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Law/Judiciary

Receipt Of Land Purchase: Interest Conferred Therein (III)

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On Meaning of locus standi and effect of lack of locus
standi –

Locus
standi
is the legal right of a party
to an action to be heard in litigation before a court of law or tribunal. The
term entails the legal capacity of instituting or commencing an action in a
competent court of law or tribunal without any inhibition, obstruction or
hindrance from any person or body whatsoever. The issue of locus standi is
a condition precedent to the determination of a case on merit. Where a
plaintiff has no locus standi to bring a suit, the suit becomes
incompetent and the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain it, the only
order the court can make in the circumstance is that of dismissal. (Pp.175,paras.
E-F; 176,paras. G-H)

On
Principles guiding determination of locus standi of a person-

The
guiding principles to determine whether a person has locus standi or not
are:

(a)  he must be able to show that his civil rights
and obligations have been or are in danger of being infringed;

(b)
the fact that a person may not succeed in the action is immaterial;

(c)
whether the civil rights and obligation have been infringed depends on the
particulars of the case;

(d)
the court should not give any unduly restrictive interpretation to the
expression locus standi.

On
Tests for determining locus standi of a person –

The
tests for the determination of the locus standi of a person are:

(a)
the action must be justiable; and

(b)
there must be a dispute between the parties.

[Inakoju
v. Adeleke (2007) 4 NWLR (Pt.
1025) 423; Akinnubi v. Akinnubi (1997) 2 NWLR (Pt. 486) 144; Adesokan
v. Adegorolu (1997) 3 NWLR (Pt. 493)

261;
A.-G., Kaduna State
v. Hassan (1985)
2 NWLR (Pt. 8) 483; Elendu v. Ekwoaba (1995) 3 NWLR (Pt. 386) 704
referred to.] (P. 176, paras. A-C)

On
When plaintiff lacks locus standi to institute an action –

A
plaintiff lacks the locus standi to institute an action where he has no
axe to grind with the defendant in respect of the subject matter of the action.
In the instant case, by the averments in the respondent’s pleadings, he
acquired the land from his predecessor-in-title on the T” of July 1977,
whereas Lagos State Government published the acquisition of the land in the
gazette on the 16th of April 1974.
His predecessor-in-title was the owner and occupier of the land in 1974. Thus,
the respondent lacked the locus standi to institute the instant action
as, legally, he had no axe to grind with the Lagos State Government in respect
of the acquisition. (P.182,paras. C-D)

On
Need to join state government in action against compulsory acquisition of land

Before
any issue as to whether any land in dispute has been properly acquired by a
state government and whether the notice of acquisition and revocation of grant
was properly served by the government can be effectively adjudicated upon and
determined by the trial court, it is imperative to join the state government
concerned in the suit. In the instant case, the respondent rightly joined the
Attorney-General of Lagos State and the Military-Governor of Lagos State. [Elegushi
v. Oseni (2005) 14 NWLR (Pt. 945) 348; Mobil Oil (Nig.) Ltd. v.
Nabsons Ltd. (1995) 7 NWLR (Pt. 407) 254 referred to.] (P.171, paras.
C-F)

On
Role of respondent in an appeal –

The
traditional role of a respondent in an appeal is to defend the judgment
appealed against. In the instant case, the 3rd and 4th
respondents did not support the judgment of the two lower courts but
cross-appealed against the judgment of the Court of Appeal. (Pp. 185-186,
paras. G-A)

On
When Supreme Court will overturn concurrent judgments of the High Court and the
Court of Appeal-

The
Supreme Court is always reluctant to overturn the concurrent judgments of the
High Court and the Court of Appeal. However, where concurrent judgments of the
High Court and the Court of Appeal appear to be perverse, occasion a
miscarriage of justice, unreasonable and against the evidence adduced, or in
violation of some principle of law and procedure, the Supreme Court will not
allow them to stand. [Bayo J v. Ahemba (1999) 10 NWLR (Pt. 623)
381; Cameroon Airlines v. Otutuizu (2011) 4 NWLR (Pt. 1238) 512; Onwubuariri
v. Jgboasoiyi (2011) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1234) 357 referred to.] (Pp.182-183,paras.
G-A)

