Justice SylvanusnOrji of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Maitama has ordered a serving judge of the National Industrial Court to enter his defence in a N25million property case that was instituted against him by an Abuja-based estate surveyor.
The surveyor, Mr. James Olobo, in his writ of summons marked CV/950/2021, alleged that the defendant, Justice Jeremiah Essien, forcefully took possession of his property situated at Primasset estate, Lugbe, Abuja.
The plaintiff, in the suit filed through his lawyer, Mr. Ataguba Aboje, said the defendant had by a written contract of sale that was executed on May 4, 2020, agreed to purchase his 450sqm land together with a 4-bedroom fully detached duplex carcass for the sum of N25m.
He told the court that it was an express term of the agreement that the defendant must complete payment for the property, on or before the end of November 2020.
The claimant told the court that contrary to the contract of sale, the defendant, paid in only N500, 000. 00 before the agreement elapsed, and thereafter, forcefully took possession of the property.
In his statement of claim before the court, the claimant, stated: “That about the 13th of November, 2020, the claimant discovered that the defendant had taken possession of the property and was busy altering the property significantly.”
The claimant told the court that owing to refusal of the Defendant to complete the payment within the stipulated period, the purchase Agreement was terminated, with a cheque issued for a full refund of the monies that were paid through his solicitor’s account.
“Nearly two months after the defendant received the claimant’s letter and the bank drafts, the defendant returned then to the claimant’s solicitor’s office on February 26, 2021, using a courier company called Speedaf.
“The defendant remains adamant that he is entitled to the Property and continues to exercise ownership rights over it unlawfully.
“Claimant states that on one occasion about February 23, 2021, while he was in the estate minding his business, the Defendant confronted him aggressively in the presence of several persons and abused him and called him a ‘bastard’.
“He also taunted him saying ‘if you are a man come and collect the property, I am waiting for you’.
“The claimant states that after the termination of the agreement he attempted to repossess the property from the defendant and advertised it for sale to other prospective buyers but the defendant refused to allow it and continues to scare away potential buyers.
“He falsely reported the matter to the Police claiming that the Claimant criminally trespassed on his property and beat up his workmen in the bid to frustrate the sale of the Property to another buyer”.
Consequently, the claimant, is among other things, praying the court for “A declaration that the defendant’s forceful take over and alteration of the claimant’s property without an agreement or conveyance, amounts to trespass.”