The High Court of Bayelsa State, sitting in Sagbama, has ordered a telecom company, Globacom Nigeria Limited to vacate land belonging to the Agbereowei family of Bolou-Orua community in Sagbama area of the state.
The court, therefore, ordered the defendant (Globacom) to pay N32.5m representing N24m unpaid rents at N3m per annum from 2008 to 2016, N8.5m as damages for distress and hardship caused the claimants.
The Agbereowei family in a suit, SHC/02/2015, filed by Miss Justina Agbereowei and Mr. Wednesday Agbereowei (claimants), had sued the telecom company (defendant) for alleged failure to pay rents on the land, housing its base station for many years.
The claimants had prayed the court, presided over by Justice E.G. Omukoro, to declare that they were the persons rightfully entitled to the right of occupancy in and over all the parcel of land measuring approximately 40 feet by 40.5 feet where the defendant’s base station is situated is their property.
In an enrolled order by Justice Umukoro on July 12, 2016, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent, the judge ordered that the declaration of entitlement sought to the right of occupancy over the parcel of land in issue is merited and is hereby granted.
Umukoro said the continued occupation of the claimants’ land by the defendant had become unjustifiable and that the prayers of the claimants for possession and removal of all structures on the land was hereby granted.
The judge ruled, “That on relief for special and general damages, the sum of N18m claimed as arrears of rents at the rate of N3m per annum for six years from 2008 to 2014 in line with the parole understanding reached with Mr. Apollo as agent of the defendant was granted.
“That the sum of N6m at the rate of N3m per annum for the two years of 2015 and 2016 for which rents have further accrued plus additional general damages of N8m only for all the distress, hardship and pain caused by holding on to their land and using same for commercial purposes and profits whilst refusing to meet their corresponding obligations to the claimants is also hereby granted.
“That an order of injunction restraining the defendant from any form of interference with the claimants right of ownership and occupation of the aforesaid piece of land is hereby made and/or granted.”
The judge also awarded N500,000 only against the defendant in favour of the claimants.