LEGAL NUGGETS (27):PROOF OF TITLE TO LAND.By Adedotun Habeeb Adetunji LL.M (M.IoD), FCAI.


PROOF OF TITLE TO LAND: On whom lies the onus to prove root of title to land and mode of proving same

"From the law as expounded in the decided authorities referred to and from the peculiar facts of the case before the trial Court, the Appellant had the onus to prove that he actually bought the land from the late Isa before he died. This is because it is the Appellant who asserted affirmatively that ownership had changed hands from the deceased, who is now unable to speak for himself. Thus, he had the onus of proof to establish such facts vide the provision of Section 133 (1) of the Evidence Act. See Olodo V Josiah (2010) 12 SCNJ 49. It is incumbent on a party who asserts the existence of a fact to prove same. The Respondent failed to adduce evidence, documentary or otherwise, to depict clearly that the property had been sold to him by the deceased before he died. In the case of City Property Development Ltd V AG Lagos State (1967) 1 ALL NLR 52, the court held that, by not producing the document by which the land was conveyed to him in each case, the Plaintiff failed to establish how he came to be the beneficial owner of each of the three pieces of land. Not only that, the onus is on the Plaintiff to prove his root of title and the only way to do this is to produce the deed of conveyance by which the land was conveyed and also to call those who conveyed the land to him to testify to that effect." Per SANKEY, J.C.A. (Pp. 47-48, paras. G-F)

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