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Bini Customary Land Law Planting of Ikhinmwin how valid.

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17/09/2017

Bini Customary Land Law Planting of Ikhinmwin how valid.
Uwadiae vs Aburime (1996) 44 LRCN CAJB/62/91.
The issue to be determined was whether the planting of Ikhinmwin trees simpliciter was the system of acquisition of land under the Bini Native Law and Custom in 1924 or before the advent of written grants/Oba’s approval.
Held: per Apabio JCA (1996) 44 LRCN

The planting of Ikhinmwin tree was the recognized system of acquiring title to land under Bini Native law and custom in 1924 and that the plaintiff proved his case under that system to have entitled him to the declaration and order sought. The Ikhinmwin tree given to him by the Odionwere, Oba’s representative was held more valid than the Oba’s approval later Idudun  vs Okumagba (1976) 9 & 19 SC 227 at p. 346; Ekpo vs Ita 11 NCR 68.

It is to be noted that the acquisition of a certificate of occupancy and registration of deed- of transfer, or conveyance do not confer a legal title particularly when such title had been obtained by fraudulent means. The person who buys property obtained by fraudulent buys litigation and will lose. Hence buyer must beware See Mrs Comfort Aiguokhian Igbinoba-plaintiff Vs Mrs. Felicia Aikhionbare-defendant Suit No B/5 5 1/9’l Judgment of 20/12/99 HC Benin City by his Lordship Hon Justice S O Elaiho. Facts of the case The Original owner of the house madam Osasebor Ovbiogbe Osunde died childless at about 1960. Her uterine half maternal sister Onaghise Efionayi performed all the burial rites of her late sister Osasebor. There after she was given letter of administration over late Madam Osasebor’s .properties after several litigations with late Osasebor’s paternal family side who did not contribute to the burial rites of late Osasebor their paternal sister. Madam Onaghise gave this property. (house) at Igbesamwan to her eldest daughter Mrs. Comfort Igbinoba inter vivos as gift and the vacant land at Upper Sakponba to her younger daughter Gladys Inneh before she died. The gift was done in the presence of family members who attested to it. Comfort had been living in the house at Igbesamwan till 1993 when she received a Letter from a lawyer giving her 3 months notice to quit and vacate the house for the new landlord Mrs. Felicia Aikhionbare who had allegedly bought the house from Gladys Inneh, Comfort lgbinoba ‘s junior sister. Gladys used fake document to obtain a certificate of occupancy in her name. The Oba’s signature was forged in the Conveyance. She used these forged documents to sell the house to Mrs. Felicia Aikhionbare and escape to the UK. She had got a survey plan of the house but did not erect the beacon because Comfort who lived in the house would have known of the fraudulent act. Defendant’s argument that before a certificate of occupancy is issued it must be advertised and objected to by any party interested in the property was rejected. This was rejected as plaintiff was an illiterate and had no knowledge of the advert. Her knowledge of it could not have cured the defect in the C of D. The court held that “the defendants ingenuity in conducting his case should not be allow to defeat the course of justice…..The C of O issued to Gladys Inneh has no good root of title. She cannot pass one to the defendant….I hold that the plaintiff has proved a better title to the land in dispute than the defendant….I will ignore the C of O which as the judgment stands; the C of O is not worth more than the paper on which the document was granted. It is unfortunate that the innocent defendant was dragged into a family dispute between two sisters over ownership of the house and she parted with her N80, 000

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