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Renaissance Estate home owners demand N4bn compensation from First Trust Mortgage Bank



Renaissance Estate home owners demand N4bn compensation from First Trust Mortgage Bank
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Aggrieved home owners and residents of Renaissance Estate in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, have demanded for a N4bn compensation from First Trust Mortgage Bank which sold 12 units of 4-bedroom flats to them in 2010 at N50m per flats, only for them to be chased out of the properties ten years after by some persons executing a Supreme Court Judgment delivered sometime in January 2003.

National Daily gathered that the property owners bought their houses located at Plot 96 Bimkol Close, GRA Phase 3, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, consisting of 12 units of four bedroom terrace houses through FBN Mortgages Limited now First Trust Mortgage Bank Plc in February 2010 at the cost of N50 million per apartment.

In a letter by the solicitors to the home owners, AK & CO, to the Managing Director, First Trust Mortgage Bank Plc, titled: “Notice of demand to reinstate homeowners and residents of Renaissance Homes at Plot 96 GRA phase 3 Port Harcourt or payment of N4, 000,000,000 (four billion naira) as compensation for your bank’s gross negligence,” the aggrieved home owners accused First Trust Mortgage Bank of gross negligent in investigating the title it acquired from Vestor and thereafter offered the defective title to the Renaissance Homeowners.

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“It is imperative that we state that as at 31st January 2003 the decision of the Court of Appeal was already reversed by the Supreme Court and then in June 2003 Vestor bought the land from Ex-Squadron Leader Obiosa. First Trust Mortgage Bank Plc thereafter bought the land from Vestor in 2008.

“In the light of all these facts, a modest due diligence, going by a reasonable man’s test would have revealed that at the time your bank was about to purchase the property from Vestor in 2008, there was a Court Martial judgment registered on the property, that there was also a Court of Appeal judgment in furtherance of which Vestor then registered its interest which would ordinarily arouse the curiosity in any one, especially your bank, to conduct due diligence on the status of  the appeal to the Supreme Court.

“And of course, there was an appeal which was decided 5 (five) years prior to your bank purchasing the property. It is needless to stress the fact that your bank was grossly negligent with an ulterior motive.

According to one of the affected home owners and Chairman of Renaissance Estate Homeowners’ Association, Dr. Doyle Edeni, residents lost billions of naira worth of properties and valuables during the sudden eviction of the association members, whom are retirees, who used their life savings to purchase the said apartments from the company and most of the residents have developed severe high blood pressure having been displaced and traumatised by the said act of forcible eviction.

He said some aged owners of the homes in the estate like Mr. Green Elekedo who is retired civil servant of over 70 years slept in garage floors in the home of a benevolent individual and kicked out after a few months and has been moving from one make-shift arrangement to another homeless and serious health challenges.

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“There are several other woeful tales of landlords in the estate who need one support or another to survive because they were disposed of the valuables some of which some were living on. Those who took out a mortgage to pay for the houses are now paying loans for a property that has been taken away from them while still obligated to the loaning institution.

“It is only in Nigeria that I have found that a mortgage institution owned by first Bank a supposedly integrous bank will take money from unsuspecting member of the public their  subsidiary First Mortgage Trustees Ltd and having discovered that what it claim was free and clear was actually encumbered and having been defeated in court by our assailed who maintain he had no business with us will only resort to sending sorry messages through the lawyers and yet refusing to indemnify us against our losses by continuing to claim that it had a right of appeal against a supreme court of Nigeria judgment.

“What is more baffling is that the bank has men like Chief Femi Otedola, Oba Otudeko and other big wigs in Nigeria as directors of this organization. We are praying to the media to help us highlight the plight of members of the estate to the owners of first bank and the world at large to come and pay back the funds they fraudulently obtained as court if the land has ruled that they did not own what they sold to us.

“They must indemnify our members for all that have been stolen from them including personal properties lost to Chief Adekonola’s hoodlums.

In response, the bank’s lawyers – Onyeke, Ideho & Ighomuaye LP, said “their client sympathises with victims over the sad and traumatic incident, which they find extremely strange, as it had no reason to doubt the credibility and validity of the title of its predecessors-in-titles, over the land.

“Our clients has commenced an in-depth investigation into the incident to understand, how a property over which it had valid titles spanning three different predecessors-in-title, could have been the subject matter of a court action, it was not aware of and/ or brought to its attention, up and until the delivery of judgment and execution of same.”