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OWNER OF LAND UNDER CUSTOMARY LAW REQUIRES CONSENT OF GOVERNOR TO ALIENATE

Dictum

Land is still held under customary tenure even though dominium is in the Governor. The most pervasive effect of the Land use Act is the diminution of the plenitude of the powers of the holders of land. The character in which they hold remain substantially the same. Thus an owner at customary law remains owners all the same even though he no longer is the ultimate owner. The owner of land, now requires the consent of the Governor to alienate interests which hitherto he could do without such consent.

— Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Ogunola v. Eiyekole (1990) – SC.195/1987

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

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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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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PROOF NOT NECESSARY WHERE IDENTITY OF LAND NOT IN DISPUTE

It is the general principle of law that a plaintiff who claims title to land must prove the identity of the land in dispute. This is to enable the court know the exact area or acreage of the land in dispute to give him judgment if he is able to prove title. However, where the identity of the land is not in dispute or where there is enough evidence for the court to infer the identity of the land, proof is not necessary. In such a situation, the plaintiff has no burden to prove the identity of the land. Of the two ways, the easier one is when the parties agree as to the identity of the land or they do not put the identity of the land in issue.

– Niki Tobi JSC. Gbadamosi v. Dairo (2007)

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REQUIREMENT FOR VALID SALE OF LAND UNDER NATIVE LAW & CUSTOM

Under Native law and custom the requirements for a valid sale are:- (a) Payment of purchase price (b) Purchaser is let into possession by the vendor (c) In the presence of witnesses. It is not necessary to have a written contract or conveyance as under English law. Adesanya V. Aderounmu (2000) 6 SC pt.2, pg, 18, Elema V. Akeuzua (2000) 6 SC pt, 3, pg. 26.

— O.O. Adekeye, JSC. Agboola v UBA (2011) – SC.86/2003

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NOTICE OF POSSESSION OF LAND – ACTS DONE ON LAND

In Mogaji and Ors v. Cadbury Fry (Export) Ltd. (supra) at p. 88, Madarikan, JSC, delivering the judgment of the Supreme Court said: “Possession of a parcel of land means the occupation or physical control of the land either personally or through an agent. As stated by Lord Fitzgerald in Lord Advocate v. Young (1887) 12 App. Cas. 544 at p. 556, by possession is meant possession of that character of which the thing possessed is capable. Thus, if a person adduced evidence that he or his agent or servant were cultivating a farmland that would be evidence sufficient to establish that he was in possession of the land. Similarly, if a person erects on a parcel of land a signboard bearing his name, he hereby gives notice to all and sundry that he is in possession of the land.”

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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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