ADEKEYE,
J .S.C. (Delivering the Leading judgment):
This
is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal Lagos Division
delivered on the 4th of July 2000. The judgment of the Court of Appeal affirmed
the judgment of the High Court of Lagos State delivered on the 12th November
1996. The facts of the case are that the plaintiff, Oba John Ojomo, now
deceased commenced an action in the High Court of Lagos State against Dr. Tosin
Ajayi as 3rd defendant the Attorney-General of Lagos State
as 1 st defendant and the Military Governor of the Lagos State as 2nd defendant. By order of the trial court, the
plaintiff amended his statement of claim on the 4th December 1995, and
thereupon claimed against the defendants as follows:

(a)
A declaration that the acquisition and/or revocation of his right of occupancy
by Lagos State Government of his land at Opebi Village Ikeja covered by the
registered deed of conveyance dated 7th July 1977 ancl
registered as No. 94 at pages 94 in volume 1635 Lagos State, is a
nullity.

(b)
An order directing the immediate provision and grant to the plaintiff by the 1st and 2nd defendants of a
parcel of land comparable in size in a comparable locality for a term of ninety
years at a nominal ground rent of not more than one Kobo per annum free of all
survey, stamping, registration and other charges. Alternatively, against the
defendants jointly and severally damages or compensation in the sum of
N20,000,000 (Twenty Million Naira) for the unlawful confiscation and permanent
eviction of the plaintiff from his aforementioned land.

(c) An order directing the payment of mesne profits
of damages or compensation for the unlawful occupation of the said land by the
defendants from the date of purported acquisition thereof at the rate of N2,000
,000 per annum until the date of payment. The plaintiff unaware of the
purported notice of acquisition was dismayed when the 3rd defendant relied on Lagos State Government
Notice No. 140 contained in the Lagos State Gazette No. 11 volume 7 of 1974. The
plaintiff engaged a Registered Surveyor, Ademola Ashipa who produced a
composite plan LAT/90 ILA/95; exhibit E which showed that out of the
plaintiff’s land contained in his deed of conveyance; exhibit A measuring
5592.184 square metres, only 1485 square metres edged blue in area in exhibit E
falls within the area of Acquisition. It is evident from the composite plan;
exhibit E that.the plaintiff’s land falls within his predecessor- in-title’s
land Alhaji Isiba verged green. The area verged blue covered by the notice of
acquisition encroached upon the plaintiff’s land verged red. The 1st and 2nd defendants, the Military Governor of Lagos
State and the Attorney-General of Lagos State though were served with all court
processes did not file their defence to the case. The 3rd defendant who filed a defence to the case,
engaged in applying for several adjournments including filing motions to amend
his statement of defence. At the stage when the plaintiff had closed his case,
the 3’d defendant brought summons to dismiss or strike out the action for lack
of jurisdiction on the ground that the case is statute barred by the Limitation
Law of Lagos. Though it took the 3rd defendant three years after this suit was
instituted before his statement of defence was filed, he did not plead facts
raising the Statute of Limitation or the defence of Public Officers Protection
Law Cap. 114 Laws of Lagos State, 1973. The defence of Public Officers
Protection Law and the Limitation Law of 1994 are special defences which in
accordance with Order 17 rule 11 of the High Court of Lagos State (Civil
Procedure) rules, 1994 must be specially or specifically pleaded. The learned
trial Judge was however of the impression that the summons dated the 2nd of August
1996 brought after issues have long been joined by the parties and the
plaintiff had called all his witnesses and closed his case, was brought to
stall the proceedings.

