Drama of a NUISANCE CLIENT

Barrister Ojulari had resumed at his Chambers on a cold-weathered Monday morning, It rained the night before that day, He seemed not bothered as he had arrived before all his staffs and junior associates. He was seen to have sitted on a comfy chair. In his hand was a copy of Nigeria weekly law report which he was seriously reading. Beside him was was a cup of a hot undisclosed content. His phone rang. He sipped from the cup before he picked up the call.

BARR. OJULARI : Hello, good morning, who is on the line please?

Caller: Hello barrister, I’m in front of your Chambers, when will you resume work today?

BARR. OJULARI: I am inside my office already, you can enter.

(The Caller appeared to be a man as he entered the office)

He: The law! How are you doing today?

BARR. OJULARI: I’m good, how may I be of help to you sir?

He: I need your professional service on an issue. Imagine, one of my neighbours was dictating what I should do and what should not do to me on my land, In my own house that I built with no one’s father’s money!

BARR. OJULARI : That’s somehow bad, what happened exactly?

HE: I am a businessman who don’t usually have leisure time during the day, I do arrive from my office after 22:00 hours in the night.

BARR. OJULARI: Did your neighour prevent you from entering into your house based on that fact?

HE : No! I love music, I love it more than food, I usually listen to my favourite music late in the night after everyone is asleep because I can’t listen to it during the day. I love listening to my music at the backyard of my own house, as I would be drinking my yoghurt mixed with malt.

BARR. OJULARI: What happened after that?

HE: One idiot neighbour of mine was telling me that I should not listen to my music in my own house anymore, can you feel the temerity?

BARR. OJULARI: To what extent do you raise the volume of your music?

HE: I raise the volume to the extreme. I like the vibe of listening to my music with the highest volume. It gives me joy. I bought my mp3 at the rate of $4000 when I went on vacation to the U.S.A.

BARR. OJULARI: That’s quite expensive, that’s more than One million, six hundred thousand naira.

HE: Barrister, just imagine how expensive that was, in fact, I bought it with my own hard earned money. How can a reasonable person prevent me from enjoying the property that I buy with my own hard earned money.

BARR. OJULARI: Besides, you are also using it on your own land, in a house that…

HE: (interrupted)… I built with my own money!

BARR. OJULARI: What do you want me to do now?

HE: This neighbour has unlawfully prevented me from enjoying my property, which I know that our law does not accommodate. I want to sue him to court, I want the court to award a heavy damages against him, so that he won’t try such nonsense again in his life.

BARR. OJULARI: OK! Apart from the complaint about your music volume, did he make any other complaint?

HE: He was just saying nonsense. He said that his Sickle cell warrior child could not sleep due to the noise of my own good music for more than a month, that he had crisis which got him admitted in hospital, and his quack doctor told him that his son had crisis because he didn’t have a good sleep. For crying out loud, how does that concern me?

BARR. OJULARI: If I can get you right, you said he cautioned you about the noise of your music you play in the night and informed you that it has affected his sickle cell warrior child. Am I right?

HE: Yes the law! You have brilliantly summarized my story.

BARR. OJULARI: Apart from informing and cautioning you about this, has he fine anything else?

HE: No!

BARR. OJULARI: According to what you narrated to me, you are the one at fault.

HE: Ah! What do you mean?

BARR. OJULARI: There is a principle of law that says, “sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas”.

HE: (Confused) What’s that please?

BARR. OJULARI: It is a Latin maxim, it means, “use your property in a way that it does not injure other people’s”. What you did is what is called NUISANCE in law.

HE: Ah! Can you tell me more about Nuisance please?

BARR. OJULARI: Of course, ” Nuisance is any unreasonable interference with another person in the use and enjoyment of their land or a right attached to it”(1)

HE: Ah!

BARR. OJULARI: An act of nuisance may be public or private. The fact in the story you narrated to me borders on public nuisance. Since “nuisance is any conduct that interferes with the convenience and comfort of the public or a section of it”(2). He has locus standi to sue you to court for causing him inconveniences with your conduct in the use of your property.

HE: Ah! Really?

BARR. OJULARI: Yes, because any person who feels that his right has been deprived, or has been wronged by the action of another person can approach a court of competent jurisdiction to seek relief (3).

HE: So, that means that I am the one at fault, right?

BARR. OJULARI: (giggles widely) The law made it mandatory that a person should not use his own comfort to disturb the comfort of another person. In fact, “a balance has to be maintained between the right of the occupier to do what he likes with his own property and the right of the neighbour, not to be interfered with.”(4). That is the position of the law as regards this matter.

HE: So, do you mean he could have sued me to court for merely blaring music for my enjoyment at my leisure time of the night?

BARR. OJULARI: In as much as your conduct has affected a class of people, and it is material (5), and the claimant can prove to the court that he has suffered special damages far and above any other person (6), of course he can sue you and plead to the court to award serious damages against you.

HE: Ah! But he also hoots loudly whenever he wants to call the attention of his children to open entrance gate for him anytime he wants to drive in, and I have never complained.

BARR. OJULARI: This claim lacks in merrit to have the same weigh has your misconduct against him. In fact, ‘affairs of life is in advanced neighborhood cannot be carried on without mutual sacrifices'(7)

HE: What would you advise me to do now, I’m totally confused. I don’t want to be dragged to court.

BARR. OJULARI: If you must listen to your music, on your own land, in your own house that you built with your own money, it will be reasonable to listen to it in the lowest audible volume that won’t affect your neighbours. Better still, you can be listening to that music with headphone. However, you should apologise to that neighbour of yours with remorse and seek for forgiveness.

HE: The law!!! You have never disappointed me. I am very grateful that you have taught me this language of the law. I was here to blow hot, but I end up receiving lecture. Thank you the law. The car you are using is old, I will get you a new model before the weekend. Kindly collect this two hundred thousand naira token for your time and energy.

(Both of them burst into laughter as the man exits)

KEYWORDS:
[1]. Nuisance: Anything that disturbs the reasonable use of your property or endangers life and health or is offensive.
[2]. Chambers:Rooms used by a barrister or barristers, especially in the Inns of Court.
[3]. Temerity:Excessive confidence or boldness; audacity.
[4]. Locus Standi: The right or capacity to bring an action or to appear in a court.
[5] Jurisdiction: The authority of a court to hear and determine cases.

CITATIONS:
[1]. Abiola V Ijeoma
[2]. Tebite V Nigeria Marine Trading Company
[3]. Section 6 (6) (b) of the 1999 Constitition of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 2018
[4]. Per Lord Wright in Danfield V O’Callaghan
[5]. Rose V Miles
[6] Adeniran V Interland Transport
[7] Per Erle CJ in Kennaway V Thompson

Abdulrauf Abdullahi Adebayo is a Law Student, a Content Creator and a Writer. He can be reached with 09034904883, [email protected]

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