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Enugu airport road layout land dispute: Subscribers seek Buhari’s intervention

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Subscribers of phase 4 and 5 land, Airport Road Layout, Enugu, have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the land dispute and help them possess their plots, which they purchased from an Enugu-based Architect, Mr. John Emejulu.

In an open letter addressed to Mr President and signed by Mike Anayo Okpala and Mba Catherine Amuche, they alleged that the unending loggerheads between Emejulu and Enugu State government has denied them access to the landed property, which they purchased and paid in full.

To express their grievances in the letter dated September 28, 2020, the 193 landowners in the layout, majority of who are residing in Lagos, petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari; Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika; Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu.

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The landowners argued that about 40 of them bought land from Emejulu in Airport Road Layout before he got two separate Enugu State High Court judgments in his favour in 2015 and 2017. They said others came into the picture after the levying of execution by Enugu State High Court and issuance of certificate of possession to Emejulu following which about 25 duplexes were put up in the place.

They, however, claimed that they were informed by Emejulu of how the buildings were pulled down by the Chairman of Enugu East Local Government Area, Cornelius Nnaji, Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Edward Ubosi and Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi with about five commissioners on the premise that the buildings were erected on government’s land.

“Enugu State Government issued a C of O to one Empower Energy Ltd as the owner and developer of the land, but Arch. J. J. Emejulu petitioned IGP then and men of Police General Investigations Department in Area 10, which investigated the matter and confirmed the allegations to be true and they are about being prosecuted for malicious damage.

“Hon. Cornelius Nnaji, Hon. Edward Ubosi and three other state commissioners sold over 40 plots from the same Airport Road Layout Phase IV and V and that made our landlord to drag them to EFCC for financial crimes.

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“Buildings are standing there now and people are occupying them. These powerful politicians have been using government powers to be intimidating our landlord, Arc. J. J. Emejulu. The EFCC investigation report is there in PFU section of the EFCC Zonal office.”

The petition continued: “Our landlord, Arc. J. J. Emejulu reached out to Inspector General of Police about a year ago and complained to him how Hon. Cornelius Nnaji and accomplices had prevented him from enjoying the fruit of his judgment. The Inspector General of Police immediately put out a call to Cornelius Nnaji and asked him what was happening on the land.

“After their discussion, the IGP directed his Monitoring Unit to go and investigate the matter. The IGP’s men went to the layout and acted as the law stipulated by ensuring that all the imposters were sent away from the land.

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“Many of us at this stage of IGP’s involvement got interested and started buying plots of land from Arc. J.J. Emejulu. Empower Energy Ltd that was in charge when the layout was being delineated took out a court action against our landlord in suit No.E/094/2019.

“Also, Hon. Cornelius Nnaji that has been the brain behind all these evil machinations on seeing that Empower Energy Ltd had been thrown out of the layout also went to court against him claiming that the layouts belonged to his native, Nnaji family in suit No.E/9/2020.”

Meanwhile, at the start of COVID-19 pandemic, they re-entered the layout and started fencing off the entire land, claiming that Federal Airport Authority applied for extension of land and that a C of O has been issued to them.

“Being a law abiding citizen, our landlord went to court for an order of mandamus on Inspector General of Police and Enugu State Commissioner of Police, which was promptly granted. About 50 armed policemen were released to him for execution of the court order. He has been in possession of the said layout for three years now by virtue of certificate of possession issued to him.

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“As the execution of the court order was on, the governor brought in some Airforce men to derail the court execution. Even the Airforce men brought in by the Governor and Minister of Aviation are still there, preventing us from working on our respective plots and because of this, the police are helpless in doing the bidding of the court.

“Government has the right to take away any land but due process must be followed because many of us that bought plots legitimately should not be allowed to suffer unduly. In other words, adequate compensation should be paid to our landlord to enable him refund our monies to us,” the petition reads.

While calling on President Buhari to intervene on the matter, the petitioners urged him to call the Minister of Aviation to order.

“If Minister of Aviation is genuinely interested in the land, due process should be followed to enable us that bought from Arc. J.J. Emejulu recover our hard earned money and for him to have enough means to relocate. Justice delayed is justice denied.”

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