Re: Billionaire Arthur Eze using Nigerian Police to Terrorose My Home town
‘UKPO AND ABBA LAND DISPUTE: She Deceptively Lied – What a Shame!!!’
CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE IN VIEW.
Ukpo, Ukwulu and Abba are neighbouring communities sharing common boundaries. Attempts to delineate these boundaries have resulted in a long legal battle between these communities. Recently, the Supreme Court resolved the matter in favour of Ukpo and Ukwulu communities. And instead of abiding by the orders of the apex court, Abba community took recourse to brigandage, propaganda and deception with a view to steer further conflict and possible bloodshed.
We, the people of Ukpo Community in view of the happenstances, lies and falsehoods been peddled, published and scattered all over the media by some persons from Abba community, wish to put the records straight by stating the true position of the Ukpo, Ukwulu and Abba protracted land dispute.
ORIGIN OF ABBA PEOPLE (ABRIDGED)
Abba people came from Ichida in present Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State – see the brochure of Igwe Abba’s Ofala 2018.
They were hired as mercenary warriors and were defeated in inter-communal war. Dunukofia brothers working in synergy defeated them and took them as captives. Ukpo spared their own share of the war captives (Abba) and gave them the present land which they occupy. This was based on an understanding that they will remain subservient, obedient and continue to provide them (Ukpo) with good palm wine because they were known to be good wine tappers.
As was customary, they took oath never to take or annex any portion of Ukpo land beyond the area allowed them. It was not long before greed and covetousness, discontent and selfish aggrandisement moved them into encroachment of their benefactors’ land in utter disregard to their initial understanding.
THE LAND DISPUTE
Abba is a community in Njikoka L.G.A of Anambra State. They sued Ukwulu, a community in Dunukofia L.G.A of Anambra State through their representatives. Thereafter, Abba became the Plaintiffs while Ukwulu became the 1st sets of Defendants.
In the matter, Abba claimed amongst other parcels of land, the entire Akpu village and part of Oranto village belonging to Ukpo another community in Dunukofia L.G.A of Anambra State. Dissatisfied with the above Ukpo applied to be joined & was joined as the 2nd set of Defendants.
On the 12/11/1999, the Anambra State High Court presided over by his Lordship Rtd. Hon. Justice Obiora Nwazota (the then C.J of the State) in consolidated suits No’s. AA/53/75 and AA/11/77 granted declaration of title to the disputed land in favour of the 1st and 2nd sets of Defendants (i.e Ukwulu & Ukpo).
Dissatisfied with the above judgment, Abba community (Plaintiffs and now Appellants by virtue of this appeal) on the 18th of November, 1999, filed a notice of Appeal against the said judgment at the Court of Appeal Enugu Division. Incidentally on the 14/12/2000, they secured an order of Stay of Execution against the Judgment of 12/11/1999. Hence, they mischievously failed to take steps to transmit the Records of Appeal until prompted by the 1st Set of Respondents (i.e Ukwulu community) before they reluctantly took steps to transmit the record in 2004 (almost 4 years after filing Notice of Appeal).
Thereafter, all efforts made by the registrar of the court to transmit the said records failed as the records were said to be missing from archives.
Consequently, the 2nd sets of Defendants now 2nd sets of Respondents (i.e. Ukpo community) petitioned the then Chief Judge of Anambra State and a Judicial Panel headed by Hon. Justice P.A.C Obidigwe was set up to carry out an enquiry with respect to the missing Court’s records in the consolidated suits No’s. AA/53/75 and AA/11/77. After an elaborate enquiry, the panel on 15/12/2006 released her findings wherein Abba community was said to have questions to answer over the said missing court’s records.
In their desperate bid to achieve their devilish intention of denying Ukwulu & Ukpo communities, the benefits of the above High Court judgment, Abba community filed a motion at the Court of Appeal seeking an order directing the then C.J. Anambra State to have the above matter reassigned to another Court for trial de novo (afresh).
However, on 27/6/2016 the said motion was struck out in favour of Ukwulu & Ukpo communities, on the ground that the appeal had not been entered in the registry of the court. Similarly, the Appeal No CA/E/30/2009 filed by Abba community was dismissed for failure to compile and transmit the records of appeal to Court of Appeal.
Dissatisfied with the Court of Appeal Judgment delivered on the 27/6/2016 Abba community appealed against the said judgment in Motion No Sc/115/2009 on the ground (Among other grounds) that they were not given fair hearing at the Court of Appeal. The appeal was allowed by Supreme Court which reinstated it in Court of Appeal.
On their second missionary journey at the Court of Appeal, the court on the 11/7/2017 resolved all issues canvassed by Abba community in favour of Ukwulu & Ukpo communities and dismissed the appeal –CA/E/86/2012- filled by Abba community. The court also vacated the order of stay of execution granted to Abba community against the judgment of the High Court delivered on 12/11/1999 and further granted warrant of possession over the disputed land to Ukwulu & Ukpo communities.
Dissatisfied with the above decision of the Court of Appeal, Abba community went to Supreme Court and four Issues for determination were raised:
1. Whether the Plaintiffs/Appellants (Abba community) were given fair hearing at the court of Appeal?
2. Whether Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to set aside the order of Stay of Execution granted by the trial Court on the 14/12/2000 against the judgment of the trial court delivered on 12/11/1999?
