The Court of Appeal, Lagos has dismissed the appeal filed by the Elejigbo family of Langbasa, challenging the dismissal of its suit claiming ownership of Langbasa land, located in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of the state.
The court also dismissed the cross-appeal filed by the defendants, claiming ownership of the disputed property.
The appellants represented by Mrs. Morenikeji Ojo had first sued the defendants at the High Court of Lagos, sitting in Badagry, praying to be declared the owners of the land.
The defendants, represented by Patrick Abak also filed a counterclaim, insisting that the land belongs to them.
In his decision, the trial judge dismissed the claims of both parties on the account that they were not able to identify the exact location of the disputed property.
Dissatisfied, the plaintiff filed an appeal at the court of appeal Lagos, challenging the decision of the lower court. Also unhappy, the respondents filed before the same court a cross-appeal, claiming that it ought to be declared the lawful owner of the land, having dismissed the plaintiff’s claim.
In his judgment, justice Ebiowei Tobi delivering the lead decision dismissed the appeal and cross-appeal.
“The name of Osenatu featured in paragraph 13 in the family genealogy of the appellants’ family but that name did not feature in paragraph 7. This conflict works against the appellants’ case.
“The fact that the claim fails and the appeal dismissed is not automatic that the counterclaim will succeed. This is because the 1st respondent based on the counterclaim has the responsibility to prove his own case,” Justice Tobi held.
According to Justice Tobi, while there is clear evidence of a proper genealogy from Pa Aminu to the 1st respondent, the evidence before the lower court did not satisfy the proof of ownership of the land by traditional history.
The two other justices Jamilu Yammama Tukur and Gabriel Omoniyi Kolawole concurred with this decision.