After series of proceedings, a Port-Harcourt High Court instructed claimants’ counsel in disputed case of land ownership to serve notice of discontinuance for two sets of defendants who would be leaving the case according to instruction given by the claimants to the counsel.
Presiding judge of the court, Hon. Justice S.H. Aprioku, gave the instruction on Thursday and also said that the counsel, Barr Collins Dike, should serve the notice on all parties.
The judge also said that the counsel should amend the processes within seven days and reflect the tenth set of defendants.
The two sets of defendants to be leaving the case include the sixth and ninth sets of defendants.
Speaking in an interview, the claimants’ counsel said that the decision to discontinue with the defendants was based on instruction by his clients saying that it was usually the claimants who discontinue participation of defendants in a case since they were suing except where they insist on going on with the case.
He however refused to say more why the decision was taken.
The judge had adjourned the case to January 25 for pretrial conference.
The case has first set to tenth sets of defendants.
The disputed land is on Tam David West Boulevard which is a stretch of road from the Port-Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa to Obiri Ikwerre Interchange.
The counsel for the second set of defendants, Barr Darlington Omereji, who stood in for his principal, Barr Patrice Ukposi, said that the case was first filed against the first set of defendants, saying that his clients filed to join the suit when they heard about the case.
According to him, his clients bought their part of the land from Omuchinwo group of families – the third set of defendants – saying that the Amaewhule family no longer had ownership of the land.
Ukposi also said in a previous interview that his clients took possession of the land for five years before it was allegedly trespassed upon by the claimants saying that their action disrupted the developmental plans of his clients.
The claimants include Mr Fabulous Amaewhule, Mr Oluchukwu Amaewhule and Mr Ezihuo Opara for themselves and as representatives of Mbodo Community, Aluu in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.
However, counsel to the claimants, Barr Dike, said in an interview that his clients were not asking for the ownership of the land since the issue of ownership had been settled in favour “of the Amaewhule family to which Mr Fabulous belongs”, saying that it was settled by the Ogbakor Ikwerre Council.
At the time he said that his clients were only asking for an order that would restrain the defendants from continuing to trespass on the disputed land.
There’s however a standing order by the court which restrains claimants and defendants from trespassing on the disputed land.
The second set of defendants include Mr Independence Enyidah, Mr Victor Ossai, Dr. Moses Bakpo and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) in Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic.
Lawyers representing the first set of defendants to the tenth set were in court on Thursday.