Scores of occupants of Think home Estate, Government Reserved Area, Awka, Anambra State were on Friday rendered homeless following demolition of their buildings said to be erected without approval.
The victims who are currently counting their losses, reportedly put up the structures with disregard to court order over 21 year old land dispute.
The demolition of over 20 houses, including upstairs, church and other structures followed conclusion of the lingering legal battle between them and one Chief Jude Osude, his Bekilo Farms Ltd.
The Daily Vendor gathered that certain individuals, sometime in 2004, trespassed into the land and started disturbing the peaceful occupation of the said land by his company and Bekilo Poultry Farms in a Suit NO: A/108/2004 dragged one of them, Lady Okafor’s husband who later dissociated himself from the subject matter in the case.
The judgment was entered at the High Court in favour of Lady Okafor, while Jude Osude and his Bekilo Poultry Farms, not satisfied, approached Court of Appeal and the judgement was in their favour.
The Appealate court in the judgement delivered on the 17/12/2014 noted that the land grabbers connived with some unscrupulous individuals in the state ministry of lands using their position to disposes rightful land owners their properties without valid allocation papers or certificate of occupancy.
The appeal judgment was delivered by Justice Fredrick Oziakpono, which state government was also joined as parties lost out while by Chief Osude and his company, Bekilo Poultry and Agriculture Farms (WA) Ltd succeeded.
Oziakpono in his judgement on the consolidated Appeal in Appeal NO:CA/AW/192/2018; Hon. Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, Anambra state and Lady Egosonwa Okafor; vs Chief Jude Osude and Bekilo Poultry and Agricultural Farms (WA) Ltd Anambra said the government could not prove that it actually revoke Certificate of Occupancy issued to Chief Osude and Bekilo Farms .
The judge said that the state government, which allocated or granted the land in dispute to Bekilo Poultry and Agriculture Farms, subsequently, issued a Certificate of Occupancy to it cannot revoke the said Certificate of Occupancy issued or granted to his company by mere intention.
According to the Appealate Court, it is settled position of the law that a Notice, simpliciter merely constitutes an intention on the part of the government to acquire or revoke the interests in the land and does not vest until the Notices of acquisition is served on the owners under Section 28 and 44 of the said Land Use Act, Cap L 5 of the laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Following the appeal court judgment, Chief Osude and his company, Bekilo Poultry and Agriculture Farms moved in and commenced demolition of all the buildings and structures erected in the estate, reducing it to plain farm land.