BY COMFORT OSEGHALE
A 44-year-old man, Ikechukwu Ozichukwu, and his mother, Mrs. Comfort Ebubechukwu, are locked in battle over the sale of one of the family’s houses.
The building, a semi-detached duplex located on 21 Road, H Close, FESTAC, Lagos State, was allegedly sold in January 2013 while Ozichukwu was still living there with his wife and two children.
It was learnt that Ozichukwu’s mother allegedly sold the house for N27m. Another property was subsequently purchased at the Satellite Town area in the name of his younger brother who lived in the United States.
PUNCH Metro gathered that it was when the new buyer wanted to move into the house that Ozichukwu knew that the house no longer belonged to the family.
Ozichukwu said, “Early this year, I was approached by two buyers who claimed that the house was for sale. At the time, my mother was away in the United States. When the rumour persisted, I obtained a Caveat on the house from the Ikeja High Court.
“But when my mother returned a few weeks after, she said she had indeed put the house up for sale. I objected to this because this was the only property that my late father had in Lagos.”
He added that his objection did not go down well with his mother.
A few weeks later, the son said his mum’s lawyer, Mr. Sam Eneonwuta, came to the house with some documents showing that he had agreed to the sale.
He said, “I am a joint administrator with my mother for our father’s estate, so my permission is also needed on anything that would happen to the estate. Of, course, I declined to sign the documents.
“I was arrested some days later by some policemen from the Area E Command, FESTAC. My mother had written a petition alleging threat to life. I was detained for two days. Later, the Area Commander advised us to settle the dispute.
“In March 2013, my mother who also lived in the same building, moved out without my knowledge. Soon after this, I got a quit notice from my mother’s lawyer, giving me a week’s notice to vacate the premises.”
Ozichukwu said a week after the quit notice, 15 people came to the house to eject him. However, they were stopped by the police.
He added that he was subsequently arrested by policemen from State Criminal Investigative Department, Yaba, based on petitions by Ebubechukwu’s lawyer. The matter was also said to have been reported at Zone 2 command.
He said, “I was going from one police formation to the other. It was at this period that I was informed by the police that my mother had left for the US after selling the house for N27m. Another property had been purchased in its place at Satellite town in the name of my younger brother who lives in the US.
“I was shocked because I never consented to the sale. Eventually, it was discovered at the Zone 2 Command that my signature had been forged on the documents to facilitate the sale in April.”
It was learnt that when the new owner could not move into the house, he also reported at Special Fraud Unit, Ikoyi. Ozichuwku was once again arrested by operatives from SFU.
Ozichuwku said, “I have been to the SFU office many times, but during this time some men, claiming to be court sheriffs, came to the house. They said they were from the Apapa Magistrate’s Court. They took some snapshots of the house and left. I have been to the said court and couldn’t find any summons relating to me or the property. If I am being taken to court, at least I should be contacted.”
Eneonuwta, when contacted, said Ozichukwu’s mother had fled the house.
He said, “Ebubechukwu was ill-advised at the time the letter of administration was drawn up to include Ozichukwu. The house belongs to her and not the late husband because although he had been made an offer before his death, she was the one who made the final payment and developed the building.”
Ozichukwu’s US-based younger brother, Kelechi, told our correspondent on the telephone that the mother was receiving medical treatment and was unavailable for comment.
He insisted that the house belonged to their mother.
He said, “My father won that house during the FESTAC 77. Shortly after that, he died. It was my mother who followed up and developed the building. She needed the proceeds from the sale of the house to pay for her medical treatment in the US.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Zone 2, Lewi Suleiman confirmed the case.
He said, “During our investigation, Eneonuwta claimed that he was given power of attorney by Ozichukwu and that the document was handed over to him by Ebubechukwu.
“Ozichukwu denied signing any document of that nature. We have obtained the document along with a specimen of Ozichukwu’s signature and both have been sent to Alagbon so that the appropriate department can determine if Ozichukwu’s signature was forged. We are still awaiting the results.”
The PPRO SFU, Mrs. Ngosi Isintume-Agu, also confirmed the case. She said, “We are still investigating the case.”
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