A Lagos-based lawyer, Amanda Asagba, has decried the invasion of her home on Nduka Osadebey Street, Ajao Estate, Lagos State, by armed security agents, including sheriffs and policemen.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the men claimed to be acting on an order of the High Court of Lagos, Ikeja.
Asagba, who spoke to our correspondent on Thursday, said the officials forcefully ejected her family and destroyed assets worth over N500m.
The lawyer, who is the Principal Partner of Amanda and D. Asagba Chambers, claimed to have been living in the house for the past 25 years, adding that all her property titles were uncontested.
She said, “On Thursday, July 28, around 8.45am, I heard someone shouting from my room upstairs. I came downstairs and saw some men and I asked them how they came into my house; they told me that they had been knocking but no one answered.
“One of the men told me that they were from the state high court and they had a judgment against me. It left me confused because I didn’t have any matter against anyone; I told them this, but they shunned me.
“I even told them that maybe they were in the wrong place but they refused. I later asked for their court warrant. When they showed it to me, I saw that my name was not there and I called their attention to it, but they said that my name did not have to be there and that I was a trespasser.
“In the midst of all the argument, my daughters came out. They pushed all of us out and started taking out all our things. They threw out everything in the house except some things they couldn’t take out.
“They didn’t even allow me to make a phone call. We did not even know if they were armed robbers or something. Some of the men wore sheriff uniform; some were in mufti and others were heavily armed police officers who also had tear gas canisters. They were over 100 and the ones who entered the house were about 40.
“They only let me take a picture of the court warrant of possession after they had ransacked my residence and thrown everything out. Even the name on the warrant happened to be my neighbour, who was next door and whose property was seized two years ago.
“We were never served any papers prior to the incident; we never received any court papers from anyone, so it was a shocker. Our entire property was scattered and even when the rain was drizzling, they still threw everything out.”
Our correspondent sighted the purported court document brought by the sheriffs.
The undated document threatened that the defendants in the matter, Mr C.C. Emina and two others, would be liable to pay the sheriff a fee of “two shilling or twenty kobo duty for keeping possession of property and also the reasonable expenses of any of the feeding animal until expenses is paid or property is sold.”
Asagba, in a letter to the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Kazeem Alogba, dated July 29, 2022, described her experience as “most harrowing and traumatic.”
The letter stated, “We were not a party to the said suit and the purported execution was a wrongful invasion of our privacy and residential homes. The incident caused us the worst form of physical, psychological, emotional trauma and likely consequential future health effects – as we have lost sleep since the incident.
“We have our purchase receipts, survey plans, approved building plans and other statutory payments in respect of the said property herein attached. We have made enquiries from the court and we were able to discover that there was no judgement in suit no ID/2469/93 — Mr Kenneth Gbagi vs Mr C.C. Emina and two others, therefore, the issuance and execution of notice of attachment on our property for goods and chattels in respect of that suit is illegal and unjustifiable.”
Asagba told our correspondent that she was suspecting a suspected land grabber of sponsoring the execution, adding that two years earlier, the man seized her neighbour’s property to build a gas station on the estate.
“We reported it to the government and he was stopped from building the gas station. He, however, resisted with area boys. I was told that the man came to our estate to look at the houses on the street and now, the same judgment that was used to claim my neighbours’ house is the same judgment he used for all of us that had our houses taken,” she added.
The Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Grace Aloh, said she was not aware of the incident.
She said, “I am not aware of it.”