An Abuja High Court sitting at Jabi has fixed September 1 to hear a suit that was brought before it by four children of a former military Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Idongesit Nkanga, who alleged that they were forcefully evicted from their deceased father’s house by their stepmother.
The plaintiffs, Utibeabasi, Etietop, Lance and Ini-Idara, are praying the court to invalidate the warrant of possession of premises issued in favour of their step-mother, Mosun Nkanga.
Mr. Nkanga, a retired air commodore, died in December 2020 owing to COVID-19 complications.
His children were subsequently evicted from the family house in Asokoro, Abuja, on June 6, 2023, following a court order that was obtained by their stepmother.
The court had on the strength of a suit that was filed by their stepmother, Mosun, issued an order on March 24, 2022, granting her possession of her late husband’s estate at No. 3A and B Mary Slessor Close, off Udo Udoma, off Yakubu Gowon Road, in Asokoro.
Mosun had alleged that she was refused access to her late husband’s property, an action the court held was in violation of her rights.
Consequently, the court barred the plaintiffs from further restraining or interfering with her right to live in or enjoy her matrimonial home, pending the issuance of a letter of administration or grant of probate over the estate.
However, the plaintiffs refuted the claim that they denied their stepmother access to their late father’s property.
They disclosed that their father had in his will, handed one wing of the building marked 3A, to their stepmother.
According to them, their father gave the second wing, 3B, where he lived before his demise, to them to live as a family house on the condition that it should be reverted to their stepmother, Mosun, when his last son, Ini-Idara, turned 30 years.
The plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Mr. Inibehe Effiong, averred that Mr. Nkanga’s last son, Ini-idara, is currently 25 years.
They argued that their stepmother should not have taken possession of the building until Ini-Idara is 30, as stated in the will.
Counsel to the plaintiffs argued that Mrs Nkanga had not gotten the letter of administration or grant of probate over the estate as directed by the court before taking possession of the premises.
At the resumed proceedings in the matter, Mr Effiong, told the court that the plaintiffs are currently homeless, adding that the children had lived in the property before Mosun was married by their late father in 2007.
Mr. Effiong urged the court to hear and determine the plaintiffs’ application before the looming annual judges’ vacation.
On his part, Mrs Nkanga’s lawyer, Marvin Omorogbe, told the court that there was no urgency in entertaining the children’s request to nullify the eviction order it earlier made.
Contrary to Mr. Effiong’s claim that his clients were homeless, Mr Omorogbe told the court that “at the time of the eviction, the children, were holidaying in France.”
“My lord, there is nothing before this court to suggest that these boys are homeless,” Mr Omorogbe insisted, saying there was no basis to transfer the suit to a vacation judge as requested by Mr Effiong.
More so, Mr. Omorogbe urged the court to restrain the plaintiffs’ lawyer “from making comments that will prejudice the issues before the court.”
After he had listened to both sides, Justice O. A. Musa, said the court was empowered to “revisit whatever it did.”
The judge said the court’s docket was congested, even as he advised the plaintiffs to find a place to stay, pending when I return from the annual vacation.
The case was subsequently adjourned to September 1 for hearing.