The family of an Anambra State-based lawyer, Harold Ekwerekwu, has accused the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Onochie Anyachebelu, of illegally acquiring their family land for personal gains.
The family accused the Chief Judge of unjustly issuing an ex parte order to demolish the building on the family land.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, Ekwerekwu said the disputed land sited in Onitsha metropolis, popularly called G.R.A., was leased to the Nigerian government in 1910 for a period of 99 years by the family and the government.
He said the land was returned to the family after the expiration of the lease agreement.
According to the Deed of Surrender of Leasehold sighted by SaharaReporters, the Nigerian government, through the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, confirmed the lease and directed the Anambra State Federal Controller of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to “ensure a harmonious and hitch-free surrender”.
Meanwhile, the lawyer noted that despite the agreement, the Chief Judge accompanied some police officers and brought in heavy duty machines to demolish buildings on the land.
“Part of the landed property surrendered as aforesaid are the premises respectively known as No. 6, now No. 10B, Residency Drive, G.R.A. Onitsha.
“Out of the blues, on the 18th day of January, 2021, the Chief Judge of Anambra State, accompanied by Chief Superintendent of Police, Chinedu, attached to the Governor of Anambra State as his ADC (aide-de-camp), and one Barrister Chike Madueke, went into where I was building, pulled down everything I had built thereon, claiming that the Federal Government of Nigeria had no right over any land in the entire Anambra State and could not have surrendered it to me.
“It is remarkable that on the said occasion, the said Chief Judge claimed that he had proposed constructing quarters for the Judges he intends to appoint in the future for the High Court of Anambra State,” Ekwerekwu said.
The legal practitioner questioned why his family land would be forcefully converted for the construction of Judges Quarters by the CJ when there is an existing one.
The Chief Justice, however, denied the allegation as he challenged the family to prove they are the rightful owner of the land.
“He (Ekwerekwu) is a lawyer, he knows the procedure. Let him go anywhere he wants to prove that the land belongs to him. We are waiting for his petition,” Justice Anyachebelu said.