Okporo market

Okporo Market:Amaeze, 11 Others Risk Jail Term For Contempt Of Court

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Anayo Amaeze and eleven others who are defendants in a suit instituted by Valentino Da Vinci Nig. Ltd, in respect of issues relating to the reconstruction of Orie Okporo market that was demolished by the Rochas Okorocha government, risk various jail terms for disobeying orders of a court of competent jurisdiction.

The plaintiff, Valantino Da Vinci Nig Ltd had instituted suit NOR/2/2016, before an Orlu High Court, presided over by Hon. Justice L, C. Azuama, seeking adherence to the initial terms of Agreement Memorandum of Understanding, signed, as regards reconstruction of the market and other related issues.

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The honourable court in a judgment order dated 11th March 2019, and signed by the Senior Registrar, Chidimma Agu (Mrs), averred that, “upon careful consideration of the court processes filed in this suit on the 10th day of January 2019 and the submissions of I. O. Ezea Esq, counsel for the plaintiff, Charles Edward Obi Esq, for the 1st Defendant, Dozie Okoronkwo Esq for the 3rd to 12 Defendants on the issues that led to amicable settlement as per the averments in the Memorandum of Understanding of 23rd July 2018, duly signed by the Okporo communities, main Developer, Valentino Da Vinci Ltd and the Imo State government and the terms of settlement dated and signed on the 14rh day of January, 2020, together with Exhibit A, captioned “Okporo Middle Age Association committee reports on findings, Resolutions and Reconciliation on Orie Okporo Market Development crisis”.

“Whereupon, the court being satisfied with the findings aforementioned, holds that the parties have settled their differences and hereby adopts the “Terms of Settlement as the judgment of this court and orders as follows”.

“That the agreement as contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) shall be strictly adhered to.

The court also ordered that the Developer, Valentino Da Vinci Nig Ltd shall provide the design of the market, procure for himself, a survey plan, building plan, and building approvals to enable him build according to specifications. He will also bear all expenses”.

“That the developer shall demolish all existing buildings, uproot all economic trees and clear all the debris at the market site”.    

The court further ordered that, “the construction of Orie Okporo market shall be within the area mapped out for it but if there is reason for expansion, individuals whose lands were encroached on, should be adequately compensated through allocation of shops.

It was further ordered that, the developer should erect toilet facilities, abattoir and borehole, which he would exclusively manage without interference from anybody, to enable him recoup his expenses. Twenty percent of the total shops constructed and completed shall be given and shared together by the three autonomous communities of Okporo clan, while shop owners and the owners of the encroached portion of land that formed part of the Okporo market when completed, shall be allocated shops as compensation.

Other cardinal terms of the amicable settlement by all the parties involved, include, that the present shop owners and the traditional/original owners of the land at Orie Okporo market whose shops/lands/structures were demolished in the course of the construction development of the Orie Okporo market shall be compensated from the block shops and free zone shops/open shades given to them after payment of the cost of building only”.

“That the original block shop owners shall pay the sum of N400,000 (four hundred thousand naira only) to the Developer to reclaim the shop per owner”. The developer shall also be in the market to manage it for a period of fifteen (15) years to enable him recoup his return on investment”.

“That the three autonomous communities that make up Okporo shall set up a committee that oversees the collection of shops, while the IGR from the market shall be shared by the underlisted group, thus, Developer, OMATA, youth and community who shall form a committee of one person each representing the group above named and the allocation of shops due to communities, individual shop/land owners, under the supervision of the management of OMATA”.

It further said that the “Developer, the committees and OMATA shall jointly set up a security outfit for the Orie Okporo market and the security personnel shall be remunerated from the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the market.

And that, “as a show of good faith on resolving these issues, all parties shall within 7 days after the filing of these terms of settlement, herein, withdraw all actions associated with the reconstruction/re-development of the Orie Okporo market pending in various courts and the criminal complaint at the police station”.

However, contrary to the far reaching terms of the amicable settlement, adopted by the court as it’s judgment on the matter, signed and sealed by the presiding judge, Anayo Amanze and eleven other defendants in the suit, namely; Chijioke Okafor, Emmanuel Odidi, Stephen Nwaugo, Ejike Ukoha, Charles Onyeacholam, Jude Onyema, Chinedu Okeke and Uzoma Okafor are alleged to have been over stepping their bounds and encroaching on areas they should not by virtue of the terms of amicable settlement.

The court, in a bid to forestall non compliance with it’s directive also ordered that forms 48, 49 and other court processes be served on the defendants/respondents through substituted service stressing that, “this mode of service be deemed as good and proper service”.           

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