By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Government house complex in Uyo may be under lock and key for days following over N2 billion debt owed to the contracting firm, Otto Trinity Studios which constructed the complex in 2012.
Claimant and Principal Partner of the firm, Arc. Ubokutom Nya in a motion filed at the High Court in Uyo dated July 26, 2017 dragged the state government to court over non-payment of the money which he claimed was owed to the company since 2012.
The motion reference HU/147/2016 and signed by his counsel, Mathew Akpan Esq. is praying the court to restrain the Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel and others from occupying, entering or making use of the facility until the sum of N2,133,547,837.30 billion comprises his professional fees with interest of 2.5 per cent above the prevailing bank rate from February, 2016 till date is paid.
He claimed that the defendants to wit; the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel and Akwa Ibom State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Uwemedimo Nwoko since the beginning of the suit in 2016, have exhibited high degree of disobedience to court orders, as well as refusal to pay the over N2B due to him for professional services discharged.
In a six paragraph affidavit in support of his motion stated inter alia that, ‘‘in compliance with his appointment letters, had provided the required professionals and rendered professional services in respect of the Government House projects, Uyo, phases 1, 11 and 111 from January 2012 to January 2016 as the Chief Resident Architect.
‘‘That on November 11, 2013 he requested for the payment of the outstanding Professional fees of N872, 414, 409. 40 million as at then, which only part payment of N16, 744, 041.91 Million was paid to him.
‘‘That the claimant filed this case on April 25, 2016 and same was served on the defendants on May 5, 2016.
‘‘That since May 5, 2016 till date, the defendants have refused and neglected to enter appearance in this case. On November 15, 2016 the defendants only filed a motion for extension of time within which to file and serve their Memorandum of Appearance (MoA), Statement of Defence, List of Witnesses, Written Disposition on Oath, and List of Documents to be relied upon in this case and that, the said motion has not been moved till date.
‘‘That the defendants have exhibited very high degree of nonchalant attitude in the case and never for once attended court in respect of this case.
‘‘That the defendants used the ploy of amicable settlement of the case out of court, which the claimant rendered his professional services and successfully completed, handed it over to the defendants and same acknowledged by the defendants.
Indication showed that Mr. Emmanuel Enoidem who was then Commissioner for Housing and Urban Renewal had appointed the claimant, Arc. Ubokutom Nya on behalf of the state government as the architectural consultants to the proposed Government House Complex projects phases 1, 11 and 111.