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CHIEF J.O. IYASE & ORS V. UGIAGBE OMORAGBON

(1976) JELR 42478 (SC)

Supreme Court  •  SC.116/1975  •  22 Oct 1976  •  Nigeria

Coram
GEORGE SODEINDE SOWEMIMO JSC; CHUKWUNWEIKE IDIGBE JSC; ANDREWS OTUTU OBASEKI JSC;

Judgement

G. S. SOWEMIMO, J.S.C. (Delivering the Leading Judgment):It is settled traditional custom that the ownership of land in Benin is vested in the Oba of Benin and that by virtue of this, he is the only authority who can approve of the allocation of building plots to individuals. In order to carry out this customary duty, the Oba, through designated authority, divided Benin into wards and appointed committees to make recommendations to him for such allocations from prospective applicants. For the city of Benin, individuals are appointed as Committee members whereas in the villages' the Odionweres and village elders constitute the Plot Allotment Committee.

It is not in dispute that the appellants form the Plot Allotment Committee for Ward 23/L and the respondents Plot Allotment Committee for Ward 11/K. According to the pleadings, what the court was called upon to decide was whether Isioho village, in which the land in dispute lies, falls within the area of jurisdiction of either Ward 23/L …

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