7 suspected land speculators may cough out N60m as damages if found guilty

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7 suspected land speculators may cough out N60m as damages if found guilty

Nwabueze Okonkwo

Seven persons currently standing trial at an Ogidi High Court No. 3 in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State for allegedly embarking on multiple sales of some parcels of lands already sold to an Onitsha based importer, Chief Gilbert Bravo Obi at Obosi community also in Idemili North council area of the state may cough out a whooping sum of N60 million if found guilty at the end of their trial.

This followed a N60 million suit slammed against them by Obi, chairman of Board of Trustees of Importers Association of Nigeria. The suit is before Justice Irene Ndigwe.

Obi had dragged the defendants/respondents, Ebuka Obidozie, Chukwudi Ukpabi, Chinedu Okafor, Uchenna Orakpor, Obunike Obiokwu, Christian Eze (a.k.a. John White) and Chukwunwe Ibenwa to the court claiming a total sum of N60 million for both special and general damages.

The break down of amount showed that the plaintiff is claiming the sum of N30 million for special damages, while N20 million is for the cost of replacing the concrete survey beacons, wall fence and allied damages on the land, just as N10 million is for general damages.

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When the matter was mentioned yesterday, counsel to Obi, the plaintiff Mrs Franca Ogbuli tendered a letter from Chis Ifezue, a chartered surveyor dated May 20, 1992. to two prosecution witnesses (PW1 and PW2) Amechi Obiokwu and Chukwudi Obiokwu, asking them to refund the money they collected from someone else for the land as the land had already been sold to plaintiff, Obi.

The letter tendered by Ogbuli on behalf of the PW1 and PW2 read in part: “it has been now confirmed that the Land you are selling to us has been sold and acquired by Chief Gilbert Bravo Obi from Ozubulu. since 1978 by the late Obiokwu father of Okechukwu Obiokwu of Umuota village, Obosi in which he has already gotten a certificate of Occupancy (C of O) in 1983 as the rightful owner of the land

Lead counsel to the defendants, G. C. Igbokwe (SAN), objected to the letter tendered by Ogbuli on the ground that it is not admissible in evidence and urged the court not to admit it as a piece of evidence.

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Justice Ndigwe, however, overruled the defence counsel and admitted the documents from the two witnesses as Exhibits A and B. She, therefore, adjourned the matter to July 15, this year for further hearing.

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