Appeal Court upholds ownership of Ofada land
The Court of Appeal, Ibadan division has rested the three-year legal battle over the ownership of Ofada community/village land located in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The rights of ownership and authority of the land had been a subject of litigation between Ofada community and Messrs Ayowole Adetayo and Dayo Shyllon, who traded under the name Shyllon Properties Limited.
Plaintiffs in the matter (Mr Ayowole Adetayo and Dayo Shyllon) had approached the High Court of Ogun State, for a declaration that they are entitled to apply for and obtain right of occupancy in respect of the controversial Ofada land as well as an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from committing act of trespass on the land in dispute.
However, the defendants / counter claimants, who included the Baale Rabiu Adewunmi of Ofada land and 14 others on behalf of Ofada community/village asked for a declaration that the 1st Defendant’s family is the rightful owner of the land at Ofada Land and therefore is entitled to be granted the statutory right of occupancy on the land.
After hearing from parties, the lower court on its judgment delivered on October 24 , 2012 in suit N0: AB/237/2008, vested the rights on the Plaintiffs/Appellants to apply for and obtain a statutory right of occupancy in respect of all the piece and parcel of land situated at Ofada land.
The court also dismissed the claims of the community represented by the Baale and others while awarded same to the plaintiffs but without specific allotted area of land.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, the communities challenged the judgment while the respondents filed counter claims.
The appellants had sought to know whether the trial court was right when it granted the counter claim of the respondents as entitled to the right of occupancy over the un alloted portion of Ofada land, while the respondents sought to know whether the court below was not right in dismissing the appellants’ claims .
However in judgment delivered on May 19, 2017 and signed on June 6, the Justices of the appellate court held that it would be a miscarriage of justice to grant the cross appellant the declaration of title to the entire Ofada land as counterclaimed.
The court in unanimous decision set aside the part of judgment of the High Court of Ogun State, Abeokuta delivered on October 24 , 2012 in suit N0: AB/237/2008, which granted the cross appellant declaration of title in respect of all the piece and parcel of land situated at Ofada land.
Apart from the Baale Rabiu Adewunmi of Ofada land, other appellants in the suit are Tunji Sotomi, Akinwale Savage, Taiwo Majiyagbe, Rabiu Adewusi, Dr Bode Sowunmi, Alh Sulaiman Adebayo and Muyiwa Adewunmi,A.V.M Femi Oshigbo, Mr Sogeyinbi, Dr Babatunde Ladele, Mosudi Adeboye, Kunle Binutu and Kehinde Adebakin.
In a certified true copy of the judgment obtained by The Guardian yesterday, the Justices of the Appellate court also dismissed the cross appeal filed by the respondents for lack in merit.
Faulting the trial judgment, Justice Chinwe Eugenia Iyizobia who delivered the lead judgment dismissed the counter claim and upheld the appeal.Justice Iyizobia held: “It would be a miscarriage of justice in the circumstances to grant to the Cross Appellant a declaration of title to the entire Ofada land as counter claimed.
“ The cross appeal is consequently lacking in merit. It is hereby dismissed. I reiterate my judgment in the main appeal. The part of the judgment of the High Court of Ogun State, Abeokuta delivered on October 24, 2012 in suit N0: AB/237/2008 granting the Cross Appellant declaration of title to the unallotted portion of Ofada land is hereby set aside. In its place, the counter claim stands dismissed. I make no order as to costs. “ The court held. The two other Justices- M.B. Dongban-Mensem and Modupe Fasanmi concurred with the lead judgment.