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Court orders EFCC, retired soldier to maintain status quo in disputed property


A Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered that a status quo be maintained in a suit filed by Mr. Jude Chizoba against Major General Christian Ugwu (rtd) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

Trial judge, Abimbola Awogboro, made the order following an oral application by counsel to the applicant, Emeka Okpokpo (SAN).

The learned silk had orally informed the court that the respondents are still pushing and expecting that the applicant must drop the original copy of the property, which is the subject of investigation at the federal high court.

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made that status quo be maintained pending the hearing and determination of this suit.

“That this case is adjourned till the 7th day of March, 2022 for definite hearing and hearing notice be issued and served on the respondents,” Justice Awogboro ordered.

The applicant, a businessman, had filed the fundamental right enforcement suit, seeking to stop the 2nd respondent from further harassing, arresting or detaining him over a civil matter it has no jurisdiction to meddle into.

In an affidavit deposed to by Chizoba, he averred that he bought six plots of land (600, 601 and 602) lying, being and situate at Okota Family Estate, Okota in Oshodi, Isolo, Lagos measuring 1995.964 square metres from the Lagos State Government. He swore that he regularized his title and paid all requisite fees.

“All the title documents were duly filed with the Task Force including the Certificate of Occupancy duly registered as No 60, at Page 60, Volume 2016c dated 3rd April, 2016 at the Land Registry Office, Ikeja.

“The Applicant states that sometime in 2018, he noticed some development was about to start on the land without his authorisation, as he never sold or leased same to anyone. Upon his investigation he was told that it was the 1st respondent who was constructing on the land,” he swore.

He added that he wrote a petition to the DPO Ago Palace Way, Okota, on noticing the trespass, but the Police did nothing to stop the “illegal” development. According to the deponent, the taskforce invited the 1st respondent, who appeared with soldiers and threatened to deal with him. The 1st respondent, he said, promised to bring his documents to the land, but never showed up again.

The applicant said, having failed to restrain the 1st respondent from building on the land, he filed a suit at the Lagos High Court.

While the case is pending at the state high court, the applicant said he was invited by the 2nd respondents at the instance of the 1st respondent, adding that the 2nd respondent detained him for hours and attempted to force him surrender the original copies of the property to them.

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