3. Whether it is the duty of the Plaintiffs/Appellants to compile and transmit the records of appeal to Court of Appeal?
4. Whether the Court of Appeal acted in error by relying on order 8 of Court of Appeal Rules 2011 in placing the burden of compiling and transmitting the record of appeal on the Plaintiffs/Appellants?
THE SUPREME COURT VERDICT
The Supreme Court via its judgment delivered on 15/2/2019 by Hon. Justice Paul Adamu Galinje resolved all the above issues against the Plaintiffs/Appellants and dismissed their (Abba community) Appeal. The said Judgment is now reported in Nwora V. Nwabueze (2019) 7 NWLR (Pt. 1670) Pp. 1-39.
Note, neither the Plaintiffs/Appellants (Abba community) nor the 1st sets & 2nd sets of the Defendants/Respondents (Ukwulu & Ukpo communities) raised the issue of Trial De Novo at the Apex Court as such that was not part of the issues for determination before the Supreme Court. Therefore, any statement relating to that (Trial De Novo) made by the Court is statement made by the way, and as such is an obiter dictum which has no legal consequences or precedent value and of no binding effect. It is the ratio decidendi which has the binding effect.
Abba community ought to know that Supreme Court is not a Father Christmas or a Philanthropist whose nature is to dole out gifts even when not solicited for. It is elementary that reliefs not sort by litigants cannot be granted by any court.
PRINCE ENGR. ARTHUR EZE’S PEACE MOVES
Prince Engr. Arthur Eze in his benevolence, kind and Philanthropist nature engineered several peace meetings between Ukpo, Ukwulu and Abba communities wherein he sincerely pleaded with Ukpo and Ukwulu communities to (despite the fact that the Supreme Court Judgment over the said land is in the favour of Ukpo and Ukwulu) concede some Parcels of land from the disputed land to Abba community. He (Prince Engr. Arthur Eze) firmly condemned “Winner Take all Syndrome” and further offered to give huge princely sum of money to each of the three disputing communities for peace to reign amongst them.
Regrettably, Abba Community rejected the above laudable peace initiative of Prince Engr. Arthur Eze and threatened to deal ruthlessly with any Ukpo or Ukwulu person found on the said land or within Abba Community. An indigene of Ukpo, Mr. Udoka Igbom on the 19th day of June, 2019, was to become a victim of Abba Community’s desperation to arrogate that to itself what does not belong to them. We have petitioned the IGP with regards to the attempted murder of our son (Mr. Udoka Igbom) by some hoodlums from Abba Community.
Prince Engr. Arthur Eze by his noble roles in ensuring lasting peace amongst the communities deserves sincere commendations and not vilification and unnecessary name calling by some Abba war mongers.
Recall that the said High Court Judgment delivered on 12/11/1999, by his lordship Obiora Nwazota (the then CJ of the state) in consolidated suits No’s. AA/53/75 & AA/11/77 which granted declaration of title to the disputed land in favour of Ukwulu & Ukpo Communities against Abba Community is validly subsisting and binding.
The law is that a judgment of a Court remains binding and valid unless and until it is set aside by a competent Court of law. See Central Bank of Nigeria & Anor. v. Olayato Aribo (2018) 4 NWLR (Pt.1608) 130 at 156 per Kekere-Ekun, JSC.
In firm support thereof, the Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeal was right in setting aside the order of stay of execution granted by the trial Court on the 14/12/2000 against the High Court judgment delivered on 12/11/1999.
That being the true position, the judgment creditors (Ukpo & Ukwulu communities) are legally entitled to seek the enforcement of the said judgment given that the order of stay of execution against it has been set aside by the Supreme Court.
In view of the above Supreme Court Judgment, Warrant of Possession was granted to Ukwulu & Ukpo Communities with respect to the said disputed land and same has been duly served on Abba Community.
It is pertinent to state that in a Peace Meeting between Ukpo & Abba Community before the CP Anambra State Mr. Dandaura Mustapha the Igwe, the President General and also the counsels to Abba community all promised to warn their people (Abba Community) to stay clear of the land once Warrant of Possession is granted to Ukwulu & Ukpo Communities and same served on them (Abba community).
This has been done and all legal requirements met. Yet Abba Community still ferments trouble and violently resists the court bailiffs from enforcing the court judgment and the police from performing their constitutional duties.
Are Judgments of the Supreme Court meant to be obeyed or disobeyed?
Contrary to the trending falsehood by Abba people bordering on brutality by men of the Nigeria Police, the police has been diligently performing their constitutional duty in line with court judgments without being influenced by anyone. No one from Abba community has been harassed, intimidated or chastised by men of the Nigeria Police over the said land dispute between Ukpo, Ukwulu and Abba communities.
Ukpo is a peace loving and law abiding community, we don’t resort to violence in settling disputes. We have been patient since 1999 when the first judgment was delivered in our favour and after 20 years, the Apex Court resolved same in our favour.
Why should Abba community be allowed to violently deprive us the benefits of these judgments?
We respect and will always defend the dignity of human life.
Dated this 20th day of September 2019.
BY: Factual News Agency of Anambra State