Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
Farmers from Umuezeoka, Umuoghara, and Okaleru communities in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State have dragged the Attorney General of the state and the state House of Assembly to court over the state government’s takeover of their land for the purposes of building an airport allegedly in a manner inconsistent with the relevant laws of the country.
The suit which was filed at the Federal High Court, Abakaliki has Mr Nwantiti Eze, Mr Oken Stephen, and four others as applicants while the Attorney General of Ebonyi State and Ebonyi State House of Assembly are the respondents.
The counsel to the plaintiffs who sued for themselves and as representing some other members of the communities, Mr Gerald Abonyi, sought declaration on behalf of his clients that the alleged “current and persistent destructions, demolitions, and uprooting of dwelling houses, farmlands” and others without palliatives or compensation and in a manner inconsistent with the constitutional provisions went ultra vires to the law.
The plaintiffs also sought a compensation of N2 billion against the respondents and their principals as damages for the untold hardship which the actions of the defendants and their principals have allegedly caused them.
“The sum of N2 billion against the respondents as damages for the untold hardships, starvation, sufferings, and death perpetrated against the applicants and their community members by the insidious, inhuman, and obnoxious conducts of the respondents and their principal, agents, privies, and proxies,” they prayed.
When the matter came up for hearing, the respondents were not present and were not represented by any lawyer.
Given their absence, the matter was adjourned to November 11, 2019, by the presiding judge, Justice Phoebe Ayua. She ordered that the hearing should be served on the respondents.