Apprehension, shock and disbelief engulfed the Unity Garden Estate in Osisioma near Aba, Abia State on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 as officers of the Police Mobile Force, (MOPOL 55 Unit) located in the area defied a court order and evicted some legal occupants of the estate.
Witness Magazine gathered that the Mopol 55 unit had a couple of days ago issued a four day quit notice to all occupants of the estate. The expiring date, it was understood, would have expired on March 9, 2021 the day they evicted them.
But rather than allow the date to expire, operatives of mobile police force came down on the occupants of the estate 24 hours earlier and threw them out.
According to our reporter, the officers operating on orders of CSP Moses Aduroja, the second in command (2/ic), went against an existing court order to eject the occupants including one Mr. Sampson Nwogu.
Fielding questions from reporters, Nwogu, explained that he had on March 4, 2021 obtained an interim injunction restraining Aduroja, Superintendent of Police, Ahmed Gombe and the State Police Commissioner from ejecting them from the estate.
The suit, he disclosed, had Aduroja (2/ic Mopol 55), Gombe (Provost Mopol 55) and Abia State Commissioner of Police, CP Janet Agbede as defendants.
Nwogu maintained that the presiding Magistrate, Chijioke Nwogu, sitting at the Abayi Magistrate Court, Osisioma in Suit No. MOS/MISC/14/2021 had on March 4, 2021 ordered that the defendants be served by courier.
The Order of the Court barred Aduroja and the other defendants from ejecting him and others from plot FMBN 167 Unity Garden Estate, pending the determination of the motion on notice.
The magistrate also ordered that the restraining order be addressed to the office of the Provost Mopol 55 and fixed March 18, 2021 as date for report of service.
However, in flagrant disregard to the Court Order, which Aduroja admitted to have received personally, operatives of the MOPOL 55 started the forceful ejection of the occupants in the early hours of Tuesday.
The officers began their ejection from the house of the plaintiff, Nwogu, where he was allegedly beaten, flogged and left with bruises all over his body.
According to Nwogu, “They started from my apartment. I was praying and I heard noise. I came out; asking them what was happening, the next thing I saw was beating. They flogged me mercilessly before my children.
“Dragged me and threw me round, tore my clothes, took all my property away and sprayed teargas on my family, I reminded them that the matter is in court, but they began beating me more and more.”
Meanwhile, Abia State Police Command, through the PPRO, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna said the command is not aware of any form of quit notice from Mopol 55 on the residents of the estate.
When reporters approached CSP Moses Aduroja in his office to get his view on the assault on Nwogu’s family, he said he does not need any court order to eject anyone he suspected to be posing any danger to him.
Aduroja who claimed he is only interested in ejecting illegal occupants, which is contrary the quit notice served, also said he does not need any directive from anyone to determine who is to be ejected.
Asked how he identifies an illegal occupant since he does not have any authorization from court, Abia police command or the estate managers, he alleged that most of the occupants were just criminals.
When contacted, Mr. Alozie Nwankwo, the General Manager, Abia State Housing and Property Development Corporation (ASHPDC) said that they were embarrassed by the reports.
According to him, “We have not received any official complaint from any resident of that estate including the police. Nothing has been communicated to us.
“We have not given anybody permission from the office to quit anybody and we are not aware of any eviction.”
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.