Alleged environmental degradation: Court to hear case against UNN Dec. 2

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University of Nigeria Nsuka Gate
University of Nigeria Nsukka Gate

A High Court sitting in Nsukka, Enugu State has fixed December 2, 2021, to hear a case against the University of Nigeria, UNN, over its actions said to be allegedly threatening the existence of Obukpa community, in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State.

Daily Post reports that Obukpa is one of the host communities.

The suit No N/86/2020 was filed by Hon Nnaemeka Aleke, seeking to restrain the UNN and Viagem Property and Investment Limited from further development of the 11,900-room hostel over alleged environment degradation in Obukpa Community.

This is even as the Eze of Obukpa, His Majesty, Eze-Agu John Ugwuidenyi, also pleaded with the court to grant an interlocutory injunction to the suit as a result of flooding which the siting of the said hostel was causing in his community.

Justice Mathew C.O Eluke, who presided over the case, adjourned it to 2nd December, 2021, to enable the parties involved reconcile areas of differences.

While explaining the reason for the adjournment during an interview the Counsel to the Plaintiff, Barr C. I Odo, said “There are multiplication of applications pending before the court.

“We have made the court understand that because of the challenge to what we filed earlier, the University of Nigeria is saying that we have given the institution a wrong name. As a result of that, we have decided to amend the name to bring it properly, such that they won’t have any complaint again. That was the application the court took and agreed that the name has been properly amended.

“The institution is saying that they are not University of Nigeria, Nsukka, but the University of Nigeria, and must be properly addressed as such in the suit filed.

“We filed the interim and the interlocutory injunctions but because we were not able to take the interim injunction at the initial time before its lifespan of seven days, it has expired. We have withdrawn it.

“We have served them the interlocutory injunction which has mandated the defendants to tell the court why they should not stop work on the construction of the hostel pending the hearing and determination of the suit. That is why it was put on notice.

“The defendants have filed a paper asking the court not to stop them because the hostel is a good project they have brought to accommodate the students and defeat the accommodation challenges which the institution is facing.

“We are not against that. We are only saying that the project they brought to the university should not march on our heads. The project has blocked free flow of water in Obukpa community. As a result, flooding is now pulling down buildings, and destroying properties. It has put the lives of the people of Obukpa Community in danger.

“The community is demanding N1 billion for the damages already caused, and we are saying that if they must continue, they should come and produce erosion channels and embankments which would contain the flooding that would be coming from the property into the community,” he said.

Also, the monarch, Ugwuidenyi, in an interview, stated that the flooding which he attributed to the ongoing construction of the hostel, had continued to ravage properties in his community, adding that his people would not take anything less than the injunction which would mandate the first and second defendants to meet the conditions his community had put to them before continuing with the project.

“I am pleading with the court to grant an injunction to the suit No N/86/2020 filed by my son, Hon. Nnaemeka Aleke, which seeks to restrain the University of Nigeria, and Viagem Property and Investment Limited, being the first and second defendants respectively, from further development of the hostel which has channelled flooding to my community until the defendants meet the conditions the community has tabled to them.

“The environmental degradation the said construction is causing to my community is unbearable as flooding continues to wreak havoc, threatening our lives and properties.

“My community will not take anything less than the injunction in the next court appearance scheduled for 2nd December, 2021,” he said.

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