By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu
The High Court of Onitsha Judicial Division, has restrained the Anambra State Government from managing and occupying the Parcel B of the land of Fire Service Station, Upper Iweka, Onitsha (a disputed land) developed by Urban Transport Terminal Limited, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
In its order on Wednesday, 8th June, 2022, the Onitsha High Court presided over by the Hon. Justice Theophine Ugochukwu Oguji, ordered that “pending the determination of the substantive case, both parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante bellum” and adjourned the case to October 25 for hearing.
The suit no: 0/162/2021 and Motion No:0/573M/2022.
Addressing newsmen in Awka, where he presented the Certified True Copy of the order, the Managing Director of Urban Transport Terminal Ltd, Chief Chuka Obiora, urged Governor Chukwuma Soludo to use his office to compel those going against the Court’s order to stop transacting businesses at the disputed property, noting that they had been bleeding since they entered into the business with Anambra State Government, adding that the banks were on their neck for repayment of loans collected to develop the park.
‘The Court has asked Anambra State Government to desist forthwith from trespassing or further removing the plaintiff’s properties of any nature whatsoever, including vehicles and equipment on the lands for any purpose, pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
‘I just hope that Governor Soludo will obey the court order so as not to jeopardize his lofty developmental ideas he has for Anambra State. He said he plans to turn Anambra State into Dubai. How can that be possible when investors are not treated well? Just look at what they are doing to us.
Do you know that if this case is allowed to linger, it will cause a lot of damages to the Anambra State Government and it will surely chase away prospective investors. Dubai was developed by investors across the world. Go there and see how investors are pampered and encouraged.
‘We entered into a Private Public Partnership (PPP) to build and manage modern automated motor parks in Onitsha while the government provided the Land, as well to the infrastructure for the smooth running of the park. Government reneged on the agreement.
‘The government equity is 30% while our company equity is 70% in Urban Transport Terminal Ltd. We went and fulfilled our part; the government did not fulfill their part. Anambra State did not invest 1 kobo in the development of the park. We have invested over 500 hundred million Naira.
‘The company dragged the government to court, asking for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the government and its agents from further trespassing on, entry or further removing the company’s properties of any nature whatsoever.
‘We urge Governor Chukwuma Soludo led Administration to obey the order of the court by keeping off the property pending the determination of substantive suit. Our company developed the terminal/park and it was flagged off by the then Governor Willie Obiano to start operation. After the flag off, government did not maintain its own part of equity which is enforcing or providing all necessary infrastructure to guarantee smooth running of the terminal.
‘When we noticed that they were not forthcoming we wrote between 70 and 80 letters to the state government, drawing its attention to the flaw and got no reply.
‘We were shocked on Sunday evening of 31st January, 2021, as government agents invaded the park, chased away everybody and took over and have been operating it. They even sold our properties.
‘Information reaching the company showed that government agents have sold off most of our properties, dismantled all the expensive items and have sold them and taken possession in a property government did not invest a kobo,’ he said.
Efforts made to reach the Commissioner for Transport, Anambra State, as at the time of filing this report proved abortive.