By Sylvia Akpan
Former Special Adviser Technical on State Electrification Agency (SEA) during the Governor Ben Ayade’s term, Architect Eric Akpo has been accused of not honoring a lease agreement entered with Mr. Ubong Monday.
Both parties – Eric Akpo (Lessor) and Ubong Monday (Lessee) had entered an agreement in February 2022 to lease/operate a bar and kitchen (Angles bar) located along Atekong Street, Calabar Municipal Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Eric was said to have leased a shop and premises owned by him to Ubong to operate the same bar and kitchen business at the rate of two million, one hundred thousand (2,100,000) Naira only for the duration of six (6) months.
However, a disagreement ensued when the Lessee – Ubong commenced the operation of the business but was informed there was an electricity debt of about N100,000 and was asked to deposit the sum of 25,000. He became fumed because, according to him the Lessor never disclosed such to him and was never part of the agreement.
Ubong further alleged that the wife of Eric, Mrs. Arit Akpo prepared to do the same line of business the same day he was to commence operation but however, was not deterred.
Ubong claims that some items in the agreement were not honored by the former SA, so he decided to discontinue with the business and seek a refund amounting to one million, seven hundred and fifty (1,750,000) Naira for the remaining five months since each month was three hundred and fifty thousand (350,000) Naira only.
In a letter addressed to Eric Akpo, Ubong through his Lawyer, Henrie Ituen and Associates legal practitioners, sought for termination of the agreement.
He told CrossRiverWatch that he could no longer continue. In his Whatsapp conversation with Eric, made available to CrossRiverWatch, he said he reminded Eric that his (Ubong’s) solicitor said he (Eric) had accepted to pay the sum of 100,000 Naira every month but that has gone on deaf ear.
“His lawyer said the sum of N100,000 will be released to me monthly and it’s up to a year plus I have not received a dime.
“I dropped a message to him reminding him of the N100,000 his lawyer said and he confirmed it but since then, he has not replied to my messages.”
In response to the letter issued by Ubong’s lawyer, Eric Williams Akpo responded through his lawyer, Paul Ebiala and Associates in a letter dated 8th March 2023.
He said it is “patently unjustifiable, utterly not practicable and convincingly impossible” on the claims made by Ubong.
In a telephone interview with CrossRiverWatch, Eric refuted the accusation, saying he is not owing Ubong any money.
“Ubong rented my facility some time ago, he came in as agreed, rented the facility, and operated after two months and he said he doesn’t want to stay any longer.
“He entered an agreement that was supposed to last for one year and just stopped operating and he came back two or three months later and said he doesn’t want to operate the place any longer and that was it.
“So coming back to say I’m owing him money, he didn’t lend me money, I didn’t go to borrow him money so he can not claim I’m owing him money.
“If he has any issue, he is not supposed to go to the press, he is supposed to go to court.”