Joe Effiong, Uyo
The village head of Ifa Ikot Akpan in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Eteidung Edem Ebong has raised an alarm that despite the judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar, granting them the ownership of a parcel land, their neighbours in Ibiaku Ishiet in Uruan Local Government Area have still threatened to encroach and take over the said land.
The three justices at the Court of Appeal had in a unanimous decision, in the case with Appeal No: CA/A/324/2019, upheld the appeal filed by the Ifa Ikot Akpan village against the judgment of an Uyo High Court presided over by Justice Charles Ikpe, which had dismissed their claims to the ownership of the disputed land.
Delivering the lead judgment on October 30, 2020, Justice Haruna Adamu, concurred by Justice Mojeed Owoape and Justice Hamma Barka, had accepted the submission of the appellant’s counsel that there was no basis for the trial court to have rejected the piece of evidence which sought to establish the fact that the seasonal stream known as Idim Uduok remained the natural boundary between Ifa Ikot Akpan and Ibiaku Ishiet.
The justices of the Court of Appeal resolved that Justice Charles Ikpe erred because he rejected the document tendered which was not objected to and countered by the defendants in an effort to disapprove it throughout the period of the trial.
Apart from setting aside the trial court judgment, justice Hamman Barka further granted the appellants reliefs as prayed, which for the avoidance of doubt, declared that all that parcel of land described in the appeal including Keke motor park, an area which served as burrow pit together with its appurtenances and situated at Ifa Ikot Akpan Village, Etoi, Uyo LGA, belongs to the claimants.
The justice further declared that the defendants’ entry through agents, privies, assigns into the claimants’ said Keke motor park, to ask and collect monies and revenues from users of the part, constituted extortion, illegal and unlawful trespass.
The court awarded N10 million general damages to the appellants for loss of t=revenue, destruction and trespass, as well as placed an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents and assigns from a further act of trespass and or extortion from the Keke park.
However, the village head said after the judgment that he has evidence of plots by the defendants (Ibiaku Ishiet) to invade his community to stop the effective occupation of the land declared by the Court of Appeal; and that he has taken steps to expose those behind it to security agencies and the court.