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FRANCIS OKAFOR & ORS. V. ATTORNEY GENERAL ANAMBRA STATE & ORS.

(2005) JELR 33977 (SC)

Supreme Court  •  SC.194/2000  •  3 Jun 2005  •  Nigeria

Coram
SALIHU MODIBBO ALFA BELGORE JSC; SYLVESTER UMARU ONU JSC; UMARU ATU KALGO JSC; AKINTOLA OLUFEMI EJIWUNMI JSC; DENNIS ONYEJIFE EDOZIE JSC;

Judgement

BELGORE, J.S.C. (Delivering the Leading Judgment): The appellants were plaintiffs in the High Court of Anambra State sitting at Nnewi Judicial Division. The land in dispute called by plaintiffs as Okpukpite, was acquired by their ancestors by conquest about four hundred and fifty years ago. The eleven plaintiffs represent various descendants of the original conqueror and divided or apportioned the land among themselves. They had been in possession all the time burying their dead there, farming there and having various homestead there undisturbed all these centuries. Individual members of each family had portions allocated to them and they have developed most of them and are still developing them; it is a continuing process as the families grow larger. This families' rights had been exercised unhindered up to promulgation of Land Use Decree (now Act) of 1978.

By a publication around 1979, the then Anambra State Government published a Notice whereby it expressed its intention to acquir…

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