The Application Of The Maxim Quic quid plantatur solo solo cedit under customary land tenure in Nigeria an Appraisal


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1.1 Background to the Study

Before the advent of the British colonialist, the applicable law that regulated the land tenure system in Nigeria was customary law. Land was the property of all the dwellers of the community. Though it was remarked by lord Heldane in the case of Amodu Tijani v. Secretary of Southern Nigeria[1]; that land is communally owned and that the notion of individually owned land is strange to customary law. Smith (2007:44) rebut the above remark by arguing that “the statement of his Lordship is not accurately representation of the indigenous ownership structure in Nigeria,” he further argue that before land became family or communal property, it was founded by an individual who exercise an individual right over the land. On his death, the land shifted from individual property to family property and from family property to communal property[2].

Following the imperialistic tendency of the British, English common law was received into Nigeria by virtue of Ordinance of No. 3 of 1863 and Ordinance of No. 4 of 1864, “the ordinance in effect introduce into the country, subject to the usual reservation of their being applied subject to existing local laws and in so far as local circumstances permit…” (Jegede. 1981:2). The maxim “quic quid plantatur solo, solo cedit” is a common law rule. Hence it is left for us to state with either probability or certainty that the quic quid rule had corresponded with the usual customary law, practice in Nigeria or it simply eroded it native equivalent to extinction.

This research does not intend to break new grounds on the issue; whether the common law maxim of quic quid plantatur solo, solo cedit is applicable to customary land tenure system. However, this research intends to examine the works of prominent jurist and learned author on the aforementioned issue and to decipher which of the opinion hold weight and could be used as probable solution to the contention always associated to the issue in contention.

1.2 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The main aim and objective of this study is to examine the application of the maxim quic quid plantatur solo solocedit under customary land tenure in Nigeria an appraisal. Other objective are:

1. To examine Maxim quic quid plantatur solo solocedit

2. To analyze customary land law under a government controlled land tenure system among the Yoruba of south western Nigeria

3. To investigate the common law concept of land and its ownership and those of customary law in Nigeria

1.3 Scope of the Study

The long essay will give account of the origin of quic quid plantatur solo solocedit, definition of a land, types, formation and the sources of powers of a land. Reference will also be made to the study of its application to customary law.

1.4 Research Methodology

           The research method used in this work is the Doctrinal Method of Research and this would involves going to the library to access books and also the use of textbooks, Online Books, Articles, Reports, Journals, Seminar papers as well as Internet/ Websites.

          These research methods are aimed at working towards the justification of this topic and finding a way to attack the problems concerned.

1.5 Definition of Terms

Common law: In law, common law is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. The defining characteristic of “common law” is that it arises as precedent.

Customary land: is land which is owned by indigenous communities and administered in accordance with their customs, as opposed to statutory tenure usually introduced during the colonial periods. Common ownership is one form of customary land ownership.

Customary law: A legal custom is the established pattern of behavior that can be objectively verified within a particular social setting. A claim can be carried out in defense of “what has always been done and accepted by law”.

Quicquidplantatur solo, solo cedit: is a legal Latin principle related to fixtures which means that something that is or becomes affixed to the land becomes part of the land; therefore, title to the fixture is a part of the land and passes with title to the land

[1] (1921)  A. C.  39

[2]Mora v. Nwalusi (1962) 1 All N.L.R. 681 at 684

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