Owners of property adjacent to the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu that were demolished recently by one John J. Emejulu have cried out to the Federal Government to come to their rescue.
The landlords, who narrated their ugly experience to newsmen, yesterday, said Emejulu led armed thugs to destroy their property, saying the thugs also carted some of their belongings. They also alleged that he made monetary demands from them.
They also alleged that Emejulu carried out the act, including the destruction of the concrete perimeter fence of the Enugu airport, purporting to be executing a court order he “mischievously and surreptitiously obtained in 2020 against a subsisting restraining order made in 2017 for stay of execution of the judgment of suit No. E/642/2016.”
The owners of the property maintained that Emejulu’s ulterior motive in surreptitiously obtaining another court in 2020 without disclosing to the court the existence of the motion on notice which made an interim order for maintenance of status quo (stay of execution) and which was adjourned for ruling, was a clear case of contempt of the order of the court and a deliberate act prejudicial to peace and order in the state and called for criminal prosecution.
Speaking on behalf of the landlords, , Mr. Basil Madueke, whose duplex was destroyed, said it was the third time the perpetrator came with armed thugs to demolish their property. Madueke who led newsmen round the affected structures, stressed that Emejulu’s level of intimidation and brutality were unbearable.
He claimed that Emejulu has been terrorising the neighbourhood claiming to be the rightful owner of the entire area, including the Enugu Airport land.
Madueke explained that he, like most other landlords, rightfully acquired their lands from Best Shelter Limited and have the necessary documents backing them up.
“This is the third time Mr. J. J Emejulu is destroying my property. I have all the evidence, both pictures and video, to back up my claims. So, I call upon the Federal Government to take immediate action because I demand that this very man should pay for the damage he has caused me and other affected landlords.”
Also narrating his experience, a tenant of one the affected buildings, Mr. Kingsley Obiora, said they woke up on that fateful day and were shocked to see touts pulling down the fence of their compound.
Another landlord, Mr. Joshua Akachukwu Otu, described the incident as embarrassing, as he acquired his property legally.
Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) has debunked Emejulu’s claim that his residence was arbitrarily pulled down, insisting that it acted in compliance with a subsisting court order, having been found to have been erected on waterway, which posed dangers to the lives and property of the entire neighbourhood.
Consequently, the development control agency made public the court order that authorised it “to demolish the respondent’s (Emejulu) illegal structure located at No. 23/24 Eziokwe Street, Community Estate, Enugu with code No. 003005835.”
The agency in seeking court authorisation, prayed the court for an order restraining the respondent from carrying out any such development at that location, and the court granted the application by motion ex-parte stating that “the applicant is authorised/directed to remove the respondent’s illegal structure located at No. 23/24 Eziokwe Street, Community Estate, Enugu with code No. 003005835.”
Chairman of ECTDA, Dr. Josef Onoh, while reacting to the allegation that the state government exercised revenge on Emejulu for demolishing about two-kilometre of perimetre fence at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, said it was not true.
Meanwhile, further enquiries revealed that the building’s marking for demolition predated the destruction of the Enugu airport fence as it showed July 8, 2020, nearly one month before the airport fence was brought down by Emejulu.