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Nsumide/Ada Oru Land Dispute: Presiding Judge Frowns On Use Of  Police To Harass Litigants

…Says He Won't Share Judicial Powers, As Court Decides Motions February 28

The presiding judge of a Port-Harcourt High Court has frowned on the use of police by parties in dispute.

Honourable Justice S.H. Aprioku, who expressed concern over police alleged involvement in Nsumide/Ada Oru land dispute at hearing on Friday, 14 February, said that he would not share “judicial powers” with the police and had appealed to counsels to advise their clients not to get police involved in proceedings of the court over the matter.

He said that the court will not “abdicate” its responsibilities to the police and asked the counsels  to bring forward survey plans of the disputed land.

He said at the end of the hearing on Friday he was adjourning the case to 28 February for “all pending motions to be determined”.

In the hearing, counsel to the claimants, C. C. Dike, had tried to bring motion to restrain defendants from using police to harass and arrest the claimants in the case.

He had also brought a motion for an amendment.

But counsel to the second set of defendants, Patrice Ukposi, said that the motion seeking an order to restrain second set of defendants from using the police to harass and arrest the claimants in the case was not ripe.

At the hearing were also counsels representing other parties who indicated they wanted to be joined in the suit.

Among others was Barrister Donald Atogo who also told the court his client seeks to be joined in the suit.

Atogo who made application to join Christo Solutions as party in the suit asked the court for an adjournment hoping his joinder application was granted so that he could prepare for defence.

In the hearing was also A. C. Nwosu who told the court he was representing a party who wanted to be joined in the suit.

The disputed land, according to counsel to second set of defendants, is on Tam David West Boulevard, and reports show the case was brought to court by the claimants, Mr Fabulous Amaewhule and others.

Justice Aprioku  restrained the claimants and all other parties from further trespassing on the disputed land pending determination of a motion on notice.

He made the restraining order after counsel to second set of defendants, Patrice Ukposi, prayed the court to maintain status quo by an order.

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

In an interview, Ukposi said the disputed land was sold to his clients by Omuchinwo Group of Families in Mbodo Community, Aluu in Ikwerre Local Government Area, of Rivers State.

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

Among the sets of defendants in the case are the second set of defendants and they include: Mr Independence Enyidah, Mr Victor Ossai, Dr. Moses Bakpo and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), in Capt Elechi Amadi Polytechnic.