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Nsumide/Ada Oru Land Dispute: Court Grants Joinder Application As Counsels Speak Out On Disputed Land

A High Court in Port-Harcourt sat over the Nsumide/Ada Oru land dispute on Wednesday 11 March and granted application for joinder by an interested party.

The motion was brought by Donald Atogbo, counsel to Eauston Solutions and Properties Ltd who prayed the court to join his clients as a party in the suit.

Presiding judge, Honourable Justice S. H. Aprioku, granted the motion after counsels said they were not opposed to the application and joined Atogbo as counsel for the fourth set of defendants in the suit over the disputed land on the Tam David West Boulevard.

The judge thereafter adjourned to 30 March when all pending applications before the court are to be heard.

In an interview, counsel to Eauston Solutions and Properties Ltd, Donald Atogbo, said that his clients who are into property bought portions of the disputed land from third set of defendants who are a set of families in Mbodo Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.

He said that his clients are in court to defend the portions of land they bought “knowing that some persons are trying to now claim ownership of the land in dispute”.

He said apart from claimants who claim ownership of the disputed land, every other party in the suit claims “certain portion” of the disputed land.

Atogbo said: “On the side of the defendants, none is claiming what another defendant is claiming. Each defendant is claiming part of the land which they bought. So all the defendants are on the same page apart from the claimant who is claiming to own all but all the defendants have several portions belonging to them”.

The claimants in the case who took the matter to court are 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.

Speaking in an interview, the counsel for the claimants, Collins Dike, said the land in dispute belong to the Amaewhule family.

He said that his clients are asking for an order of court to restrain the defendants “from continuing to trespass on their land”.

Dike said his clients are not asking for ownership of the land because “issue of ownership had already been decided by the Ogbakor Ikwerre Council in favour of the Amaewhule family to which Mr Fabulous belongs”.

Also speaking, the counsel for the first set of defendants, Barrister Ihunwor Kingsley, said that his clients are boundary neighbours to the claimants and alleged that the claimants “entered into,not only their own part (of the land) but also part of our own land and sold the entire land and it's unfortunate that they didn't even know their boundary neighbours at the edge of it because they are not owners within that area”.

According to him, the first set of defendants are of the Rumuawhoechor family in Rumukini in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.

Meanwhile, there's a standing order restraining the claimants and defendants from trespassing on the disputed land pending the determination of a motion on notice.

Presiding judge of the court, Honourable Justice S.H. Aprioku made the order at a court previous hearing after counsel to the second set of defendants, Patrice Ukposi, had prayed the court to maintain status quo by an order to restrain claimants from further trespassing on the disputed land.

He said the claimants were working on the disputed land with police allegedly giving them protection and asked the court to intervene.

He said that the status quo should be maintained pending the determination of his motion on notice.

The second set of defendants in the suit are Mr Independence Enyidah, Mr Victor Ossai, Dr. Moses Bakpo and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic branch.

Ukposi had said that his clients bought the land in dispute from Omuchinwo Group of Families in Mbodo Community, Aluu in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.

He said his clients took possession of the acquired land for more than five years before the claimants trespassed on it and claimed ownership, saying that they “disrupted” developmental plans of his clients when they did.