N50b suit: FG’s lawyer warns Anambra State Government
Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 23 February 2017 | 1,673 times
•Prosecuting counsel Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
The N50 billion suit slammed by the Federal Government against the Anambra State Government has taken another dimension as the counsel to the Federal Government in the matter, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) has again, written the Attorney General (AG) of the state, asking him to call the State Government to order following the alleged unresponsive stance of the state government to the suit.
The Federal Government instituted the suit following the state government purported revocation of the 148.337 hectares of land at Amansea, Awka for Federal Government Sites and Services Scheme.
In the letter titled, ‘Re: Your continuous contempt of the proceedings in this case’, addressed to the Anambra AG and copied to his counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) and the Chief Registrar, Supreme Court of Nigeria, Abuja, Ozekhome recalled that he had on June 16, 2016 written the AG on the State Government’s continued acts of trespass on the land, the subject matter of the suit.
He noted that the plaintiff (Attorney General of the Federation) had on February 3, 2017 filed a better and further affidavit, highlighting the fact that notwithstanding the verbal wise counsel of the Supreme Court on June 9, 2016, that parties in the suit should desist from doing anything that would negatively affect the land in dispute, by maintaining the status quo, “the Anambra State government has wilfully, in defiance of the present proceedings, proceeded with more vigour and ferocity, to start carrying out construction work on the said land in dispute.”
Ozekhome also observed that when the case came up on February 13, 2017, for Ikpeazu’s application which contends that the apex court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the Federal Government’s suit, it was subsequently adjourned to 26th September, 2017.
He added: “However, before the adjournment, we raised before the Supreme Court, the issue of your Government's continuous defiance of the pendency of this case by going ahead to continue your construction works. The argument of your counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, was that the construction you are carrying out is not on our client's Site and Services Scheme, Amansea/Awka, but on an entirely different Amansea land. You know this is not true.
“We therefore countered that there is only one site in dispute, which all parties have already joined issues on, and that the site is the “Federal Government Site and Services Scheme, Amansea/Awka”. For the avoidance of doubt, and to enable you effectively advise your client (Anambra State Government), the construction that it is currently carrying on is right at the disputed land, as can be seen at the asterisked portions of the larger plan attached hereto.
“The Supreme Court again, today, in a verbal admonition and wise counsel, reiterated and reminded both parties and their counsel of the doctrine of ‘lis-penden’, to the effect that parties in a matter already before the Court should not do anything that would negatively affect or destroy the subject matter of the suit. The apex court emphasised that it was maintaining its earlier stance that as gentlemen, counsel to both the Plaintiff and the Defendant must live up to expectation, by ensuring that their clients do not do anything that will negatively affect the subject matter of the suit. The Supreme Court specifically reminded counsel on both sides of the operation of the doctrine of penden.”
“This letter is to update you on the grave danger of permitting your Government, Anambra State Government of Nigeria, from continuing any further construction works on the site, through profit-oriented private companies and entrepreneurs.
“We must emphasise to you also, the hallowed principle of “quic quid plantatur solo solo cedit” (which means “he who owns the land, owns everything thereon.”) This means that in the event that your Government still defies these two wise counsel and admonitions of the Supreme court and goes ahead with further construction works, and we later secure victory (as we shall, by God’s grace), the entire land and whatever structures that may have been constructed on the land will automatically revert to, and inure in, our client (Federal Government of Nigeria), as the rightful owner.
“The corollary consequence of this is that your government and its entrepreneurial partners and agents would have laboured in vain and built structures wholly for our client, the Federal Government of Nigeria. Please, advise your Government to immediately halt any further development of this land in dispute before the Supreme Court. We believe a word is enough for the wise.”