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Ojukwu’s property: Bianca’s absence stalls trial

Ojukwu’s property : Bianca’s absence stalls trial

Ojukwu’s property Trial – The absence of Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu, widow of the late Ikemba of Nnewi, Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, Monday, stalled the suit she filed against Ojukwu Transport Limited, OTL, and seven others before a Lagos high court.

Bianca had in the suit filed on behalf of her two under-aged children, Afamefuna and Nwachukwu (claimants) wanted the court to declare that her children are entitled to the possession and occupation of the property known as No. 29, Oyinkan Abayomi Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, until the harmonisation of the management and administration of the assets of the first defendant, OTL.

The defendants in the suit are Prof. Joseph Ojukwu, Engr. Emmanuel Ojukwu, Lotanna Putalora Ojukwu, Dr. Patrick Ojukwu, Arc Edward Ojukwu, Lota Akajiora Ojukwu and Mrs. Massey Udegbe (doing business under Massey Udegbe & Company).

When the suit resumed yesterday for trial, lawyer to the defendants, Chief George Uwechue, SAN, informed the court of a letter signed by Bianca’s lawyer, Chioma Okoro, stating that Bianca could not be in court as a result of a meeting with the United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation Secretary General, Dr. Taleb Rafai, scheduled for November 9, 2015.

The letter dated October 23 reads in part: “The claimants’ witness, Mrs. Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu, who is the Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, is meeting with UN World Tourism Organisation Secretary General, Dr. Taleb Rafai, on 9th November, 2015 in Spain. Kindly find attached a copy of the UNWTO’s letter on the proposed meeting.”

However, the trial judge, Justice Abdulfattah Lawal, said that the court did not receive a copy of the letter and stressed the need to give the claimant benefit of the doubt and adjourned the suit still December 11 for trial.

Bianca, and her two children, had in their statement of claim, prayed the court to declare that the threat of forceful ejection from 29, Oyinkan Abayomi Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, by the defendants is illegal.

In addition, they urged the court to declare that they are entitled to possess the following properties, namely, No. 13, Hawksworth Road, Ikoyi (now known as No. 13, Ojora road); No. 32A, Commercial Avenue, Yaba, Lagos; No. 30, Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; No. 30, McPherson Avenue, Ikoyi.

All the above properties were alleged to be under the possession of late Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu – the father of the claimants, from the time the properties were released from government acquisition till date.

The claimants stated that throughout the period their father was struggling to retrieve the properties from the government, the second to seventh defendants “never played any role in the struggle nor contributed financially or otherwise to the realisation of the struggle.”

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Besides, the claimant is asking for an order of court restraining the defendants, their agents or privies from interfering with the claimants’ possession and control of the properties.

But, in their statement of defence, the 1st – 7th defendants averred that the subscribers of the memorandum of association of Ojukwu Transport Limited (1st defendant) at incorporation in 1952 were L. P. Ojukwu and Betram Chukwuemeka Obi, adding that the late Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu and one Professor Joseph Ojukwu (2nd defendant) were later appointed as directors in 1953.

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