➥ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Victoria Ibidun Ojugbele v. Joseph Oriade Olasoji (1982) – SC
by “PipAr” Branham-Paul C. Chima.
Supreme Court – SC.32/1981
➥ JUDGEMENT DELIVERED ON:
Friday, the 2nd day of April, 1982
➥ AREA(S) OF LAW
Registration of instrument.
➥ PRINCIPLES OF LAW
➥ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
⦿ FOR THE APPELLANT
A. Lardner, SAN.
⦿ FOR THE RESPONDENT
Mr. M.E. Olunwa.
➥ CASE FACT/HISTORY
In the High Court of Justice Lagos State (Oluwa, J.) the plaintiff, who is the respondent to the appeal in this court as well as he was respondent in the Federal Court of Appeal from the High Court, claimed as per his amended writ of summons as follows – “The plaintiff is a lessee of a plot of land situate, lying and being at Aro-Omo layout in Orile Ikeja in the Ikeja District of the Lagos State by virtue of a Lease Agreement entered by the plaintiff and his predecessor-in-title with the owner of the land, Madam Ayinke Banjoko Aro-Omo-Oba in 1962.The Defendant has without the consent or authority of the plaintiff and without any lawful excuse whatsoever, entered upon the said piece of land. The plaintiff claims from the defendant: 1. 1,000 pounds damages for trespass being committed by the defendant, her servants and or agents upon the said land 1967 up to date. 2. An injunction restraining the defendant, her servants and or agents from continuing the said acts of trespass. 3. Possession of the said plot of land.”
➥ ISSUE(S) & RESOLUTION(S)
I. Having regard to the fact that Exhibit L was registered on 30th May, 1972, the claim was filed on 24th May, 1972, before the registration of Exhibit L, and notwithstanding the fact that the first Statement of Claim was filed on 5th April, 1973, is Exhibit L not caught by Section 15 of the Land Instruments Registration Law of Lagos State (Cap 64) The appellant relies for his contention on the decision of this court in Patrick Ossai v. Victor Nwajide & Anor. (1975) 4 S.C. 207?
RULING: IN RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR.
A. THAT THE INSTRUMENT HAS BEEN REGISTERED AND HENCE CAN BE PLEADED AND ADMITTED
“The true position of the law is – it would not matter when an action was filed. Indeed it might be filed before the registration of the instrument the party intends to rely upon in proof of his case. However, when if by the time the pleadings are filed the instrument has not been registered, then it shall not be pleaded nor used in evidence. Nothing more than this should be read into the provision. In the instant case, as Mr. Oluowa, learned counsel for the respondent, has submitted, the instrument, Exhibit L, was registered well over ten months before the first statement of claim, (which was indeed later amended twice), was filed. The appellant’s contention in regard thereto fails and Exhibit L in my view confers a valid leasehold interest on the respondent. Both the learned trial Judge and the Federal Court of Appeal came to a correct decision.”
II. Having regard to all the facts in this case especially the facts on the issue of possession, should the court not have found in favour of the appellant?
RULING: IN RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR.
A. THAT THE RESPONDENT GOT TITLE EARLIER AND TOOK POSSESSION
“Assuming the parties took proper title from the common attorney before the revocation of the power of attorney it is clear on the evidence that the respondent got his title in 1964 while the appellant got hers in 1966. It is also clear that there was sufficient evidence before the learned Judge that the respondent did not stay idle but exercised various acts of possession on the land.The judgment of the Court of Appeal to my mind is unimpeachable and the appellant has woefully failed to convince this court that either the trial Judge or the Court of Appeal went wrong.This appeal lacks merit and it must be dismissed.”
“The appeal is therefore dismissed with N300 costs.”
➥ MISCELLANEOUS POINTS
➥ REFERENCED (STATUTE)
Section 15 of the Land Instruments Registration Law reads: ”No instrument shall be pleaded or given in evidence in any court as affecting any land unless the same shall have been registered … ”
➥ REFERENCED (CASE)
➥ REFERENCED (OTHERS)