Adebajo v Adebajo (1973) All NLR 297 their Lordships of the apex court per Elias CJN took great care to define quite clearly where the Onus of proof lies in a probate action. At page 312 his Lordship held and laid the onus: “Squarely on the proponents of the will and examined their evidence and their witnesses with jealous scrutiny in order to ensure that all allegations about suspicious circumstances are considered in an attempt to clear the conscience of the court. It was only after satisfying himself that the defence has discharged this onus that the learned Chief Justice returned to examine the challenger’s evidence which he found insufficient to sustain the claim that the deceased did not at the time of making the will know and approve its contents.”
It is incumbent on the propounder of a will once the will is being challenged to establish its regularity. But once the court is satisfied prima facie of the regularity of the will, the burden of proof shifts to the party challenging the will – see Eyo v. Inyang (2001) 8 N.W.L.R. (pt. 715) 304, Okelola vs Boyle (1998) 2 N.W.L.R. (pt. 539) 533. Amu vs. Amu (2007) 7 N.W.L.R. (pt. 663) 164.
— R.C. Agbo, JCA. Ize-Iyamu v Alonge & Ors. (2007) – CA/L/184/03