Widow wins late Husband’s House from usurper.
By: Ademola Oladele
After about 18 months of court battle, a widow Mrs. Aminatu Aremu Gbadamosi has won a court case she instituted against her brother-in-law; Mr Dauda Gbadamosi who was almost successful at usurping part of the house which his late brother left behind.
The litigation was opened at the Grade ‘A’ Customary Court Mapo, Ibadan on 13th day of September 2017 by Mrs. Aminatu Aremu Gbadamosi who prayed the court to claim possession of her late husband’s property from her brother-in-law. In her narration,Mrs. Aremu told the Court that her late husband Alhaji Issa Gbadamosi built a six room building at Oremeju Agugu, area of Ibadan and after his demise, her brother-in-law, Mr. Dauda Gbadamosi is wrongfully claiming ownership of three rooms out of others in the building left behind by her late husband. Mrs. Aremu told the court that the claim by her brother-in-law to the property is false. She therefore pleaded to the court to order Mr. Dauda Gbadamosi to quit the three rooms and stop claiming ownership of part of the said house.
The complainant; Mrs. Aremu affirmed her claim with three witnesses. The case was adjourned five times and the defendant was absent twice while the complainant appeared all the five times.
By 12th March 2018, both parties were present and the court advised them to go home and settle the matter amicably but if they can not settle it before the adjourned date, the court will mediate. The defendant; Mr. Duada Gbadamosi did not agree with the court offer. He promptly told the court how ridiculed he felt with the allegation against him. The court had no option than to make them state their accounts.
Mrs. Aminatu Aremu, on oath told court that the respondent – Mr. Duada Gbadamosi is her late husband younger brother. She added that her husband – Late Alhaji Issa Gbadamosi died in 1981 but before the demise of her husband she had produced 5 children for him. In addition, she said that the building under discussion is at Agugu area, Ibadan and the building has 6 rooms with 2 boy’s quarters. She said it was her late husband that bought a portion of land in 1973 and in the year 1974 he erected a building on the land and moved into it that same year. She further stated that it was her husband, her and their children that were living happily together in that building until 1977 when her late husband gave the respondent/defendant and another member of the family one room each. Later when the respondent got married, he was given additional room making a room and a parlor out of the six rooms in the said building. She further narrated that the respondent and his wife gave birth to children in the said building. Mrs. Aremu Aminatu alleged that later after her husband died, the respondent annexed one more room for himself making three rooms. Over the years, the defendant came up with an idea that it was himself and her late husband-Alhaji Issa Gbadamosi that gathered the money and resources with which they jointly to build the said house, which means he has taken 3 rooms as his part of the building.
She also told the court that at present the respondent is collecting rent on 2 of the rooms and occupying the 3rd room by himself.
Mrs. Aminatu presented some necessary document to the court to verify that her late husband owned the said building. In addition, she showed documents as evidence that her late husband used to obtain money from Cooperative Society when he was building the said building. She concluded with plea to the court to order Mr. Dauda Gbamosi to move out of her late husband house and stop collecting rent from tenants because he is not the rightful owner of the said building.
In his response, Mr. Duada Gbadamosi, on oath, stated that he is a retired soldier and that the complaint is his late brother’s wife who died in the year 1981. He added that the said building is at Oremeji Agugu area of Ibadan and that he leaving till date. He confirmed that the building has six rooms and told the court that he is entitled to 3 rooms that was why he claimed those rooms. He agreed that it was his late brother that bought the land when he was at war front and that they jointly built the building together when he came back from the war safely. He added that the building was shared into two that he took 3 rooms and his late brother took 3 rooms.
The court President ordered both parties to bring on next day of adjournment any family members that could put the court through. The case was adjourned to the 19th of April 2018. On the day of adjournment Mrs. Aminatu Aremu brought 3 witnesses while Mr. Gbadamosi did not bring any witness.
