Residents in agony as Delta govt allegedly defies court order, demolishes houses


Delta State government has been accused of disobeying lawful court order following the demolition of houses by the State Ministry of Urban Renewal.

Houses of Dr Prosper Orezimena, a medical practitioner and his neighbour, Pa. India Osanebi were demolished despite an experte motion dated and filed 22nd May, 2024 at the State High Court, Effurun.

The victim, Orezimena, who alleged that a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain was behind the demolition, said the politician once threatened to use his compound to gain access to his house.

The victims had prayed the court for the following order’s to wit: “An order of interim injunction restraining the Defendants jointly and severally, their servants, agents, privies or otherwise, whosoever from demolishing, pulling down, destroying or doing anything contrary to the interest of the Applicant with regard to the Applicant property at No. 1. Airaboyi Close, off Jesus is Lord Street, off Refinery Road, Effurun, Uvwie local government area of Delta State, Nigeria pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.”

His Lordship, the Honourable Justice R.D. Harriman (Mrs.) Judge of High Court No. 2, Effurun, on the 24 day of May, 2024, granted the relief sought by the Applicant.

Court documents displayed by the victims showed that Orezimena and Osanebi obtained an interim injunction.

Records revealed that the order was served on the Ministry and other defendants on May 29, 2024.

But the state government on June 20th, 2024 through the Ministry of Urban Renewal and Ministry of Land & Survey, brought the building down, with occupants not given a chance to move their belongings out.

Narrating his ordeal, Orezimena, who spoke to journalists, recalled he first received notices in February from the Ministry of Urban Renewal ordering him to halt renovation works.

“I was only giving my property a new look. I found it strange they wanted to stop such harmless work.

“The notices also instructed the submission of drawings, which were duly provided to them in compliance.

“However, in May the Ministry resurfaced with threats of demolition.

“In a brazen display, Ministry officials supervised the bulldozing of the properties on June 20th regardless of the injunction.

“I watched in horror as machines destroyed the building I built with my savings. It was so painful,” recalled Orezimena.

Eyewitnesses said Ministry staff disrupted recordings and seized phones from onlookers.

According to Orezimena: “Another bulldozer arrived on 21st June 2024. A mobile policeman even shot at my worker, luckily missing him.

“They’re threatening me to stop pursuing the case. The victim’s phone was forcibly retrieved and evidence was deleted by ministry-linked men.

“Such wanton acts are a contempt of the judiciary. I believe it was instigated by an influential neighbour, a chieftain of the ruling party in the state who wants to seize the land.

“He has been troubling us for a long time. Now they are aiding his agenda through intimidation.

“Justice should not only be done but be visibly seen to be done.

“Investigations are ongoing. All I want is for those who destroyed my property and career to face the full weight of the law,” the medical doctor asserted.

When contacted, the Commissioner, Ministry of Urban Renewal, Michael Anoka denied knowledge of any court order.

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