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VANITIES OF THE WORLD

Dictum

It was most unfortunate and excruciatingly uncomfortable that because of the vanities of the world, the Appellants who grew up together with the Respondent as members of one family, and whose parents in their wisdom and benevolence, and in particular, legitimately, accepted and received the Respondent as a member of their family, would dramatically turnabout to disown him, question his legitimacy and membership of their family as established by their late parents.

– Mbaba JCA. Aduba v. Aduba (2018)

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PROOF OF CHILD ADOPTION IS ESSENTIAL

You cannot pick children any how. Since Sarah and Emmanuel are not biological children of the plaintiff and her late husband evidence of adoption was material. Proof of adoption is essential both for the adopter and the adopted person or any other person for the purpose of devolution of property on the intestacy. From the pleadings, the burden of proof rested on the plaintiff/respondent who substantially asserted the affirmative of adoption of Sarah and Emmanuel. This forms an essential fact of the case of the plaintiff and if she could tender a certified true copy of the marriage certificate between her and the deceased husband, it was strange that she was unable to tender any documentary evidence establishing the adoption or offering any acceptable evidence to that effect. The burden of proof lies on him who affirms a fact, not on him who denies it.

– Remilekun Olaiya v. Mrs. Cornelia T. Olaiya & Ors. (2002) – SC.190/1999

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RESPONDENT WAS ADOPTED TO BRING PRIDE

The Respondent was received into their family when he was five years old and he knew no other parents than the Late Aduba Ohagwam Nwaemere and the Late Mrs. Felicia Nwugo. He was adopted to bring succour and sense of belonging and pride to the said late Felicia Nwugo whose only biological son died sometime before the adoption or acceptance of the Respondent in 1972.

– Mbaba JCA. Aduba v. Aduba (2018)

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ADOPTION OF A CHILD IS A SERIOUS MATTER

The issue of adoption of a child and the consequences of it cannot be so casually disposed of by a court of law as the court below seemed to have done. No one will lightly permit a stranger to claim his or her family lineage and inheritance unless through entitlement by blood or genuine adoption. Since the respondent failed to discharge the burden of proving adoption, there can be no basis for including the said Emmanuel and Sarah as beneficiaries of the estate of Solomom Kayode Olaiya (deceased) as was done in the judgment of the trial court.

– Uwaifo, JSC. Olaiya v. Olaiya (2002) – SC.190/1999

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ONCE ADOPTED ALWAYS ADOPTED

I think this case is at the root of National Public Policy and constitutional rights of persons/citizens in our jurisprudence. Where a child, taken from an orphanage or Social Welfare Department, is adopted or received and integrated into a family setting and given a name or allowed the name of the family of the adoptor(s), or person who shows love and benevolence to the unfortunate child, he should not and cannot be left at the vice or mercy of the other children/relations of the adoptor(s), be they biological children or other beneficiaries of the estate of the adoptor(s).It would be wrong, in my view, to remind and play back the sad and ugly circumstances of the childs birth, taunt, mock and discriminate against him, and subject him to ridicule, just because somebody wants to deny him the benefit(s) of the estate of his adoptor.

– Mbaba JCA. Aduba v. Aduba (2018)

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ADOPTION OF A CHILD CANNOT BE QUESTIONED LATER BY THIRD PARTIES

And whether the word adoption of a child, is used in the strict, legal and statutory sense, or loosely, I think, once it is shown that the child was intentionally accepted and integrated into the family, and made to feel a sense of belonging by the adopting parent(s) or person(s), nobody should or can rise up to question the good gesture of the adopting parent(s) or person(s), and deny the child (now grown adult) share in the covering, gains, benefits or liabilities, accruing from the common patrimony or estate of the adoptor(s) or person(s), who adopted the child.

– Mbaba JCA. Aduba v. Aduba (2018)

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HE WHO ASSERTS ADOPTION MUST PROVE

The Adoption Law of Lagos State (Cap.5) which came into force on 21st September, 1968 was the only applicable law on adoption in Lagos at the material time. It has not been shown that the said adoption of Emmanuel and Sarah was done under that law. If that had been so, the best evidence would have come from the Adopted Children Register established under section 16 of that law. The burden is on the respondent to produce that evidence. The law is that he who asserts the affirmative has the onus of proving it by virtue of section 135 of the Evidence Act.

– Uwaifo, JSC. Olaiya v. Olaiya (2002) – SC.190/1999

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