An Anambra High Court sitting in Otuocha in Anambra East local government area has ordered an interlocutory injunction restraining parties in the 102 years old land dispute in Nkwele Ezunaka in Oyi local government area of the state from entering into or erecting any structure on the said land pending the determination of the case.
The presiding judge, Justice M.N.Okonkwo also ordered the defendants to enter into a bond to pay damages to the respondents in the event of a wrongful exercise of the court’s directive.
The plaintiffs in the suit No OT/62/2026 are Ikechukwu Nnalue and 11 others for themselves and on behalf of all members of Ezinkwele village, Nkwele Ezunaka, while the defendants are Vincent Okafor and eight others from Umuoba, Amuche village in Nkwele Ezunaka, all in Oyi local government area of Anambra State.
Umuoba kindred had, in 1922 and 1928, obtained favourable judgment concerning the land against their neighbouring Umunya and Nteje communities and since then, had continued to make use of the land, which currently hosts many housing estates.
However, in 2013, one Francis Beluchukwu from Ezinkwele village led some people to trespass on the land, leading the death of one person and destruction of property worth millions of naira, prompting the people of Amuche village to petition the Inspector General of Police who directed the Anambra State police command to investigate the matter.
During the visit of policemen to the disputed land, thugs allegedly hired by Ezinkwele people chased them away.
At the resumed hearing of the case this month, Justice Okonkwo granted the interlocutory injunction restraining the parties and their agents or privies from entering, building or erecting structures in the land in dispute.
He also ordered the plaintiffs not to interfere with the defendants’ possessory rights over the land in dispute, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
Justice Okonkwo’s ruling read: “Upon this motion on notice brought pursuant to Order 39, Rule 8 and Order 40 Rule 1 of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the Honourable Court; and upon hearing O.N Okoro, the learned counsel for the 1st -7th defendants and CN. Asiegbu, the learned counsel for the plaintiffs, and after due consideration of the 65 paragraph affidavit in support of the application sworn to by Godwin Chukwuka Nonyelu and nine paragraph counter-affidavit, 109 paragraph of a further counter affidavit sworn to by Chief Wilfred Okafor, as well as written addresses, it is hereby ordered that:
* The application is hereby granted as prayed;
*The defendants are to enter into a bond to pay damages to the respondents in the event of a wrongful exercise of the court’s discretion in granting this application; and that
*Accelerated hearing of this suit is hereby ordered.”
He adjourned the case to 27th May 2021 for accelerated hearing.
A member of Amudo kindred, Mr Ikenna Okafor whose family was among those dragged to court regretted that people from their neighbouring village used the period of the COVID -19 lockdown to swoop on the disputed land during which they destroyed property belonging to tenants in the housing estates.
Vanguard News Nigeria