Revealed: N200m Judgement, Delta Govt Yet To Appeal | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Revealed: N200m Judgement, Delta Govt Yet To Appeal

Posted: Jun 1, 2016 at 6:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Charles Okogene/ Francis Onoiribholo

Asaba /Benin – There are strong indications that the Delta State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Barrister Peter Mrakpor, may have started the process of appealing the recent N200 million judgment against the state government by an Ughelli High Court in a case brought against it by Mr. Gideon Nwaomu.

We gathered authoritatively that officials of the state Ministry of Justice from Asaba were at the Ughelli Court and carted away the case file, perhaps in readiness for the appeal.

Independent had on its May 10, 2016, edition reported, based on information from the Attorney General that the case was on appeal.

However, Investigations by our correspondents at the Appeal Court Benin and the Ughelli High Court as at May 24, exactly two months, two days after the case was decided against the state government, showed no record suggesting that the government has appealed against the judgement.

Nwaomu, whose Giddy’s Place, an entertainment spot, was demolished by the agents of the state government in 2011, had in the suit asked the court to declare the action illegal, unlawful, null and void and of no effect.

The case which started in Asaba High Court on August 30, 2011, ended in Ughelli High Court on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, in favour of Nwaomu.

The presiding judge, Justice Michael Obi, had ordered the Delta State government to pay N200 million as exemplary damages.

It also ordered the government to, within seven days from the day the judgment was delivered, grant the claimant (Nwaomu) access to the parcel of land on which the demolished structures were erected and which had been under lock and key since November 15, 2011, the day government bulldozers reduced the place to rumbles.

But more than two months after the judgment, the government is yet to vacate the parcel of land or begin the process of paying the N200 million exemplary damages to Nwaomu.

Rather, Barrister Mrakpor told Independent that the case was on appeal and declined to speak on it when his view, on why the state government is yet to obey the Ughelli High Court’s judgement, was sought.

Our investigation at the Appeal Court in Benin which has jurisdiction over the state showed that the court is not aware of the appeal.

“Delta State Government is yet to file an appeal on that matter. We don’t have such record of appeal in this court, at least as at today, Tuesday, May 24,” our source said.

Also at the Ughelli High Court where the judgement was delivered, our reporter learnt that the court is not aware if the case is on appeal.

“We are not aware if the government has appealed the judgment,” our source in the court said.

On their part, both Mr Nwaomu and his lawyer, Barrister Cyprain Ashibuogwu, said that they were yet to be served with the appeal notice.

Our sources at Delta State Government House also said that it was possible that the government was yet to file an appeal against the judgment.

“What I know is that the case has not been discussed at the state executive council meeting whether to appeal the judgment or not.

“Maybe the AG (Attorney General) just told you that the case is on appeal to get you off his back on the issue.

“Or he wants to use that as a ploy to stop Nwaomu from enforcing the judgment when the period allowed for appeal expires and government has not decided on what to do with the case,” our source said.

Surprisingly, the Attorney General is yet to respond to a text message informing him that both the appeal and high courts deny any knowledge of the appeal he said the state has filed. The message was sent to him on Tuesday May 24.