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F. M. ALADE v. LAWRENCE AWO

(1975) JELR 33956 (SC)

Supreme Court  •  SC.42/1974  •  11 Apr 1975  •  Nigeria

Coram
GEORGE B. A. COKER JSC; GEORGE S. SOWEMIMO JSC; DANIEL O. IBEKWE JSC;

Judgement

IBEKWE, J.S.C. (Delivering the Leading Judgment): This appeal seems to highlight the kind of erroneous conception which seems to have built up around the time-honoured rule that was laid down in the well-known case of Ekpo v. Ita XI NLR 68. In that case Weber, J., stated the law as follows:-

"In a claim for decree of declaration of title, the onus is on the plaintiff to prove acts of ownership extending over a sufficient length of time numerous and positive enough to warrant the inference that the plaintiffs were exclusive owners - if the evidence of tradition is inconclusive the case must rest on question of fact."

Ever since the time that Weber, J., enunciated the above principle of law, generation upon generation of judges have readily applied and followed it. Indeed, Ita's case has now and again, been cited with approval by this court. With the passage of time, this rule has become a household word in actions for declaration of title in this country.

It seems to us, however, that …

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