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LAND WILL CONTINUE TO BE HELD BY THE PERSON IN WHOM IT IS VESTED BEFORE LAND USE ACT COMMENCEMENT

Dictum

It is common ground that the land in dispute over which Exhibit B was issued in favour of the plaintiff is within the urban area of Ibadan. It is not in dispute that it is developed land within the provisions of section 5(1) of the of the Land Use Act 1978. Accordingly, pursuant to section 34(2) of the Land Use Act, the land in dispute shall continue to be held by the person in whom it was vested immediately before the commencement of the Land Use Act on the 29th March, 1978 as if such person was the holder of a statutory right of occupancy issued to him by the Governor under the Act.

— Iguh, JSC. Olohunde v. Adeyoju (2000) – SC.15/1995

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IDENTITY OF LAND

The issue of identity of the land in an action for declaration of title to land is very fundamental. The onus is on the plaintiff seeking the declaration to establish the precise identity of the land he is seeking the declaration.

– Musdapher JSC. Gbadamosi v. Dairo (2007)

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ALL LANDS VESTED IN MILITARY GOVERNOR

The control and management of all land in the state, apart from the land vested in the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is therefore vested either in the Military Governor or the Local Government and while the Military Governor has power to grant statutory right of occupancy in respect of any land [see section 5(1)(a)] the Local Government has power to grant customary right of occupancy in respect of land not in an urban area [see section 6(1)(a) and (b)].

– Obaseki, JSC. Savannah v. Ajilo (1989)

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HOW TO PROVE LAND BY TRADITIONAL HISTORY

It is well settled that one of the five ways of establishing a claim for declaration of title to land is by traditional evidence. See Idundun v. Okumagba (1976) 9-10 SC, 227. It is also settled that once the traditional evidence is found to be conclusive and cogent, there would be no need whatsoever to require further proof. See Akinyili v. Ejidike (1996) 5 NWLR (Pt. 449) 181 at 417; Balogun v. Akanji (1988) 1 NWLR (Pt. 70) 301; Amajideogu v. Ononaku (1988) 2 NWLR (Pt. 78) 614. But the traditional evidence must be such as to be consistent and properly link the plaintiff with the traditional history relied upon. See Owoade v. Omitola (1988) 2 NWLR (Pt. 77) 413. Also a plaintiff who seeks declaration of title to land must prove his root of title to the land. If he traces his title to a particular person, it is not enough to stop there. He must go further to prove how that person got his own title or came to have the title vested in him including where necessary the family that originally owned the land. See Thomas v. Preston Holder 12 WACA 78; Ajibona v. Kolawole (1996) 10 NWLR (Pt. 476) 22.

— U.A. Kalgo, JSC. Dike & Ors. V. Francis Okoloedo & Ors. (SC.116/1993, 15 Jul 1999)

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MEANING OF “ANY PERSON” AS USED IN SECTION 36(1) OF LAND USE ACT MEANS ANY NIGERIAN

It is my firm view therefore that the words “ANY PERSON” under section 36(1) of the Act refer to and mean ANY NIGERIAN. The Act has not abrogated any law which limits the rights of aliens to own property. I will however share the views of Omololu-Thomas, J.C.A. that any foreigner who has validly owned or occupied any land before the act is deemed to be an occupier under the act. This however must be in conformity with the definition of occupier under section 50 of the Land Use Act.

— Olatawura, JSC. Ogunola v. Eiyekole (1990) – SC.195/1987

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WHEN IDENTITY OF LAND BECOMES AN ISSUE IN LAND MATTERS

It is also now settled law that requires no citation of any authority, that the identity of land in a land dispute will only be in issue if and only if the defendant in his statement of defence makes it one. If he disputes specifically either the area or the location or the features shown in the plaintiff’s plan, then the identity of the land becomes an issue to be tried. In my view both the trial court and the Court of Appeal were right in their decision that the identity of the land in dispute was not an issue joined in the pleadings to be tried.

– Musdapher JSC. Gbadamosi v. Dairo (2007)

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PLAINTIFF SHOULD ESTABLISH CLEARLY THE AREA OF LAND WHICH HIS CLAIM RELATES

I think it is an elementary requirement of our land law that the first duty of any plaintiff claiming from the court a declaration of title to land is to show clearly the area of land to which his claim relates:- Akinola Baruwa v. Ogunshola (1938) 4 W.A.C.A. 195. This duty a plaintiff can discharge, either by describing the land with such particularity that a surveyor can from his description produce an accurate plan of the land:- Kwadzo v. Adjei (1944) 10 W.A.C.A. 274 or, by himself producing an accurate plan of the land showing precise boundaries. If the plan is inaccurate in the sense that the boundaries are imprecise or that the oral evidence does not tally with the details appearing on the plan, then the trial court will be justified in regarding such a plan as vague and unsatisfactory and again justified in refusing to find a declaration of title on such a plan: Udekwe Amata v. Udogu Modekwe and Ors. (1954) 14 W.A.C.A. 580. The reason for insisting on accurate plans is simply to enable the parties and other persons claiming through them to know precisely the area of land to which the judgment and orders relate:- Maberi v. Alade (1987) 2 N.W.L.R. (Part 55) 101 at p.106. Enforcement of a judgment and order of injunction based on an inaccurate plan will create difficulties, untold difficulties. Where parties own land abutting a common boundary that common boundary will be shown with particularity and precision: Okorie and Ors. v. Udom and Ors. (1960) 5 F.S.C. 162 at p.166; Udofia & anor. v. Afia and ors. Andy v. Akpabio and ors. (1940) 6 W.A.C.A. 216. Another feature of our land law which has to be kept in view while considering Issue No. 1 above is that where a party claims a specific area of land and can only prove title to a part of that area of land or where the defendant concedes part of the land claimed, the court can grant the plaintiff title to the area proved or conceded but if; and only if, that area is definite and can be easily hatched out of and excised from the total area claimed, see Abudu Karimu v. Daniel Fajube (1968) N.M.L.R. 151 and Anukwua and ors. v. Ohia and ors. (1986) 5 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 40) 150 at p.161. Otherwise the declaration may be rightly refused.

– Oputa JSC. OLUFOSOYE v. OLORUNFEMI (1989)

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