Widow of the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and incumbent Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, Bianca Ojukwu, was yesterday challenged before Justice Funmilayo Atilade of a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere, by some family members of the late Ikemba Nnewi to show proof that her marriage to the late warlord was legally carried out.
The family members, in a 19-paragraph statement of defence instituted by Ojukwu Transport Limited (OTL) and seven others, also wants proof from Bianca to show that her two sons, Afamefuna and Nwachukwu, are biological sons of the late Ikemba.
Other defendants in the suit include: Professor Joseph Ojukwu, Engineer Emmanuel Ojukwu, Lotanna Putalora Ojukwu, Dr. Patrick Ojukwu, Architect Edward Ojukwu, Lota Akajiora Ojukwu and Mrs. Massey Udegbe (doing business under Massey Udegbe & Company).
The Nigerian ambassador to Spain had, in a suit designated LD/1539/2012, instituted on behalf of her two under-aged children, Afamefuna and Nwachukwu (claimants), urged the judge to hold that her children are entitled to the possession and occupation of the property known as 29 Oyinkan Abayomi Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, until the harmonization of the management and administration of the assets of the first defendant (OTL).
At the resumption of proceedings on the matter on Wednesday, lawyer to Bianca and her two sons was absent in court, which resulted in the court adjourning the matter till December 10, 2013 for adoption of written addresses on a motion on notice, which had sought to restrain the defendants from the property in dispute.
Bianca’s children had, in the suit through their counsel, Chris Ezugwu, asked the judge to declare as illegal, the alleged threat of forceful ejection from 29 Oyinkan Abayomi Street by the defendants.
They also prayed the court to declare that they are entitled to possess the following properties, namely: 13, Hawksworth Road, Ikoyi (now known as 13, Ojora Road); 32A, Commercial Avenue, Yaba, Lagos; 30, Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; 30, McPherson Avenue, Ikoyi.
Afamefuna and Nwachukwu (claimants) argued in their suit that throughout the period their father was struggling to retrieve the properties from the government, the second to seventh defendants “never played any role in the struggle nor contributed financially or otherwise to the realisation of the struggle.”
Aside this, Bianca’s children also want an order of the court which would restrain the defendants, their agents or privies from interfering with their possession and control of the properties.
However, in their statement of defence, the defendants, through their counsel, Chief George Uwechue, SAN, maintained that the subscribers of the memorandum of association of Ojukwu Transport Limited (1st defendant) at incorporation in 1952 were L P Ojukwu and Betram Chukwuemeka Obi, with an addition that the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and one Professor Joseph Ojukwu (2nd defendant) were later appointed as directors in 1953.
The defendants stated further that the late Ikemba ceased to be a director of the company prior to the Nigerian civil war and was re-appointed a director on December 16, 2005, while the 3rd and 4th defendants were appointed directors in 1954 and 2005 respectively.
According to the defendants, “The claimants’ statement of claim contained tissues of lies and distorted facts,” with an allegation that Bianca, who filed the action, “being greedy felt she could hold unto the company’s properties.”
The defendants argued further that, “The properties belong to the first defendant (the company). The fact is that the claimants’ mother, being greedy, felt she could hold onto the first defendant’s properties. For over 12 years prior to his death, the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu moved to Enugu and since then, had not lived at the first defendant’s property as alleged by the claimants.”
The defendants, therefore, charged Bianca’s sons to, “Show proof of any such agreement which their late father had from the first defendant for him to control and/or manage the properties of the first defendant.”