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Law/Judiciary

Five Feared Killed In Fresh Kaduna Attack

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A Sunday evening attack by gunmen on Unguwan Magaj community in Kauru Local Council of Kaduna State may have left four indigenes dead and 36 homes torched.
But the bravery of the youths reportedly led to the death of one of the attackers and confiscation of his handset.
Useful information was said to have been retrieved from the phone that had allegedly been handed over to the police.
In a statement yesterday, the National Public Relations Officer of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Luka Biniyat, said: “The invaders, who came by 6:45 pm yesterday (Sunday) from behind the hills that serve as the boundary of Kaduna State and Ganawuri, Plateau State, were numbered over a 100.
“They attacked from four flanks, causing pandemonium among unsuspecting villagers as the youths tried to fend them off.”
He continued: “After about 30 minutes of violence, the following were unfortunately killed: Mrs Hanatu Joseph, 58, mother of five children; Mrs Sarah Sunday, 40, she left behind her husband and six children.
“The others are: Mrs Dije Sajay, 55, married with six children; and Mr Sunday David, 47, married with seven children. He was a retrenched civil servant.”
He noted: “The attackers targeted food stores and bans of grains, making sure they burnt as much as they could. This is to ostensibly cause starvation, especially under this lockdown from the Coronavirus.
“Police and soldiers came into Unguwan Magaji only this morning (yesterday) around 9 am and saw the corpse of the dead herdsman, which they later took away.”
Besides, Biniyat said: “Early this month yesterday, Ibrahim Atiga, 42, a native of Unguwan Magaji, was killed by herdsmen on his way to the farm. He has since been buried.”

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Law/Judiciary

COVID-19: Nigerian Correctional Service Receives 2nd Batch Of PPE

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The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), Lagos State Command, yesterday said the state government had released the second batch of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the service.
The Spokesman of the command, Supt. Rotimi Oladoku, made this known in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
The Tide reports that the items donated were hand gloves, face marks, inferred thermometers and sanitisers.
Oladokun said the gesture was part of the preventive measures taken by the state government, especially at custodial centers, to contain the spread of the virus.
“The first set of the PPE was released to the command on March 27 and the command also received the second bath on April 20,” he said.
According to Oladokun, the Lagos State NCoS Controller, Mr Sam Iyakoregha, received the items on behalf of the Controller-General of NCoS, Ahmed Ja’afaru.
“The NCoS thanks the Lagos State government for this tremendous support. The NCoS is well positioned to prevent COVID-19 in the custodial centres,” he said.

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Law/Judiciary

I’ll Give Special Attention To Respect For Citizens’ Fundamental Rights – CP …Citizens Set Agenda For Him

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The new Rivers State  Commissioner of Police, Mr Joseph Mukan has said that he would give special  attention to  respect for citizens’ fundamental human rights in the state.
This was contained in a statement issued by the  Public Relations Officer of the Rivers State Police  Command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni and made available to newsmen last Monday in Port Harcourt .
The statement said that Mr Mukan would rekindle the people’s confidence in the police and as well reposition the command for efficiency and productivity.
According to the statement, the new Police Commissioner would be expected to work with humility and integrity as part of efforts to command a better police force in the state.
It further revealed that the Rivers police boss has an impeccable track record in crime fighting, thus the trust to make good his promises.
The Rivers State Commissioner of Police, however, through the statement, solicited for cooperation in terms of information sharing from the people in order to help the command to serve them better.
Meanwhile, some members of the public have called on the new Police Commissioner to remain neutral and face his primary assignment of policing.
A Port Harcourt-Based lawyer, Emperor Nnaoma, who spoke in an interview with The Tide , yesterday, said Mr Mukan must pay priority attention to his core mandate of crime fighting, if he wants to succeed in the state.
Nnaoma, recalled that previous Commissioners of Police who went outside their major task never ended well in the state.
In his view, the Eze Oha Evo III of Evo Kingdom, King Leslie N Eke, said the Commissioner should make out time to check the activities of some of his men who allow themselves into chieftaincy issues in the communities.
The Eze Gbakagbaka/Nyerisi Eli Woji, said that such interference has divided the attention of some police officers in the state as they are always tempted to dance to the tune of their pay masters.

 

By: King Onunwor

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