By Nwabueze Okonkwo
ONITSHA—The Supreme Court sitting in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, has sent the three communities of Anambra state involved in a land dispute back to the state high court to go and sort out their matter in the interest of justice.
The communities are Abba in Njikoka Local Government Area (plaintiffs/appellants); Ukwulu in Dunukofia Local Government Area (first set of defendants/respondents) and Ukpo, also in Dunukofia Local Government Area (second set of defendants/respondents).
In its lead judgement delivered by Justice Paul Adamu Galumje, JSC, on February 15, 2019, the Supreme court held that since the record of proceedings of the judgement delivered by Justice Obiora Nwazota of Anambra State High Court, Awka, on November 12, 1999 could not be found to form part of the records of appeal at the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, the only option left for the parties would be to go back to the trial high court to sort out their matter.
The supreme court noted that in the instant case, there is in place what may be called “force majeur”, an unexpected occurence which has the capacity to defeat even the enforcement of the judgement obtained at the trial court in the two consolidated suits, adding that it therefore followed that if nothing is done, there would be a total failure of justice.
According to the judgement, “the loss of the record of the appeal is a factor that has in my view, vitiated and rendered the judgement invalid.”