By Rebecca Ejifoma
The family of Nigeria’s first Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Jaja Nwachukwu has called on the Federal Government to prevail on one Jack Chagoury, a Lebanese and his police accomplices to vacate the landed property on Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to the family, the Lebanese had falsely laid claims to the said properly with forged documentation.
Mr. Christian Akubondu, the former minister’s attorney, who made the call on behalf of the family, said he was constrained to cry out after it became clear that the Lebanese had firm control of the Nigeria Police and therefore, had no respect for the rule of law.
He said Chagoury had encroached on the land even in the face of a valid court ruling forbidding him from doing so.
Akubondu said the parcel of land in contention was acquired from the federal government by the late respected minister in 1962 with certified documents covering it.
According to him, the said Lebanese capitalised on his alleged relationship with the late Military Head of State, General Sani Abacha to saunter into the land.
He added that Chagoury became prominent in the picture using his Four Star Industries Limited with some alleged forged documents to lay claims to the land.
He said: “The Lebanese initially came in 2003 when he approached one Abasi Isegen, who authentically bought 2530 square meters of the land from Jaja Nwachukwu, that he wanted to buy some plots from him; only for the same Lebanese to turn around months later to say that the land actually belongs to Four Star Industries, where he is chairman and chief executive officer.”
When the issues of ownership and counter claims degenerated to the use of thugs and the police, Isegen in conjunction with Akubondu reportedly petitioned the police at the Special Fraud Unit SFU on Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos on May 20, 2013.
After an in-depth investigation, the police was said to have discovered from the office of the Lagos State Surveyor-General that the documents being paraded by the foreigner with which, he was laying claims to the land were all cloned.
A letter obtained from the Lagos State Surveyor-General dated July 25, 2013, signed by Mrs. Tejuosho Adenike and addressed to the Commissioner of Police SFU and copied the Registrar, High Court of Lagos State, stated in part; “The purported plan No. LS/D/LA237 dated 07/02/1989 and titled Four Star Industries limited that you are enquiring about, is an altered duplication of the original Government Plan No. LS/D/LA237.”
After this, the matter was charged to court after Chagoury allegedly shunned all police invitation.
He also refused to appear in court, thus a bench warrant was later obtained against him and he was said to have been declared wanted.
However, the matter got to a head on August 20, 2018 when the Commissioner of Police Lagos State Police Command, CP Imohimi Edgal sent some police officers to the land in question having sought and got the nod of the AIG Zone 2, Onikan to execute a court order granted on August 4, 2018, originating from Honourable Justice I.O.
Harrison(Mrs.) in suit No. ID/105/2008; restraining the foreigner and or his privies from further encroaching on the said parcel of land.
However, at the peak of the execution of the court order, a call reportedly came from one ACP Simon of the IGP Monitory Unit, Abuja, purportedly calling on behalf of the IG; Ibrahim Idris, ordering the AIG to send men to the land in contention and arrest all the policemen earlier detailed by Edgal, including the court baliffs and had them detained in Zone 2.
It took the intervention of Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), who is counsel to Isegen, to get the baliffs out of detention, while the policemen are still being detained.
Befuddled by the intrigues surrounding the case Isegen said, “I do not know why a foreigner will be so powerful that he can use the police as he wishes to the extent of making the police undermine a valid court ruling; even in our own country.
“This man has no business on that land, the police SFU had investigated his claims and through the Lagos State Surveyor-General found out that he forged his documents with which he is laying claims to the land.
“That an assistant commissioner of police is purportedly calling on behalf of the IGP to undermine the ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction, arm-twisting both the CP Lagos and AIG Zone 2, is something I cannot understand.
“This is why we want President Muhammadu Buhari and well meaning Nigerians, both home and abroad to come into this matter; using this medium because from all indications, this foreigner has firm grip of the Nigeria police; throwing money around and subverting justice.”