Friday Duku, a bailiff attached to the Delta State High Court sitting in Effurun, is now on the run after he wrongfully and illegally sealed off the premises of popular Maxin Lotus Hotel opposite Urhobo College, Effurun, Uvwie Council area of Delta State.
The bailiff, said to be acting on a court judgement from the court, was said to have committed the act on Thursday, April 1, 2021.
It was gathered that there was a mild-drama at the hotel premises on the ever-busy Effurun/Sapele road before the famous Enerhen junction as Duku allegedly conspired with one Isaac Arigbe to execute a court order meant for another property on Maxin Lotus Hotel.
From the Enrolment of Order, the court upon a Motion/Ex-parte filed by Isaac Arigbe, the Claimant/Applicant, the court stated clearly that: “AN ORDER granting leave to the Chief Bailiff of this Honourable Court to serve the warrant of possession of the defendants by substituted means to writ; by serving same on any adult occupant on the piece of land lying and situate at along Effurun/Sapele Road, beside CFAO opposite Urhobo College, Effurun”.
The Manager of Maxin Lotus Hotel, Abraham Ikolo told newsmen on Friday that despite all appeals to Duku and his team of conspirators for confirmation on the actual property they still went ahead to forcefully shut down the hotel.
Ikolo said, “I looked at the paper they presented and discovered that it was not actually this place because they said beside CFAO along Effurun/Sapele road, and here is very far away from there.
“We don’t have any boundary with CFAO but with Midwest inn estate and in their court paper, there is nothing like Maxin Lotus mentioned.
“Our mobile policeman attached to this hotel was trying to stop them and asked them why should they come to carry out this act, they rather assaulted him.
“Within a twinkling of an eye, before we could get our legal team order, they have sealed the place, pushed all our customers out, about 32 guests pushed out.”
For his part, the lawyer to Maxin Lotus Hotel, Reward Ojekhekpen of Goode & Company Solicitors, said the Order which the court bailiff acted upon was a judgment not related to Maxin Lotus, or its owners. Stressing that it was between Isaac Arigbe and another person, Matthew Oboh.
Ojekhekpen clarified that the land on which Maxin Lotus Hotel is sitting was bought from Chief Osiobe Okotie on Free Hold unlike Matthew Oboh, who they said acquired on lease from their great-great-grandparents the piece of land lying and situated along Effurun/Sapele Road, beside CFAO opposite Urhobo College, Effurun.
He disclosed that the illegality of the bailiff became very apparent when he confronted him, he insisted that it was the claimant, Isaac Arigbe that showed him that Maxin Lotus Hotel was the property they got judgment for.
“I told him to look at what we have on the paper but, being an officer of the court, I cannot start fighting them.
“I quickly rushed down to the court where I met the Registrar with all documents but when he called the bailiff, the bailiff disappeared and never came back to the court until they started closing at 4pm.
“The Registrar then said there was nothing he could do because the bailiff was the one that went to effect the order and it is the bailiff they have to clear with.
“But the Registrar kept calling the bailiff, the bailiff said he was somewhere,” said Ojekhekpen.
Continuing, Ojekhekpen condemned the mischief deployed by the court bailiff and Isaac Arigbe by coming to wrongfully seal the hotel on a Thursday knowing very well that the next day was Good Friday, which is Public Holiday and the court has equally proceeded on Easter break.
He said, “They came here because they want to force our hands backwards for us to part with money because they know we are going to suffer a lot of loss.
“But outside that, we know what to do as lawyers. Those of them that perpetrated this illegality, this wrong action, we know how to go after them legally.”
Corroborating the views of Ikolo and Ojekhekpen, Chief Eric Osiobe told newsmen that the land on which Maxin Lotus Hotel is sitting has no connection with the piece of land lying and situated at along Effurun/Sapele Road, beside CFAO opposite Urhobo College, Effurun.
The Urhobo chief cum politician said, “I was the owner of this property but I have sold it to Henry Elubiaozor, and is now being occupied by Maxin Lotus Hotel.
“The property belonged to my late father who bought it in 1962 from the Arigbe family. And when it was transferred to me by my late father, I also had to acquire it through Sunday Arigbe on behalf of the Arigbe family and one other on Free Hold.”
Chief Osiobe dismissed the rumour that Maxin Lotus Hotel was sealed because he owes the bank describing those peddling the rumour as mischief-makers.
“These are mischief makers who are trying to smear my name. All these mischief makers should be very careful, and if I find out anybody has gone to Facebook to peddle wrong information, stories about me, I will sue,” said Osiobe.
Efforts made to contact the court bailiff, Friday Duku for comment were unsuccessful.