THERE was confusion as a High Court Bailiff, (nameswitheld) allegedly sealed off Maxin Lotus Hotel in Effurun, Delta State, in error after chasing out over 31 guests that were in the hotel.
The Vanguard gathered that the court order was meant for a piece of land lying and situated along Effurun/Sapele Road, beside CFAO opposite Urhobo College, Effurun and not Maxin Lotus Hotel.
It was further gathered that the court Bailiff reportedly conspired with one other person (nameswitheld) to seal off the popular Maxin Lotus Hotel out of mischief.
From the copy of the Enrolment of Order of the court, copy of which was made available to the Vanguard, the court upon a Motion/Ex-parte filed by Isaac Arigbe, the Claimant/Applicant, the court clearly stated 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”.
Reacting to the development, Manager of Maxin Lotus Hotel, Abraham Ikolo lamented that “despite all appeals to the Bailiff and his team of conspirators for confirmation on the actual property they were asked to serve, they still went ahead to forcefully shut down the hotel.
“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.
“The mobile policeman attached to this hotel who was trying to ask them why they should carry out this act, they rather assaulted him. Within a twinkling of an eye, before we could get our legal team, they have sealed the place, pushed all our customers out, about 32 guests were pushed out.”
Maxin Lotus Hotel lawyer, Reward Ojekhekpen of Goode & Company Solicitors, said the Order which the court Bailiff acted upon was a judgment that was not “related to Maxin Lotus, or its owners”, adding that it was between Isaac Arigbe and another person, Matthew Oboh.
Ojekhekpen explained that the land on which Maxin Lotus Hotel is built 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 said when he confronted the Bailiff, he insisted that it was the Claimant that showed him Maxin Lotus Hotel as the property they got judgment for, saying; “I told him to look at what we have on the paper but, being an officer of the court I could not start fighting him.
“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 4 pm.
“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 we have to clear with. But, the Registrar kept calling the Bailiff, the Bailiff said he was somewhere”.
Ojekhekpen who spoke further, condemned the mischief deployed by the court Bailiff and the Claimant “by coming to wrongfully seal the hotel, knowing very well that the next day was Good Friday, which is Public Holiday and the court has equally proceeded on Easter break.
“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.”
The Vendor, Chief Osiobe Okotie who also spoke to newsmen, maintained that “the land on which Maxin Lotus Hotel is built has no connection with the piece of land lying and situated at along Effurun/Sapele Road, beside CFAO, opposite Urhobo College, Effurun.
“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.”