The landlord of a building occupied by the Delta State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) today evicted the union following a judgment by a Customary Court of Appeal in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
The union, led by Norbert Chiazor, was evicted from the building on account of its failure to pay the yearly rent on the property located along DBS Road in Asaba.
A few youth corps members serving at the NUJ press center were also thrown out of the property. The corps members told our correspondent that their fate now hung in the basis, disclosing that they had no alternative locations to stay.
When our correspondent visited the press center at 2 p.m. today, he saw files, newspapers, documents, television sets, chairs, tables, fans, air conditioners, foams, generating set and other office equipment strewn outside the building. A truck came arrived later and hauled the items to the NUJ’s secretariat, which is still under construction. Several NUJ staffers and youth corps members roamed about the premises with long faces.
A court bailiff who refused to give his name told SaharaReporters that the NUJ defaulted on the rent payment, adding that the landlord had no option than to file a lawsuit against the union.
“After several failed attempts by the landlord to get his rent, he decided to drag the union to the Customary Court of Appeal, Asaba and a verdict was given against the union,” said the bailiff.
Reacting to the eviction, the NUJ chairman, Mr. Chiazor, expressed shock at the landlord’s action. He claimed that the union had already paid N1 million out of the N1.3 million rent on the property, adding that the landlord was just unhappy about the union’s plans to move to its permanent secretariat now being constructed.
SaharaReporters learned that the landlord obtained a judgment against the NUJ at the Customary Court of Appeal at Cable Point, Asaba. The court ordered the eviction of the NUJ within 24 hours.
In what appears to be double jeopardy for the NUJ, our correspondent learned that the union’s secretariat, still under construction, is also a subject of litigation. An NUJ member told our correspondent that a High Court in Asaba had issued a contempt of court against the union over its failure to appear before it.
Anioma Petroleum Company reportedly filed a lawsuit against the NUJ over ownership of the land where the union is building its new secretariat along Miriam Babangida Way, Asaba.