movement to the land n dispute started in 1914, the name of the founder of the land was not pleased. The particulars of the intervening owners through whom the land was acquired and how the land got unto them was equally not pleaded. There was no evidence of all these facts led by the appellants before the trial court. The appellants in view have failed to show or led evidence of their traditional history to be entitled to judgement. The appellants traditional history/evidence has crumbled, I so hold.

Having confirmed the findings of the lower court that the appellants traditional evidence failed, their alleged long possession of the disputed land cannot vest them with the title over the land. This is because when their root ceases to stand, the stem and branches will fall with the root. In the other word, where the radical title pleaded, in this case the traditional history is not proved. It is not permissible to support a non existed root with act of possession. See ………………, proof of ownership is tantamount to proof of possession. See …………………… Possession and ownership can only be resorted to where the root of title is pleaded and duly established, without pleading and leading cogent evidence to satisfactorily established the root of the title, it would be futile to resort to finding recent acts of possession.

The lower court findings in my respective view is impeccable.

“Issue one is resolved against the appellants (Egeye Family) and in favour of the respondents (Ijebu&Elaju Family).


Whether the trial court had properly evaluated the available evidence as would have enable it to give a contrary verdict as it has done.

Learned counsel for the appellants submitted that the trial court had failed to properly evaluate the appellants evidence. The the failure had occassioned miscarriage of justice against the appellants. That in evaluating evidence, the court is under duty to evaluate all evidence tendered at the trial. He cited Osazuwa v. Isibor (2004) FWLR (pt 194) 387.

Counsel argued that there cannot be a a finding of fact by a judge when the judge had not evaluated the evidence before him. He urged the court to hold that the evaluation of the Appellants’ evidence at the trial court is perverse and occassioned a miscarriage of justice.

Counsel contended that where the evidence which the trial court neglected to evaluate is a documentary evidence, the appellate court is in good as the trial court position to evaluate the evidence. He cited Ogundepo v. Olumesan (2012) ALL FWLR (pt 609) 1136 SC; NWankpu v. Ewulu (1995) 7 SCNJ 197.

It was further contended that the trial court evaluation of the appellants’ evidence is not only perverse but had drew a wrong inference from the totality of the evidence. That this court can conveniently embark on the evaluation of evidence where the trial court evaluation is clearly perverse or drew wrong inference. He urged the court to so hold and resolve this issue in favour of the respondents.


Evaluation of evidence and ascription of probative value to such evidence are the primary functions of a trial court which saw heard and assessed the witnesses that testified. It involves reviewing and criticizing the evidence given and estimating it. A decision arrived at without a proper or adequate evaluation of the evidence cannot stand. ……………………………..

I have read the record of appeal, I also considered the 19pages judgement wrapped between pages 172-190 of the record. The  lower court had evaluated and scrutinized the evidence of the parties both oral and documentary. I discern from it that the lower court rightly assessed the evidence, Viva vice and documentary professed by the feuding parties after assigning them to their respective pans in the imaginary scale of justice. The trial court in my view had attached the deserved offered by the parties. I endorse the unbiased appraisal of the evidence conducted by the lower court. …………………… I say no more, the case of the Plaintiffs and the counter-claim are dismissed”, cannot be faulted in any way; all the stricture which the appellants rained on it come to naught. I therefore resolved the “issue two” against the appellants (Egeye Family) and in favour of the respondents (Ijebu Quarters and Eleju Quarters).


Whether from totality of the evidence, the decision of the trial Court is not against the weight of evidence.

Learned Counsel for the appellants submitted that the decision of the trial Court is against the weight of evidence adduced by the appellants (claimants). ………………………………….

Learned counsel submitted that the trial court found the traditional evidence of both parties inconclusive but failed to evaluate the evidence side by side to ascertain acts of possession, if any. He urged the Court to resolve this issue in favor of appellants.

Learned Counsel for the Respondents submitted that the trial Court has properly evaluated the evidence before the Court and adequately ascribed the probative value. That the traditional tittle relied upon by the appellants has crumbled and failed, resort cannot be made to long possession. Long possession cannot be ripen into ownership against the true owners. He urged the Court to resolve this issue in favour of the Respondents.




The appellants quarried the correctness of the lower Court evaluation of evidence, given the weight of evidence. A castigation of a decision on the premise that a judgement is against the weight of evidence connotes that the decision of the trial Court cannot be Supported by the weight of evidence adduced by the successful parties which the court either wrongly accepted or that the inference it drew based on the accepted evidence adduced by the complaining parties is weighed against the one given by the respondents; the judgement rendered to the Respondents is against the totality of the evidence placed before the trial Court.


