MOHAMMED, JSC (Delivering the Lead Judgment): A parcel of land between the Oluwa and Oreara Rivers in Okitipupa Division of Ondo State has been a source of dispute between the Ijaw-Apois and Ilaje Communities.
The dispute has a chequered history. The first record of the dispute is from a civil suit filed by one Jubo, the Oba of the Ijaws, against one Omoluwole, the Amapetu of Mahin. The case was heard on 19th December, 1917, at Ondo Provincial Court, presided over by R.D.N. Raikes, a colonial resident. In January, 1974, the respondents in this appeal, who were the plaintiffs before the trial High Court of Ondo State, claimed against the appellants (defendants before the High Court) for the following declarations:-
“(i) Declaration of title according to customary law to all that piece or parcel of land situate at Kurugbene-Ipinle in Ilaje area of Okitipupa Division ; Forfeiture of the defendants’ customary tenancy of the said land ; Possession of the land”
Before the trial opened, the t…