Anambra state Chief Judge Accused of Land Grabbing

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..Gov’s ADC fingered in the deal

By Achadu Gabriel

An Onitsha based legal practitioner, Barrister Harold Ekwerekwu, has accused the Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Onochie Anyachebelu, of land grabbing.

Barr. Ekwerekwu has also described the action of the CJ as injustice personified, illegal and malicious damaged to his properties, by the judge and his cohorts in his support.

He alleged that the CJ Anyachebelu in connivance with some people invaded his property in Onitsha and pulled down his building which was under construction under the pretext that the land was earmarked for the construction of a new Judges Quarter.

A protest press release personally signed and made available to Saharareporters, the legal practitioner, said the Okposieke family of Onitsha, which he belonged, owns a vast land in Onitsha metropolis popularly called G.R.A., which was leased to the the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1910 for a period of 99 years.

Barrister Ekwerekwu noted that upon the expiration of the said lease agreement in 2009, the Federal Government in the same year surrendered various parts of the land to the original owners – Okposieke family.

“Part of the landed property surrendered as aforesaid are the premises respectively known as No. 6, now No. 10B, Residency Drive, G.R.A. Onitsha.

“Out of the blues, on the 18th day of January, 2021, the Chief Judge of Anambra State, accompanied by Chief Superintendent of Police, Chinedu, attached to the Governor of Anambra State as his ADC, and one Barrister Chike Madueke, went into where I was building, pulled down everything I had built thereon, claiming that the Federal Government of Nigeria had no right over any land in the entire Anambra State and could not have surrendered it to me.

“It is remarkable that on the said occasion, the said Chief Judge claimed that he had proposed constructing quarters for the Judges he intends to appoint in the future for the High Court of Anambra State,” Ekwerekwu said.

The legal practitioner wondered why his plot of land will be forcefully converted for the construction of a Judges Quarters by the CJ since there is an existing one occupied by retired Judges who ought to have moved out upon their retirement, describing the development as an abuse of office and power by the CJ.

“I call on all Nigerians to join me in calling the Chief Judge of Anambra State to order, lest his act, if unabated, would further lower the esteem of the already tainted image of the judiciary, to the extent that law keepers are now turning into law breakers,” Ekwerekwu added.
“Chief Judge on my plot of land? Why on earth would government scarce
resources be further dissipated on such ventures? Why on earth would the new
buildings be constructed on my land, with my interest with respect to same not revoked? And why should my own property be expropriated in such a despotic manner?”, he asked.
He stated “I will never concede to such manner of intimidation nor allow the said Chief judge muscle his way into making me to chicken out of asserting my right to my
said landed property.
“Perhaps, with a view to manipulating their end of coveting my said land in the
name of the Judiciary, they surreptitiously sought for and were granted an ex-parte order, which they are now using with a view to vilifying my fundamental right to own
property. Luckily, it was only to defend his indefensible action that the said Chief Judge gave me a copy of the said court order that was made 2019, ex-parte.
“As a judge, how the said Chief Judge was blinded to the extent that he entirely forgot that such an order was made ex-parte, as far back as
2019, would last forever, beats my imagination!”, It stated.

“Most embarrassingly, why couldn’t the said Chief Judge have raised queries why
such an order was never brought to my notice, and was it not crude enough that
the plaintiff in the said proceedings was named as “The Anambra State
Judiciary”, in which case, a judge of the same Anambra State Judiciary, on grounds of fair hearing, ought not preside over the matter, which was never the case.
“Clearly, it was a matter of a person presiding over his own case. Where else, in the entire civilized world can such a thing happen, except in Nigeria, and
everyone goes scot-free?

“Did it not occur to the same Chief Judge that it was
totally strange to law that such an ex-parte order could never have been granted at the instance of a non-juristic person, Anambra State Judiciary?
“It is most unprecedented, to say the least, for a court to issue an order in the name of a
judiciary, when it is elementary. Certainly, the Anambra State Judiciary is not a legal person, and is incapable of suing or being sued and incapable of owning landed property.
“I call on all Nigerians to join me in calling the Chief Judge of Anambra State to
order, lest his act, if unabated, would further lower esteem, the already tainted
image of the judiciary, to the extent that law keepers are now turning into law
breakers, for a stitch n time saves nine.
“It is most tragic, as this is a clear show of injustice personified, and abuse of
office and power of one who is naturally expected to be the last hope of the common man, a man of honour”, it states. End

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