The Presbyterian Chụrch of Nigeria over the weekend dragged Governor David Umahi before a State High court for taking over its hospital in Ebonyi state House.
Umahi was joined in the suit with the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Ebonyi State House of Assembly as second and third defendants.
In suit no: HAB/120/2020, the plaintiff sought a N5bn for general damages from the Governor for the takeover and shutting down of the Presbyterian Joint Hospital located in the Governor’s hometown of Ụbụrụ.
The church claimed the government’s action was illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and amounts to trespassing.
Recall that Umahi's government had in 2020 announced the immediate shutdown and subsequent takeover of the Hospital.
The government said the action is the sequel to a petition by the host community over the expiration of the church’s 100-year lease.
The community, according to the state government, had also alleged misappropriation of funds, high medical charges on indigent patients, use of obsolete equipment in the treatment of patients and non-presence of qualified doctors, and urged the state government to take over the management of the hospital.
Vanguard reports that the church in the suit disagreed with the government’s position arguing that the lease was still subsisting and had not expired.
The church further claimed that the lands upon which the hospital was built were not leased from the entire Uburu community but from specific families.
The church said the three lands upon which the hospital was built is owned by some families in Ụbụrụ and leased in 1917, 1923, and 1958 are still subsisting till 2026, 2052 and for as long as it is being used for the purpose it was leased respectively.
When the matter came up for hearing on Thursday, March 10, Counsel to the Church, Uche Awa (SAN) was in court while the state government had no Lawyer to represent it.
The Judge, Justice Ken Eze, however adjourned the matter to May 12 for pre-trial.