Court declares Ezeonwuka as co-founder, co-owner, co-investor of Tansian University

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By Felix Oti, Awka  

The Court of Appeal sitting in Awka, Anambra State capital, has declared that the Chief Romanus Ezeonwuka is a co-founder, co-owner ad co-investor in the Tansian University, Umunya in Oyi Local Govermnent Area of Anambta State as as sch should partake in the management and control of the institution.

The declaration was sequel to dismisal of the application filed by the Appeallant/Defendant,  Tansian University, Umunya through its lawyer, Dr. E.S.C. Obiorah (SAN) challenging the order of lower court which ordered the 2nd plaintiff to repossess the said entire property and  pay N200 million as General Damages for possessing and occupying the Plaintiff’s  properties. 

Recall that at the lower court, Anthony Nwankwo, the Counsel to the Applicants in suit No. HID/89/2008  sought for a declaration that the 1st Plaintiff (now 2nd Respondent) is entitled to the right of occupancy over the said land at Oba, registered in the Land Registry Enugu (now Awka) subject to refund by the 2nd Defendant of any money the 2nd Defendant paid to the bank for the redemption the 2nd Plaintiff’s indebtedness to the bank.                                 

Moreover, the Applicants had filed an application for declaration that the 2nd Plaintiff is a co-owner, co-proprietor  and co-investor with the 2nd Defendant University with the 2nd Defendant and is entitled to reap his investment thereof, which he made by contributing to the 2nd Plaintiff’s property at Oba registered as No.60 at Page 60 in Volume 1269 of the Land Registry Enugui (niw Awka) .       
 
Furthermore, they sought for a declaration that the 2nd Plaintiff is entitled to the right of occupancy over the property registered as No. 65 in Volume 1011 in the Land Registry Office in Enugu (now Awka).                                                               

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Also, the Applicants prayed for an Order that, in the event that the 2nd Plaintiff is not declared a co-investor and co-founder of the 2nd Defendant University, the 2nd Plaintiff shall upon refund by the 2nd Plaintiff to the 2nd Defendant of money paid by the latter to the bank in redemption of the 2nd Plaintiff’s indebtedness, repossess its entire property at Oba, registered as No. 60 at Page 60 in Volume 1269 of the said Registry..                                                   

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Again, they demanded for an Order that the 2nd Plaintiff being entitled to the right of occupancy over the land at Oba registered as No. 65 at 65 in Volume 1011 of the  afore-mentioned Registry shall repossess the said entire property and  payment of N200 million as General Damages for possessing and occupying the Plaintiff’s  properties.                       

Finally, the Applicants sought  for an Order of Injunction restraining the Defendants, their  servants, ,privies, agents, and otherwise upon the Plaintiff’s repossessing the said properties at Oba from entering thereon.    Delivering judgment in the Appeal Suit No. CA/AW/67/2019, the three-man Panel made up of Justices Oboetonbara Daniel-Kalio,  Isa Gafai and Musa Mainoma resolved three out of the four contentious issues in favour of the 1st and 2nd Respondents/ Applicants respectively, represented by their Counsel, Barrister Anthony Nwankwo.                                            

The Court noted that the Appellant/Defendant was challenging the jurisdiction of the lower court to entertain the action in view of the juristic personality of  the Appellant, but frowned upon the fact that the Appellant  waited until eight years (out of time) after the Consent Judgment was delivered at the lower court in favour of the Respondent  to express its dissatisfaction after an application by the latter triggered execution of the judgment.

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The Mainoma-led Court equally resolved in favour of the Respondent on the issue of whether the trial court had jurisdiction to entertain and grant Respondents’ Motion No.  HID/864m/2018, clarifying that the Notice of Appeal against the ruling of 11th February 2019 in the said Motion had not been entered and the process stopped at the stage of filing only the Notice of Appeal. 

However, the Court set aside the lower court  order that that   “the Defendant Judgment debtor vacate with immediate effect the  temporary site of the 1st Defendant located at the premises of the Applicants at Umuogidi, Oba in Idemili South Local Government Area of the State, declaring that the Consent Judgment did not provide for such immediate vacation.                                         

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