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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

Travel Agent Charged With N1.3m Visa Fraud

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A 40-year-old travel agent, Eze Sunday, was on Monday arraigned at a Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos for allegedly obtaining N1.3 million from a client on the pretext of procuring a Turkey visa for her.
Sunday is facing a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and obtaining by false pretences.
The defendant, who resides in Yaba, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The Prosecutor, Mr J.I. Eboseremen, told the court that the defendant committed the offences sometime in January on Association Avenue in Igando, Lagos.
He said that the defendant stole the N1.3 million from the complainant, Miss Charity Obeta, which she gave him through a United Bank of Africa electronic transfer, for her travel logistics.
According to him, the defendant promised to procure a Turkey visa, get a return flight ticket and hotel reservation for Obeta, but failed.
Eboseremen alleged that the defendant absconded with the money and refused to take the complainant’s calls.
“My lord, the complainant’s intended travel date was drawing close but she could not contact the defendant.
“His colleagues at workplace told her that the defendant travelled and did not intend to return to the office.
Obeta reported the case to the police, and the defendant was tracked and arrested,” the prosecutor said.
He said that the alleged offences contravened Sections 411, 314 and 287 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 (Revised).
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Oluwatoyin Oghere, released the defendant on bail in the sum of N2 million with two sureties each in like sum.
Oghere said that one of the sureties must be a blood relation of the defendant and reside within the court’s jurisdiction.
She ordered that the sureties must be gainfully employed and show evidence of three years’ tax payment to Lagos State Government.
Oghere adjourned the case until September 11 for trial.

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Law/Judiciary

Remove Nwosu’s Name As Guber Candidate, Court Orders INEC

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The Federal High Court, Abuja, last Monday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove the name of Uche Nwosu as a governorship candidate in the last election held in Imo State.
Justice Inyang Ekwo voided Nwosu’s candidacy on the grounds of double nomination by two political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Action Alliance (AA), in violation of section 37 of the Electoral Act.
The ruling came as Nwosu, a son-in-law to the immediate-past Governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, is currently pursuing an election petition at the state’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal as the candidate of AA, challenging the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, in the March 11 poll.
In his judgment on Monday, Justice Ekwo upheld the case of the plaintiffs, the Action People’s Party (APP) and its Deputy National Chairman, Mr Uche Nnadi, to the effect that Nwosu’s governorship candidature was null and void on the grounds of multiplicity of nominations as a governorship candidate of both the APC and AA.
According to him, the nomination of Nwosu by AA as a governorship candidate is invalid, null and void, having been made at the pendency of similar nomination of the 2nd defendant (Nwosu) by the All Progressives Congress for the same position.
The judge noted that Nwosu affirmed to be the APC’s governorship candidate in his statement on oath sworn before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
The judge similarly declared that Nwosu “has not been validly nominated by the 3rd defendant (AA) as its governorship candidate for the state governorship election having been made at the pendency of the order of Justice Valentine Ashi of the Abuja High Court recognising the 2nd defendant as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the Imo 2019 governorship election.”
He noted that Nwosu participated in the APC’s primaries held on October 6, 2018 and was subsequently nominated as the party’s governorship candidate.
While laying claim to the APC’s governorship ticket, amidst stiff opposition from members of the party, he was said to have on October 9, 2018, obtained an order of Justice Valentine Ashi (now deceased) of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, recognising him as the valid candidate of the party.
In the midst of this, Nwosu was also offered the ticket of the AA.
In his judgment, Justice Ekwo said, “There is no controversy that, on October 6, 2018, the 2nd defendant (Nwosu) had himself nominated as the governorship candidate of the APC.

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Law/Judiciary

Enugu Police Nab Suspected Armed Robbers, Recover Pistol

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The Enugu State Police Command has nabbed two suspected armed robbers terrorising Abakpa Community in the outskirts of Enugu metropolis.
The police also recovered one locally made Beretta pistol from the suspects.
The Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Ebere Amaraizu, said this in a statement made available to newsmen yesterday in Enugu.
Amaraizu said that the suspects were arrested on August 16 by Anti-Cult Unit of the command after a raid on a black spot in the community.
He said: “Following an attack on Abakpa Police Division operatives by hoodlums, the Anti-Cultism Unit of Command went on raid at Umuchigbo axis of Abakpa Community.
“The operatives arrested one Chekwube Igwe and one Teddy Otti both of Vikings confraternity, who have been terrorising Abakpa Community and its environs.
“The police operatives also recovered a local pistol from them.’’
The police spokesman said that the suspects had been helping police operatives in their investigation on their nefarious activities.
“They will be charged to court as soon as investigation is over,’’ he said.

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