The first witness was Mr. Moruf Hamzat Gbadamosi an electrical contractor who on oath stated that the complainant is the wife to late Alhaji Issa Gbadamosi the elder brother of his father while the defendant is his father’s younger brother. He added that the house has been in existence for over 30 years and the rightful owner of the house was late Alhaji Issa Aremu Gbadamosi who died on December 1981. He said the building has six rooms but later the late Alhaji Issa Gbadamosi built the boys’ quarters. Mr. Hamzat Gbadamosi further told the court that he was staying at one of the six rooms before he got married and moved out of the building.
He further stated that when the respondent came back at the end of war the defendant was given a room which he Hamazat was using before he got married. Later when the respondent got married, his late brother gave him one more room to add up to two rooms, Hamzat revealed. Mr. Hamzat Gbadamosi further stated that he can’t actually say how the defendant moved to the small parlor to increase the number of rooms he occupied to three. Mr. Gbadamosi testified that it was the complainant’s late husband that built the house and gave the respondent part of the building. It was an epic shock to the entire family members that the defendant was claiming that he has contributed to the building of the said house.
Hamzat concluded his testimony that the ownership dispute happened because the complainant’s late husband was not cruel enough to chase the defendant out of the building before he died. He prayed to court to take the right decision on this matter for future purpose.
Another witness, Mr. Rabiu Ajadi, on oath similarly testified in favour of of the complainant but added that the defendant too has his landed property and building at Babanla area of Ibadan. Mr. Ajadi pleaded to court to ensure that the respondent clarify to his children about the true ownership of the building in order to prevent future catastrophe.
By the 15th of November, 2018, court visited the said building at Oremeji Idi-Oro area, Ibadan by 9: 45am. The court met the complainant and the defendant at the building. The court further met different people and got more witnesses to put the court through.
The first person the court met was Mr. Moshod Hamzat Osundina. Mr. Osundina is one of the relatives to both parties. He told the court that he was brought up in that community. He affirmed that the said house was built in 1974 and the rightful owner was late Alhaji Issa Gbadamosi whose burial ground was shown to court by Mr. Moshod Osundina. He added that late Alhaji Issa Gbadamosi bought that land in the year 1973 from Pastor Philip Awodele. The court members also met the Landlord Association Chairman of the community – Mr. Ishola Ige who told court that the building under consideration belongs to the complainant’s late husband but after the demise of Alhaji Issa Gbadamosi, it was the defendant that used to come for Landlord Association meetings. The Chairman added that the Association later dismissed the defendant from the meetings because of his delinquency. He added that the defendant too has his personal landed property and house elsewhere.
Another person Mr. Rafiu Oyekunle told the court that he was a tenant in that house until 1975. He said he occupied a room and by then the defendant was not there. It was later when Mr. Oyekunle packed out the building that the defendant came into a room. The court concluded the exploration by 11: 25 and the court told both parties to come for judgment.
The Court President Chief Ademola Odunade advised both parties especially the defendant to stop making trouble or misleading the court. The President said that according to the facts and evidence gathered it came to the conclusion that the building in dispute belongs to late Alhaji Isaa Gbadamosi, the late husband to the complainant.
The court ordered the respondent /defendant – Mr. Dauda Gbadamosi to move out of the building instantly. The Court President added that judgment letter will be given to the complainant which she will take to the nearest Police Station to aid her in lawfully sending the defendant off the building. He cautioned that in order for peace to reign in future, the respondent should move out of the building because if he dies in that building the respondent’s children may team up against the complainant’s children to claim the same portion as their father is wrongfully claiming now.
The President also said that if the complainant wishes to have mercy on the defendant later by allowing him to stay in that building for sake of family peace, she should make sure the defendant moved out first then there will be proper agreement by their legal advisers who should indicate in that agreement document that the complainant’s late Husband late Alhaji Issa Gbadamosi as the rightful owner of the building and not the respondent/defendant.