Landlords and Land owners of the Imo power Layout located at Naze, Umudibia , Umuofocha Nekede in Owerri North LGA have warned Owerri Capital Development Authority and members of Incorporated Trustees of International Electronics , Electrical and Automobile Market Association ( INTEEAMARK) to stop further demolition of their properties at the layout.
The Landlords who stated this recently while taking journalists round the scene of the incident heartily appealed to Governor Hope Uzodimma to call the General Manager of OCDA to order from carrying out any further demolition of their properties at Power Layout Naze. The Landlords expressed their total disenchantment over the wantom destruction of their properties worth of millions by men of OCDA and INTEEAMARK describing such as an act of illegality which must not go unchallenged.
Speaking on behalf of the Landlords, Deacon Basil Amadi, an indigene of Umuofocha Nekede, narrated how the layout was allocated to them as customary land owners by the previous Government of Governor Rochas Okorocha.
“In 1982, the land was given to a group known as Incorporated Trustees of International Electronics, Electrical and Automobile Market Association (INTEEAMARK) by the government of Late Dr Sam Mbakwe. Due to leadership crisis, the group left the land forlon and undeveloped for many years turning it into a hideout for cult activities. In 2013, we wrote to the leadership of INTEEAMARK, to develop the land in other to stop all cult activities in that area, but they couldn’t. In 2014, we consulted Uloaku & partners as our Attorney in the release of the land who wrote to the state government through the Secretary to the state government on our behalf, pleading to the Government to reallocate the land to the customary owners for development, luckily, our appeal was granted through the Secretary to the state government and the land was revoked from INTEEAMARK for non- development, with all the allocation documents revoked. Some portions of the land were reallocated to artisans in the state for building of artisan market while the remaining part of the land was also reallocated to us as the customary owners ( Umuofocha, Nekede, Umuerim, Umuezuo Naze) as compensatory allocation with all the necessary compensatory allocation documents.”
According to Deacon Amadi, many of the landlords there were issued with statutory Certificate of Occupancy by the state government confirming them as the legal owners of the layout. Deacon Amadi added that on 3rd of February this year, to their greatest surprise, one Chief Ozoemena in company of some armed police men were seen measuring and sealing up the entire layout and later dropped a consent judgment from Imo State High Court Owerri ordering them to dismantle all the structures erected in the layout. According to Deacon Amadi
”This led us in taking immediate legal action by filing an application for stay of execution on the state high court against the said consent judgment.”
” While the application for stay of execution is still pending, on the early hours of Saturday 13th February, to our greatest surprise, two truck load of armed police men led by one Paschal Nwakamma from OCDA came and demolished our properties, both fences and other structures worth millions of naira”
Reacting on the said consent judgment against the landlords, Attorney to the Landlords in the release of the land, Mrs Grace Uloaku said that her clients were not aware of the pendency of the said suit with the number HOW/135/2018, until recently when the attention of her clients were drawn to the said consent judgment. She further pointed out that since her clients (the Landlords) were not joined or made parties to the said suit as the major interest group in the subject matter, that the consent judgment has no binding effect on them. She further confirmed that her clients have filed an application for stay of execution praying for the setting aside of the said consent judgment and hearing of the substitutive suit in merit.
Adding his voice, one of the landlords Mr Temple Eze wondered why the same Government that issued them compensatory allocation documents, building permit from OCDA and statutory Certificate of Occupancy which have not been revoked will turn back to begin to lay claim of the Same land. He said that Governor Uzodimma may not be aware of such heinous act and cannot toe such part of illegality. He appealed to the Governor on behalf of the Landlords to Intervene by calling those involve in such impunity to order.
However, all efforts made to get across to the OCDA GM proved abortive as his mobile lines were unavailable as at press time.