E. O. OGWUEGBU, J.S.C. (Delivering the Leading Judgment): The plaintiffs brought an action against the defendant in the High Court of Justice. Onitsha (Suit No.0/122/78) claiming the following reliefs:
"(i) Declaration that the plaintiffs are entitled to the Customary Right of Occupancy of the piece of land situate at Ogbe Onira Quarters, Umudei Village. Onitsha more particularly delineated and verged pink in survey plan No.ECAS.137/78 attached to the statement of claim:
(ii) An Order of Perpetual Injunction restraining the defendant from interfering with the 2nd plaintiffs Customary Right of Occupancy and use and enjoyment of the said land as successor to the first plaintiff on record now deceased."
After pleadings were filed and exchanged, the defendant applied to the trial court by way of motion for the question of res judicata to be tried as a preliminary issue. The application was granted and the issue was set down for hearing.
Both parties gave evidence. In his judgment, the le…