A Lagos lawyer, Amanda Asagba, has condemned the invasion of her home on Nduka Osadebey Street, Ajao Estate, in Lagos State, by armed security officers, including sheriffs and police officers.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the men claimed to be acting on the orders of the Lagos Supreme Court, Ikeja.
Speaking to our correspondent on Thursday, Asagba said the officials forcibly evicted her family and destroyed assets worth more than N500 million.
The attorney, Amanda and D. Asagba Chambers’ lead partner, claimed to have lived in the house for the past 25 years, adding that all of her titles of ownership were undisputed.
She said: “On Thursday, July 28, around 8:45 am, I heard someone screaming from my room upstairs. I came down and saw some men and I asked them how they entered my house; they told me they knocked but no one answered.
“One of the men told me they were from the state Supreme Court and they had a verdict against me. It left me confused because I had nothing against anyone; I told them this, but they avoid me.
“I even told them they might be in the wrong place, but they refused. I later asked for their court order. When they showed it to me I saw my name wasn’t there and I called their attention to it but they said my name didn’t have to be there and I was an intruder.
“In the midst of all the arguing, my daughters came out. They pushed us all out and started taking all our stuff out. They threw away everything in the house except some things they couldn’t get out of it.
“They didn’t even allow me to call. We didn’t even know if they were armed robbers or something. Some of the men wore sheriff’s uniforms; some were in mufti and others were heavily armed police officers who also had tear gas canisters. There were more than 100 of them, and those who entered the house were about 40.
“They didn’t let me take a picture of the court order until they ransacked my house and threw everything out. Even the name on the search warrant was my neighbor, who was next door and whose property was seized two years ago.
“We never received any papers for the incident; we didn’t receive any court papers from anyone so it was a shock. Our whole site was littered and even when it drizzled, they threw everything out.”
Our correspondent saw the alleged sheriff’s court document.
The undated document threatened that the defendants in the case, Mr. C.C. Emina and two others, would be required to pay the sheriff a fee of “two shillings or twenty kobo levy for holding property and also the reasonable cost of feeding animal until the costs are paid or the property is sold.”
Asagba, in a letter to Lagos State Chief Justice Kazeem Alogba, dated July 29, 2022, described her experience as “most harrowing and traumatic”.
The letter stated: “We were not parties to the said lawsuit and the alleged execution was an unlawful invasion of our privacy and homes. The incident caused us the worst kind of physical, psychological, emotional trauma and likely future health consequences – as we have lost sleep since the incident.
“We have attached our purchase receipts, survey plans, approved building plans and other legal payments related to the said property. We made inquiries with the court and were able to find that there was no verdict in Case ID/2469/93 — Mr. Kenneth Gbagi vs. Mr CC Emina and two others, therefore, the issuance and enforcement of an attachment of our property for property and movable property related to that lawsuit is unlawful and unjustifiable.”
Asagba told our correspondent she suspected a suspected land grab from sponsoring the execution, adding that the man had seized her neighbor’s property two years earlier to build a gas station on the estate.
“We reported it to the government and he was stopped from building the gas station. However, he resisted with area boys. I was told the man came to our estate to look at the houses on the street and now the same judgment used to claim my neighbors house is the same judgment he used on all of us who had our homes taken, she added.
Lagos Justice Ministry PR officer Grace Aloh said she was not aware of the incident.
She said, “I’m not aware of it.”