Controversial property speculator and Lagos-based businessman, Mr. Felix Ezeamama, has been accused of manhandling the occupants of an apartment on Kingsway Road, Ikoyi, Lagos who include a 90-year-old woman, Alhaja Halima Abubakar.
Saharareporters learned that Ezeamama led some uniformed men and hoodlums armed with machetes and another dangerous weapon to the Block A, Flat 1 and 2 of the apartment at about 4 am on May 6, 2017.
Daughter of the nonagenarian, Aisha Abubakar, who narrated the ordeal of her grandmother, said the thugs asked the three of the occupants who also include her mother to sit on the floor as they destroyed their property in addition to allegedly carting away her mother’s gold jewelry and cash.
“We heard bangs on the gates as they arrived at our home in the early hours,” Aisha said.
“They hit the gates so hard that we initially thought they were robbers. They broke down the gates and the wall, forced themselves into my mother’s room and then dragged us out. We tried to escape but they threatened to kill us if we dared.
“I sat defenseless as they took my mother’s trinket. They also took foreign currencies and about N7million-proceeds from the sale of her wares and took foodstuff from the refrigerator.”
The grandmother also showed the cuts she sustained from the attack to our correspondent, saying the incident had left her devastated.
Meanwhile, the matter of the disputed property is before Justice Wasiu Animasahun at the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, where Alhaja Halima Abubakar has accused Mr. Ezeamama of forcibly snatching the offer letter issued to her by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as proof of ownership of the Kingsway Road apartment.
Alhaja Abubakar said the property was allocated to her by the Federal Government when the government resolved to divest all buildings and lands in Lagos State.
She claimed that while herself and the 13 other occupants of the flats negotiated with the Federal Government Implementation Committee, Mr. Ezeamama had requested to be granted permission to interface with the government on their behalf due to his experience in property business.
“Upon our consent, he expressed his intention to acquire our interest in the property once we received an offer letter from the government and offered to purchase each flat at the cost of N7million,” Alhaja Abubakar disclosed, adding that Mr. Ezeamama proceeded to pay a non-refundable fee of N500,000 to each of the tenants as “commitment fee” and promised to pay the balance after the deal had been perfected by the government.
She, however, said that things turned sour after Mr. Ezeamama tampered with the terms of Agreement.
According to Alhaja Abubakar’s lawyer, Mr. Carlos Mbaka, his client owns two flats (Flats 1 and 2) out of the fifteen flats in the premises and ought to get 14 million for the sales of both flats but Mr. Ezeamama insisted he would pay her N7million just like the other tenants with one flat each.
The lawyer also claimed that the disagreement led to his client’s offer letter being snatched from her by Mr. Ezeamama, after which the matter was reported at the police station.
In the suit filed by Alhaja Abubakar’s lawyer against Mr. Ezeamama, Web Towers Limited, Mr. Ezeamama’s property company, and the Registrar of Titles Federal Land Registry, she stated that sometimes in 1992, the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing by a letter dated June 10, 1992 with ref No-HMW/41026/SAII/06/VOL1/3837 allocated to her flats 1 and 2 of Block A, 41 Kingsway Road Ikoyi. She prayed the court for a declaration that she should remain in possession as the owner of the property.
Alhaja Abubakar, who is the claimant, also asked the court to declare that she could not be compelled to sell her interest to the defendants or anyone acting for them while urging the court to declare that the purported Acceptance Form being paraded by the first and second defendants was obtained by fraud, as well as a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents and any other person from trespassing on the property.
The defendants, however, argued through their lawyer, Mr. C.O. Ejezie, that the claimant had employed the services of several solicitors to ensure that the property was offered to her with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and other contracts entered into between her and the first defendant, urging the court to declare the claimant's rejection of the offer of N7million as a breach of contract while also praying the court to order the claimant to vacate the property and pay the sum of N2.8million as damage.
Saharareporters learnt that Mr. Ezeamama has gained notoriety for harassing owners of properties over disputes that were already in court. He was variously reported in the media to have brutalized business owners at 17 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos on September 19, 2016, over payment of rent.
It was also learnt that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), the Federal Government’s agency established to resolve non-performing loans with Nigerian banks, had filed a debt recovery action against Mr. Ezeamama on the said property in Ikoyi. He was consequently restrained from dealing with or charging any existing tenants’ rents as the court order expressly directed that all tenants were to accord recognition to AMCON as the de-facto landlord.
Despite the restraining order, however, Mr. Ezeamama was reported to have hired some thugs to evict, harass and brutalize the tenants to force them into paying him rent.