Drama as court takes possession of UBA Enugu office

There was a mild drama on Tuesday at the Enugu Headquarters of the United Bank for Africa as bailiffs from the Federal High Court; Enugu stormed the bank at Station Road in Okpara Avenue, with policemen to enforce a court judgment against the bank.

As soon as the court bailiffs announced that they were in the bank to take it over, members of staff of the bank and customers rushed out to remove their vehicles and other belongings on the bank premises to avoid being trapped.

After the bailiffs locked all the entrances to the banking hall and the three gates leading to its premises, they wrote an inscription with red paint on the wall of the complex. It read, “Possession taken by Court Order FHC/EN/M/339/2010.”

One of the bailiffs, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said they were in the bank to enforce the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu, delivered sometimes in 2012.

The judgment, he said, awarded N5m against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and UBA for violating the human right of one Eric Emeka Onoh, a security staff of the bank who was allegedly stripped naked inside the banking hall.

The judgment, which our correspondent obtained on Tuesday, was delivered by Justice Dorothy Agishi in the EFCC and UBA vs Eric Emeka Onoh suit Number FHC/EN/M/339/2010.

Onoh had through his lawyer, Awforkansi Nnadiume, sought the relief of the court on whether he (the applicant) had any right that was protected by the Nigerian constitution.

He also asked the court to determine whether the right was infringed upon by the respondents, and if the court agreed that this right was infringed upon by the respondents, it should decide whether the applicant was entitled to the N1bn damage he was demanding from the defendants.

The applicant sought an order for the reopening of his account at Diamond Bank which the EFCC arbitrarily frozen. In the application, Onoh asked the court to declare that the torture he was subjected to by the EFCC on mere suspicion breached his fundamental rights.

But in her judgment, the court held that the applicant (Onoh) had his legal right protected by law after she analysed the submissions of both the applicant and respondents.

The court found that the right of the applicant was infringed upon by all the respondents because the applicant gave the graphic details the roles played by each of the respondents in traumatising him.

The court noted that the respondents did not deny all the allegations made by the applicant in their submissions.

The court also awarded N5m compensation against the respondents jointly and severally and further ordered that the applicant’s account frozen in Diamond Bank be reopened.

Justice Agishi, however, regretted the non-inclusion of the police in the matter.

However, the enforcement order is coming after the Appeal Court sitting in Enugu had dismissed the UBA appeal which seeks to set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court.

When contacted on the telephone, the bank’s Branch Manager, Mr Philip Otuu, confirmed the incident.

He, however, denied the sealing of the bank head office, saying that “what happened is that the court came to execute judgment order and it is a normal thing and we have settled with the court.”


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