Court adjourns Lake Petroleum right case against Anambra Govt to July 12

The Fundamental Right Suit filed by Lake Petroleum Limited,  against Anambra State Government, has again been adjourned to Friday July 12, 2024 for hearing.

Lake Petroleum Limited, a victim of the Onitsha South Local Government authority demolition of shops at Niger Street Onitsha, said it lost over 863 shops and 27 Sand dredgers pits it rented to tenants following the demolition

Following the demolition and alleged take over Ndende Land, which accommodates all the demolished property, Lake Petroleum Limited dragged Anambra State Government to Federal High Court Awka, to seek redress in the Suit No: FHC/AWK/CS/75/2024.

When the case was called up on Thursday, June 13, 2024, the matter could not be heard by the presiding Judge Honourable Justice Yilwa Haswu Joseph, because the Respondent lawyer T.C Ikenna, a Director in Anambra State Ministry of Justice, represented by a lawyer ROM the Ministry, claimed that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents, have not been served with the originating summon.

However, counsel to the Applicant, Oghenekome Sinbad Akegor, from the Law Firm of  G.E. Ezeuko, SAN, and Co., stoutly objected to the claim and told the court that they have served all the Respondents in the case all the processes through their Secretaries, except the 4th Respondent, the Inspectir General of Police who was served through the Legal Department of the Nigerian Police, Anambra State Command Awka Anambra State.

The argument between the lawyers to the parties in the case, made the Presiding Judge Justice Joseph to call for the Court File to check by herself the authenticity of the claims the lawyers.

The judge however discovered that contrary to the claim by the Respondent counsel that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents have not been served with originating motion, that it was only the 2nd and 3rd Respondents, that were not served the Originating Motion but stated that from the Court file Emeka Orji have been served, with Form 48, Notice of Consequences of Disobedience to the Court.

She therefore, said that she wants is a situation where all the necessary cort processes are served to all the parties involved in the case for fairness and therefore adjourned the case for hearing to July 12, 2024.

Meanwhile, Counsel to the Applicant Mr Akegor, has expressed confidence that no matter any  subterfuge that will be employed by any of the parties to delay the matter that the Court will able to handle it and ensure that justice is done in the case.

“We believe that any party that will delay in this matter, the court will be able to see the subterfuge that will be employed by any of the parties do delay the matter, and still surmount the pranks and deliver justice in the matter.

“What transpired in the Court is that we were ready to proceed with the originating motion and adopt the processes so that the Court can adjourn for judgement.

However, the counsel to the 1st to 3rd Respondents stated that they were not served the originating processes which is not the correct position and we had insisted that we served them, but the Honourable Judge looking at her records discovered that there was no service of the Originating Motion on the 2nd and 3rd Respondents.

“We are sure that, that might have been a slip probably on the part of the Baliff for not putting the the prooff of services there, we are confident that the issues with respect to the services will be addressed before the next adjourned date and we will be able to proceed and get this matter to be determined to finality.

“We believe that if they want to delay, we are very confident that in this Honourable Court will not allow that. We are very confident that the court will give us Justice, we believe that the court will be able to see through the subterfuge councils representing the parties will want to employ in order to make sure that the court does not deliver justice timely. We have confidence in this court that this court will give us justice timely as at when due.

“It is left for the state government to come and tell the Court whether what they have done is legal or not. We have challanged their act, we challenged their actions and they are inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution which grants the Applicant,  Lake Petroleum Limited the right to acquire and own property both movable and immovable in anywhere in the country.”

It will be recalled that a Federal High Court sitting in Awka, the Anambra State capital, has adjourned to Thursday June 13, 2024, for hearing on a Fundamental Right action filed by Lake Petroleum Limited, against Anambra State Government, the Attorney General of Anambra State and Emeka Orji, who is the Chairman Caretaker Committee, Onitsha South Local Government Area, Anambra State and the Inspector General of Police.

The Court had upon the Motion Exparte dated 19th day of March, 2024 given an Order of Interim Injunction restraining the Respondent by themselves, agents privies, cronies from further invasion, entering, ejecting, demolition and sealing off and stationing armed thugs and Policemen on the landed property known as Ndende land situate along Niger Street, Onitsha South Local Government Area Anambra State covered by Building Certificate of Occupancy Issued in the name of the Applicant, Lake Petroleum Limited, and from further denying the Applicant its staff and tenants access or entry into the said land to carry out their daily legitimate businesses pending the determination of the Substantive Motion for Enforcement of the Applicants Fundamental Right to own immovable property in Nigeria.

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