Posted by Charles Onyekwere, Enugu | 24 August 2017 | 1,374 times
An Enugu High Court presided over by Justice H.O Eya has fixed September 25 for hearing in the suit asking it to restrain officials of the Enugu State Government from interfering on plot 66 located on Independence layout.
Joined in the suit No E/415/2016 filed by the children of the first Igbo medical doctor, late Dr Simeon Ezievuo Onwu, are the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s Special Adviser on Political Matters, Emeka Madu, and government developer, Mega Profil International.
The suit filed on behalf of the family by their counsel, Ifeanyi Okumah, is also asking for payment of the sum of N40 million as damages for the alleged trespass into the property where two bungalow buildings erected in the premises which had been maintained over the years were partly destroyed by government agents.
The family claimed that by building lease dated February 8, 1964, registered as No 8 at Page 8 of the Lands Registry at Enugu, the Government of Eastern Nigeria allocated plot 66 Independence layout, measuring 3,860.96 square yards to Dr Onwu who died in 1969.
They said their father developed the said property by building two bungalows before his death, adding that they (children) have been paying ground rents in respect of the property up to the year 2016 and were issued with receipts.
They had however noticed that unknown persons trespassed into the property and on their inquiry discovered that “it was the Enugu State Government who purportedly revoked the property in 1997”.
Perturbed by the development, they had instituted a suit No. E/255/2011 at the State High Court against the Attorney general and Commissioner of Lands and Housing and obtained an order of interlocutory injunction restraining them from forcefully interfering with the property.
The said based on the order, the state government through the then Commissioner for Lands, Dr Chukwuemeka Ujam, in a letter dated September 17, 2014 “annulled the revocation of the plot”.
They claimed that despite the order and the letter from the then Commissioner, officials of the present administration has continued to trespass on the land as evidenced few months ago when “workmen from the Mega Profil construction firm were seen at the site, who told us that they were engaged by Enugu state government to trespass into the property and demolish the two bungalow buildings thereon”.
Okumah narrated that to ward off further trespass; the family had engaged the services of their Cousin Damian Egodigwe to write a notice on the wall showing that the property belonged to late Dr Simeon Onwu.
“However in the process of writing the notice on June 20, 2016, he was arrested by some security men attached to the Enugu government and charged to court for alleged “conduct likely to cause a breach of peace by defacing the fence of the government house with Abro black spray paint”. Damian, he added was granted bail few days after.
He said that the incessant harassment of persons contracted to do jobs on the property by some government officials and the demolition of existing structures at the place was the responsible for the current suit.
Justice Eya adjourned the matter for “definite hearing” to enable the defendants counsel respond to fresh motion served on him.
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