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How ‘Power Drunk’ Delta Govt Officials Defied Court Order, Demolished Medical Doctor’s Property Worth Millions

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…PDP leader fingererd
…property owner, Dr Orezimena cries out over threat to his life

Controversy is currently trailing Delta State Government after some officials from the State Ministry of Urban Renewal deployed bulldozers and mobile policemen to a private properties in Effurun and demolished two buildings worth millions of naira, despite a court order restraining them from doing so.

BIGPEN NIGERIA (https:bigpenngr.com) reports that the properties located at Airaboyi Close, off Jesus Is Lord Street off Refinery Road, Effurun in Uvwie, Delta State, were brought down on behest of a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who allegedly wants to use their compounds to create access road to his new building in the area.

It was gathered that one of the buildings that were forcefully demolished despite a subsisting court order belong to a medical practitioner, Dr. Prosper Orezimena and the other belong to a 70-year-old retiree, Pa. India Osanebi.

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Orezimena and Pa. Osanebi alleged that the officials aided by presence of mobile policemen in defiance of a court injunction, destroyed the two buildings allegedly on “instruction from above”, leaving them with heavy losses.

In a subsisting court order by the State High Court in Effurun seen by BIGPEN NIGERIA, the Ministry of Urban Renewal, Ministry of Land and Survey, the Attorney General of the State as well as Governor, were restrained from taking any action on the buildings.

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The order followed a suit brought by the aggrieved Landlords who had approached the court when they were first served the notice to vacate their homes.

The victims had through an experte motion dated and filed 22nd May, 24, at the Delta State High Court of Effurun, prayed the court amongst other things; “An order of interim injunction restraining the Defendants jointly and severally, their servants, agents, privies, or otherwise howsoever called from demolishing, pulling down, destroying or doing anything to the contrary to the interest of the Applicant with regard to the Applicant property at No. 1. Airaboyi Close, off Jesus is Lord Street off Refinery Road, Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria. Pending the Determination of the Motion on Notice.

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The presiding judge of State High Court 2 Effurun, Justice (Mrs.) R.D. Harriman, on Friday, 24th May, 2024, while granting the reliefs sorted by the applicants in Suit No: EHC/100/2024 between Dr Prosper Orezimena, Mr. India Osanebi and Ministry of Urban Renewal, Delta State; Ministry of Land & Survey, Delta State; Attorney General Delta State and Governor of Delta State as first, second, third and fourth defendants ordered the defendants not proceed with the planned demolition of the buildings.

Justice Harriman granted “an Order of interim injunction restraining the Defendants jointly and severally, their servants, agents, privies, or otherwise howsoever called from demolishing pulling down, destroying or doing anything to the contrary to the interest of the Applicant with regard to the Applicant property at No. 1. Airaboyi Close, off Jesus is Lord Street off Refinery Road, Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria. Pending the Determination of the Motion on Notice.”

But in defiance to the court order, the state government on June 20th, 2024 through the Ministry of Urban Renewal and Ministry of Land & Survey under alleged instigation of powerful party chieftain brought in bulldozers and pulled the buildings down, with occupants not given chance to move their belongings out.

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Giving a graphic details of the incident, Dr. Orezimena in a petition stated, “On January 16th 2024. I started the renovating of my property by changing outlook of the main building windows, doors, tiles, plumbering, and painting the old house to give it a new look.

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“On the 12th of February 2024, the Ministry of Urban Renewal (Town Planning Office) served me a Contravention Notices titled “Development within Warri/Effurun/Udu Declared Planning Area and also a notice requesting me to stop work.

“The only reason given by the Ministry is that I am renovating/amendment of existing building and gate house without obtaining approval from the Ministry of Urban Renewal. In order to comply with the demand notice, on 16th February 2024, my engineer took the architectural/structural drawing of the renovations and submitted it to Ministry of Urban Renewal for approval since the building was already having an approval plan since 2002.

“While we were waiting for approval for my renovation, on 14th May 2024, the Ministry of Urban Renewal served us a letter tagged as Reminder with title as Demolition Notice of illegal Development with Warri/Effurun/Udu Declared Planning Area.

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“We visit the Ministry office to know
what was happening but we were accosted with a very stiff opposition from the APO 1 (Samuel Atomatofa) and APO II (Akpomini O) that they have resolve of plans to demolish our building using political mights.

“We were further informed by the Ministry that there is a pending petition against us by one influential politician who is building a palatial country home beside who wants to use our property as access road.

“We sought and demanded to see and have copies of the petition from the Ministry but bluntly turned down and refused for fear of the officers losing their Jobs”.

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Dr. Orezimena said that he was taken unaware on June 20th when he was called that his property was being demolished. He said that Ministry officials along with security agents supervised the destruction of the properties on June 20th. “I watched in horror as machines destroyed the building I built with my savings. It was so painful,” he lamented.

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Continuing, he stated in the petition, “Due to the oppression by the Ministry, I and Mr India Osanebi applied to seek Justice at the High Court of Justice, Delta State of Nigeria in the Effurun Judicial Division Holden in Effurun with Suit No: EHC/100/2024 dated and
filed on 22nd May, 2024 against the Ministry of Urban Renewal, Ministry of Land & Survey, Attorney General of Delta State and the Executive Governor, Delta State.

“On Friday, 24th day of May 2024, we got an Order of Interim Injunction by Hon. R.D Harriman (MRS) “Judge” restraining the defendants jointly from demolishing,
pulling down or doing anything contrary to our property at No 1 Airoboyi Close, off Jesus is Lord Street, Off Refinery Road, Effurun, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice. All parties were duly served with the
court order by the Court Bailiff on May 29th 2024 by 11.28am and 11.30am respectively.

Surprisedly, “On 20th June, 2024 at about 8.18am, I received a phone call from one of my workers that the Ministry of Urban
Renewal lead by Deputy Director for Planning (Mr Eddy Ewosode), Area Planning Officer 1 in Warri (Mr. Samuel Atomatofa) and Area Planning Officer II in Warri (Mr. Akpomini O) as instructed by the Hon. Commissioner for Urban Renewal, Hon. Micheal Anoka brought Bulldozer and demolished/destroyed my properties and Mr India Osanebi properties at No. 1 Airoboyi Close, off Jesus is Lord Street, off Refinery Road, Effurun in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State against the Court Order.

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Multiple sources in the area alleged Ministry staff disrupted recordings and seized phones from onlookers. Officials intimidated workers and others against video recording; seize phones of those that was recording while the ministry was carrying out the evil act”.

When contacted, Commissioner Michael Anoka denied knowledge of any court order despite confirmation it was served.

One resident who claimed to have witnessed the whole incident stated: “The reckless manner they went about it shows this was premeditated illegality.”

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According to Dr Orezimena: “A mobile policeman even shot at my worker luckily missing him. They’re threatening me to stop pursuing the case. The victim’s phone was forcibly retrieved and evidence was deleted by ministry-linked men, he alleged.

“So, what drove such wanton acts in contempt of the judiciary? Dr Orezimena strongly believes it was instigated by an influential neighbour, a chieftain of the ruling party in the state who wanting to seize the land. “He’s been troubling us for a long time. Now they’re aiding his agenda through intimidation,” the medical doctor asserted.

Although the State Commissioner for Urban Renewal, Mr. Michael Anoka had insisted that his ministry was not served with any order stopping the demolition of the property, investigation shows the Ministry and Commissioner was duly served the court order on the 29th of May 2024, at the about 11:30am. Documents show a staff of the ministry signed and received the restraining order on behalf of the commissioner.

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