In determining the weight of evidence, the trial Court is enjoined to consider whether the evidence is admissible, relevant, credible, conclusive or more probable than that given by the other party. See ……………………………….. It is not for the judge to accept evidence hook, line and sinker without weighing it’s preponderance and probability. See …………………

A perusal of the judgment discloses that the lower Court appreciated it’s duty as a trial Court, it is decipherable from the manner of weighing the evidence, it appraised the evidence both vuva voce and documentary on an imaginary scale of justice. It is clear that it weighed the divergent pieces of evidence and reached its findings based on the quality of the evidence. The lower Court was not in the least of improper assessment of the evidence presented to it by the feuding parties.



I had earlier on somewhere in this judgement considered and resolved the issue of evaluation of the evidence by the lower court and I need not to repeat it to avoid duplication of efforts. I adopt same in resolving this issue. Issue three is resolved against the appellants (Egeye Family) and in favour of the Respondents (Ijebu Quarters and Eleju Quarters).


Having resolved the three issues against the appellants, the fortune of the appeal is plain. It is devoid of any morsel of merit and deserves to be dismissed. Consequently, I dismiss the appeal and affirm the decision of the lower court wherein it dismissed the appellants’ claims.

The parties shall beer the respective cost they incurred in the prosecution and defence of the doomed appeal.


The Respondents were aggressived by part of the lower Court’s judgement and filed a notice of cross appeal hosting three grounds. The cross appeal was heard on 23rd January, 2020 with the main appeal. During its hearing learned counsel for the respondents/Cross Appellants Gani Asiru Esq, relied on the arguments contained in the Respondents’ cross Appellants’brief of argument filed on 28th March, 2018 in urging the court to allow the cross appeal. Similarly, learned counsel for the Appellants Cross Respondents, A. C. Ajakaiye, Esq, relied on their submissions contained in the Appellants/Cross Respondents’ brief filed on 9th February, 2018 in urging the court to dismiss the cross appeal.


In the Cross Appellants’brief of argument, they crafted a sole issue for determination viz:


Whether my lord the learned trial Judge was right in dismissing the Cross-Appellants’ claim in the face of the pleadings and evidence before him.

The Cross-Respondents in their brief of argument framed a sole issue for determination to wit:

Whether the evidence of the Defendants/Appellants in Exhibit DW1A did not support the case of the claimants/Respondents (sic) and whether Exhibits DW1B, DW3A are properly admitted by the trial court and are not overreaching and prejudicial to the case of the Claimants/Appellants.

I will decide the cross appeal on the issue submitted by the Cross Appellants.


Learned counsel for the Cross Appellants submitted that the Counter-Claimants/Cross Appellants bear the burden of proving their claim to the satisfaction of the court. The there are five ways of providing title to land and any one of the methods is sufficient if it can be proved. That the Cross Appellants in the main appeal rely on traditional history that is by conquest of Ekese people who were the original settlers on the land.

Learned counsel argued that the Cross Appellants having been able to establish how they came to the land need not prove all the segments of ingredients of the traditional history. That the evidence adduced by the cross Appellants should have been enough persuasion for the trial Judge to grant tittin favour of the Appellants. That the trial court was wrong not to have granted the reliefs of the Cross Appellants. Counsel submitted that the Esi Community decision supported Exhibit DW1A, the report of the arbitration with regard to the management of the land. That the Cross Appellants called their boundary men and partners in the war against the Ekese, the Osin.


Having resolved the sole issue in this cross appeal against the Cross-Appellants, the cross appeal lacks merit and ought to be dismissed. I hereby dismiss it. According, the main Appeal and the Cross Appeal are hereby dismissed. Consequent upon which the judgement of the lower Court delivered on 31st December, 2013 by Hon. Justice B. F. Adeyeye is affirmed.

I made no order as to costs.





  1. C. Ajakaiye with O. Abisola Esq. for the Appellants

Gani Asiru Esq. for the Respondents.



I have, studied keenly the lead judgement articulated and delivered by my learned brother, Ridwan Maiwada Abdullahi, JCA dismissing both the appeal and the cross-appeal in this matter, and concur that the decision of the trial court cannot be faulted. The no Victor not vanquish conclusion of the trial court relating the substantive appeal and the cross-appeal based on the counter claim cannot be faulted.

I concur.

Both the appeal and cross-appeal are dismissed.




Signed Document of owner below:
The Respondents (IJEBU QUARTERS AND ELAJU QUARTERS) elatedly and triumphantly revisited their lands and it(s) occupants, after the favorable resolutions of the Appeal Court over the land
Approval and Signed Document from the Court

Video clip of the Respondents jubilating and announces their legal victory on the charges against them over their birthright land, in the trial court and Court of appeal.


By: Adedoyin Olakunle Stephen 


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