Reporter : CHUKWUBUIKE MADU
A Federal High Court in Enugu has fixed February 24, 2021 for the arraignment of the Enugu State Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development, Dr. Victor Nnam, on an eight count charge bothering on forgery of land documents.
This followed the absence of Dr. Nnam during Tuesday December 9 scheduled arraignment proceeding.
Dr. Nnam was dragged to the Federal High Court by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation following petition by an estate developing firm, known as Private Estates International West Africa Limited (PEIWA).
The firm is the developer of the Enugu Lifestyle and Golf City, popularly known as Centenary City.
In the suit with file number: FHC/EN/CR/33/2020, Dr. Nnam, who is a former consultant surveyor to PEIWA, is accused of forging and uttering Affidavits of Facts of Chiefs Sunday Ngene, Chigbogu Eze, Oguejiofor Egbo and Elder Christian Oko with the intention of presenting the documents to the appropriate Ministry/Department of Enugu State for approval of Aruga Layout, Obinagu, Obeagu Community.
The alleged offence is punishable under section 1(2)(C) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
At the scheduled day for the arraignment proceeding, the defence counsel, Mr. P.M.B Onyia presented a medical report, notifying the court that his client, Dr. Nnam, was sick and could not appear in court as well appealed that he been given one week to appear.
Though the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Abubakar Musa, did not oppose the document, the trial judge, Justice R.O. Dugbo Oghoghorie, rejected the medical report on the basis that such document from a private hospital was not admissible in law and also it did not specify the nature of Dr. Nnam’s sickness.
Justice Oghoghorie therefore adjourned the matter until February 24, 2021.
Addressing journalists after the court session, the Managing Director (MD) of Private Estates International West Africa Limited (PEIWA), Mr. Kingsley Eze, said the alleged fraudulent activities of Dr. Nnam were committed before he became the Commissioner.
“We hired him sometime in 2014 and we discovered the fraud he committed and fired him. During the time he was our surveyor, he forged documents, used the documents to falsely register layouts belonging to us with the Enugu State Ministry of Lands and went ahead to sell off those layouts to unsuspecting publics.
“We found out and reported the matter to the police and of course reported the matter to the Surveyors Council.
“We sent out letters to the government of Enugu State; we had meetings with the Governor of Enugu State where we revealed all that has happened but to our surprise, instead of taking action — cancelling the illegal layouts this guy registered, they went ahead and appointed this guy Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development,” Mr. Eze lamented.
The PEIWA MD also accused the Commissioner, Dr. Nnam, of efforts to sabotage the partnership the company signed with the Enugu State Government in 2009 to build the Enugu Lifestyle and Golf City (Centenary City).
According to Mr. Eze, the partnership made PIWA to take two billion naira loan and other shareholders of the company raised several other billions, which they invested in the project but he alleged that their efforts were being frustrated by the Commissioner and the present leadership in the state.
“Our agreement is still subsisting, even though we are also in court with them on several other issues because what now happened was (that) the moment this guy was appointed Commissioner for Lands, the first job he executed in less than two months was to revoke our C OF O for no reason.
“He didn’t stop there, when we went to court and court made it clear that there was no basis for that revocation. And court wanted to know if they served us pre-revocation notice.
“This gentleman went back and forged a pre-revocation notice and submitted to court. He forged a pre-revocation notice that was purportedly written on Saturday and served on us on a Sunday; we don’t work on Sunday,” Mr. Eze alleged.
Meanwhile, efforts by Radio Nigeria to get the reaction of counsel to the embattled Commissioner for lands, Mr. P.N.B. Onyia was not successful as he left the court immediately and when he was reached on phone, he declined comment on the matter.