Appeal Court fails to hear 19 year old land case

The Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt is yet to hear a 19-year-old land case involving former Controller of News at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Prince Woboroma II.

Nothing has been done to rectify the issue, it was learnt.

Woboroma had complained that his N4 billion heritage had been plundered with impunity, claiming that hired assassins were sent after him and his family.

They fled their Port Harcourt home and have been in hiding for nearly 20 years. Woboroma claimed that his children have no access to education or healthcare.

The appeal has not been served on the respondents, Woboroma alleged.

“In view of the demonstrable inability of the Appeal Court to take a decisive action on the matter for two decades, it’s imperative for the Federal Government to quickly take steps to rescue and restore the image of the judiciary by having all permanent structures erected on Woboroma’s land during the pendency of the fake appeal totally demolished. By so doing, justice shall be done and be seen to have been done,” he said.

Woboroma accused the Court of Appeal justices of complicity in the plundering of his $12 million assets.

According him, 200 plots of prime land belonging to him has been decimated, with part of it allegedly sold to a senator from Bayelsa.

Fighting to save his assets from being completely plundered, three gangs of hired assassins went after him, and for nearly 19 years, he and his family have been living in hiding.

His case got worse when his lawyer allegedly defrauded and threatened him. The height of it was when Woboroma had a close shave with death as his assailants left him for dead with matchete cuts.

The 19-year-old land case is pending at the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal. It is over 200 plots of prime land located on both sides of the road between Ngbuoba Rumuokwuta and Rumuwike, which Woboroma and his four elder brothers, inherited from their father.

In 1993, following a disagreement with one of his brothers, Chinyerengozi, a Customary Court ruled that Woboroma and his siblings were entitled to inherit their late father’s land, noting that grandchildren could not jointly share it with their fathers.

After inspecting one of the land containing 36 plots, the court shared it among the brothers – Chinyerengozi, Woboromazim, Thomas, Igwechi and Prince, all of whom got seven plots each. The remaining one plot was allocated to Chinyerengozi as a matter of privilege.

Dissatisfied with the Customary Court’s verdict, Chinyerengozi appealed to the High Court, challenging the Customary Court’s verdict. On March 29, 1996, the High Court appeal panel dismissed the case.

In 1997, Chinyerengozi further appealed to the Court of Appeal, but the case was struck out on November 27, 2012. The appellant, according to Woboroma, did not apply for a relisting of the case within 90 days.

Three years later, following Chinyerengozi’s death in 2014, the appellant’s children last February applied to re-list the case and their request was granted.

Woboroma said the case suffered seven adjournments last year without hearing, during which some of the land in dispute was allegedly sold.

“Questions are being asked everywhere as to why an elite court should keep an incompetent appeal pending for upward of 19 years without hearing,” he said.

Source: The Nation

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