Nnewi – Following the failure of the Anambra State Government and other key stakeholders to come to her rescue following her Save-Our-Soul message over a year ago, a 104-year-old widow, Mrs Margret Onwuelo has sued an Nnewi billionaire businessman, Chief Cletus Ibeto to court for allegedly demolishing her house.
The widow had about a year ago, raised an alarm that she has been rendered homeless by some people in her community led by Chief Ibeto came, who demolished her house located at No 136-140 Abel Okoye road Egbu, Umuenem Otolo Nnewi with bulldozers and armed thugs.
Mrs. Onwuelo had also through her lawyer, J.O Asoluka SAN, sent a petition to the Inspector General of Police, demanding for arrest and prosecution of those that rendered her homeless.
However, when the SOS to Governor Obiano and the petition to the IGP did not yield the expected results, the 104-year-old woman, dragged Ibeto and 14 others to the State High Court sitting at Nnewi, asking the court to look into the case.
Among others in the suit are Ikechukwu Onwuelo, Ebuka Ileka, Afam Obiekosi and Charles Onyeka.
Others are Emeka Okafor, Patrick Nwosu, Okechukwu Nwaizugbe, Michael Okafor, Uzochukwu Ojukwu, Benjamin Akamelu, Theresa Onwuelo, Beatrice Ileka, Lawrence Ofodile and Onyebuchi Akamelu.
The aged Widow, alongside her three daughters, Margaret Ukachukwu, Felicia Ezeudo and Clementina Okolo, had in the 83-paragraph statement of claim, told the Court that the defendants, have no family ties with the Onwuelos whatsoever, and are not from the village where the land is located.
She stated that the land was bought in 1953, with a handwritten agreement for sale of land dated January 15 1953 and receipt for payment of stamp duty dated 13th March, 1953.
Mrs. Onwuelo also stated her family commenced the process of moving to the said property in 1973 and completed the process in 1974, adding that for more than 67 years she and her family were in uninterrupted peaceful possession of the land, cultivating same.
“However, after the death of my husband, Edward Onwuelo died in 1991, and the demise of my two sons, Peter and Paul, Peter’s wife, Theresa, who is listed as the 12th defendant” became very aggressive, disrespectful and started instigating her children against her mother-in-law and took personal issues outside the family.
“I discovered that my daughter-inlaw had started suspicious moves suggesting that she had plans to get outsiders to tamper with the land and then approached the traditional ruler, the Obi of Nnewi, Igwe Kenneth Orizu, who in his rulling affirmed the incontrovertibility of my ownership of the land,” she revealed.
The widow recollected that on Sunday the 5th of January, 2020, the 1st Defendant, alongside other Defendants visited the land and on the morning of 6th of January, 2020, they, alongside some hired armed thugs, earthmoving machines and tipper vehicles, forcibly invaded the said piece of land and undertook an extensive demolition and destruction of the structures built on the land.
Mrs. Onwuelo prayed the court presided over by Hon. Justice D. C. Maduechesi to among other things declare that by the invasion, trespass, demolition and subsequent actions of the defendants on the properties, the plaintiffs’ constitutionally garanteed right to dignity of the human person, right to own properties, right to private and family life and right to personal liberty were grossly violated.
She also sought an order of the court for the defendants to pay N30, 925million as estimated value of damaged structures; N21, 494,750 to cover properties carted away when the place was invaded; N1. 3billion as aggravated and exemplary damages the plaintiffs suffered; N320million for gross violation of the plaintiffs’ constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights when they invaded the land, N100million for damages occasioned by trespass and creation of private access road; and N50million for the cost of action assessed in that sum.
Meanwhile, the Presiding Judge, Justice Maduechesi adjourned the matter to be heard as from May 12, 2021.
The adjournment was due to the absence of the defendants in court.
Justice Echesi however, warned that any party that will default in appearing on the days the case is listed for hearing, will pay a fine of N500,000 to the other.