• Sunday, July 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Court grants application for injunction order restraining Cross River from evicting cocoa allottees 

Court reserves judgement on six-year old Offa robbery case

A high court sitting in Effraya,  Etung local government area of Cross River State has granted an order of interlocutory injunction asking the state Government not to evict allottees of 1,415 hectares of smallholders scheme from the government-owned cocoa estate.

The court presided over by Justice Ebri Eno, in suit NO HE/16/2024 between Mr. Charles Mgbe, others as claimants, and the Cross River State government as defendants.

The court however ordered the defendants not to evict the allottees from their cocoa farms that they were already occupying, pending a hearing and determination of the matter in court.

The presiding judge delivered the ruling granting the application for injunction which was conceded to by counsel to the defendant WS Ogar.

The court however adjourned the matter for hearing to July 18, 2024.

Giving insight on order, counsel to claimants, Ntufam Mba Ukweni (SAN), said,  “The order of injunction restrains the defendants, their agents, servants, cohorts assigns, collaborators, or privies in whatever guise they may be assumed,  from harassing, threatening, intimidating evicting from or attempting to evict, leasing or interfering with the claimants’ rights, over the hectares of cocoa farmland in the government cocoa estate.

“Already leased and allocated to them by the government of Cross River State under the smallholder’s scheme at the Cross River state cocoa estate which the claimants had paid for.

“The  injunction is to last pending determination of the substantive suit. “Nobody is to disturb the claimants in their position and use of the land. The order is apparent, as to the extent to which it has gone.

“If we perceive anyone taking a step to interfere with that position, of the area, we will go after that person for contempt no matter how highly placed, Because we see it as an affront to the rule of law and the judiciary.

“I make bold to say that by the grace of God having risen to the level of rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN. We are like guardians of the threshold” Ukweni queried.

Besides the fact that it’s a matter which I am involved in. Even if it’s a matter in which I am not involved, we cannot sit back and see anybody no matter how highly placed that person make nonsense of the judicial system.

“The claimants own the land. They have been given allocation. We have agreements, signed by the government.

“The agreement was prepared by the attorney general of Cross River state and money paid into coffers of the State internal revenue account and not paid into the account of a particular individual”, Ukweni queried.

In a telephone conversation, counsel to defendant Wodah Ogar, said the order you heard pronounced by the court, is an interlocutory application for status quo to be maintained and nothing else.