An Onitsha, Anambra State-based lawyer, Harold Ekwerekwu, has accused the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Onochie Anyachebelu, of land grabbing.
He alleged that CJ Anyachebelu in connivance with some people invaded his property in Onitsha last week Monday and pulled down his building which was under construction under the pretext that the land was earmarked for the construction of a new Judges Quarters.
But the CJ has denied the allegation in a phone interview with LEADERSHIP, saying the onus is on Barrister Ekwerekwu to prove that he is the rightful owner of the land in question.
“He (Harold Ekwerekwu) is a lawyer, he knows the procedure. Let him go to anywhere he wants to prove that the land belongs to him. We are waiting for his petition,” Justice Anyachebelu said.
Meanwhile, in a press release personally signed by the legal practitioner, he said the Okposieke family of Onitsha, which he belongs to, owns a vast land in Onitsha metropolis popularly called G.R.A., which was leased to the the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1910 for a period of 99 years.
Barrister Ekwerekwu noted that upon the expiration of the said lease agreement in 2009, the Federal Government in the same year surrendered various parts of the land to the original owners – Okposieke family.
“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, 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 wondered why his plot of land will be forcefully converted for the construction of a Judges Quarters by the CJ since there is an existing one occupied by retired Judges who ought to have moved out upon their retirement, describing the development as an abuse of office and power by the CJ.
“I call on all Nigerians to join me in calling the Chief Judge of Anambra State to order, lest his act, if unabated, would further lower the esteem of the already tainted image of the judiciary, to the extent that law keepers are now turning into law breakers,” Barrister Ekwerekwu added.