A Delta state High Court sitting at Akwukwu-Igbo, headquarters of Oshimili North local government area of the state
has ordered governor Ifeanyi Okowa from carrying on with the demolition of about 8,000 houses at Ogbeowele new layout in Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state.
The houses belonging to lawyers, civil servants, retirees, artisans, journalists, unions, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Guest House, were billed for demolition by the Delta state government Task Force on Land Regularization and Reclamation inaugurated by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa four months ago.
The land, adjacent the budding Asaba International Airport, code-named Core Area IIA and B respectively, became a subject of controversy after former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan left office, forcing governor Okowa to imposed a payment of N1.5, N2 and N3 million respectively on land owners in the area, depending on the size of the land of individuals, before it was reduced by 50 per cent respectively by the Governor.
Irked by this, especially that government agents, led by a former Commissioner, now chairman of the Task Force, Mr. Frank Omare, kicked off demolition exercise last week, the Diokpa of Ogbeowele Quarters in Okpanam, Ogbueshi Fred Ogbogu and three others, dragged the state government to court.
Joined in the suit are the state’s Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Mr. Dan Okenyi, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr.Peter Mrakpor and the Task Force Committee.
The suit, filed on January 16, 2017 and marked Aku/1/2017, coupled with the Motion on Notice, dated February 13, 2017, sought an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants, by any form, from tampering with any house in the area.
Appearing in court on Monday, counsel to the complainants, C. C. Uwakina objected to an attempt by the counsel to the state government, Mrs. Onwochei, who sought the leave of court to be properly briefed about the matter.
But, the presiding judge, Justice Marcel Okoh restrained the state government, commissioner for Lands and Survey, Mr. Dan Okenyi, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr.Peter Mrakpor and the Task Force Committee from further demolition pending the determination of the suit and the case was adjourned till February 21 for further hearing.