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I can’t sit on appeal decided by other court, says Ondo judge

I can’t sit on appeal decided by other court, says Ondo judge

By Jacob Akintunde

Justice David Kolawole of the Ondo State High Court, sitting in Akure has dismissed a suit seeking to start afresh a case that has been decided earlier by a court of coordinate jurisdiction on the ownership of land in the Agbeja community in Akure South local government area of the state.

Kolawole, in his ruling on Thursday, said he cannot sit on appeal on a case that has been decided by a retired judge of the court.

Recall that Justice William Akintoroye had earlier dismissed a suit over the ownership of land at Agbeja community in Akure South local government. The Appeal Court presided over by Justices Oyebisi Omoleye, Oziakpono Oho, and Y. A Bashir also upheld the decision of the lower court on the disputed piece of land.

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However, a member of the family, Sunday Ige Ijalana through his counsel, Biodun Fasakin asked the court to set aside the earlier judgments of both lower and appellate courts because the judgments were obtained by fraud.

The suit filed by Fasakin on behalf of the claimant said; “The judgment dated 31st March 2021 delivered in suit No. AK/234/2014; Sunday Fayeun and 3 others versus Tuyi Omopariola, having been obtained by fraud by the defendants, is irregular, defective, null, void, and unconditional.

Also, he asked for “An order setting aside the said judgment dated 31st March 2021 in suit No. AK/234/2014; Sunday Fayeun and 3 others versus Tuyi Omopariola, and all processes incidental thereto, forthwith.

He sought “A perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants, their agents, privies, assigns, representatives, whosoever/howsoever from laying any further claim to the claimants Arowa family land and/or engaging in any other unlawful acts on the claimants family land, howsoever, ostensibly based on the said judgment dated 31st March 2021 in suit No. AK/234/2014; Sunday Fayeun and 3 others versus Tuyi Omopariola, forthwith.”

But Dapo Agbede, the defence counsel said Justice Kolawole, has no jurisdiction to hear a case already decided by a lower and appellate court.

Agbede, however, asked the court to strike out or dismiss the suit, insisting that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit already decided by the superior court.

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According to him, since the appellate court has dismissed the Appeal sequel to the withdrawal of the Notice of Appeal filed by the claimants, the court cannot sit on the Appeal of a superior court.

Justice Kolawole, in his ruling, said it was unheard of that a case that has been decided by a court of the same status would be reviewed by another court of coordinate jurisdiction. He, however, awarded N250,000 as damages for abuse of the court process against the claimants.