A director of Land, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and a Special Assistant to the FCT Minister have been accused of engaging in unlawful demolition and land grabbing together with few others.
The allegations were contained in a petition to the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello by two firms – All Weather Techno Enterprise and Multijoy Hotels Limited.
They claimed that the accused colluded with PPDEZI Nigeria Limited to unlawfully appropriate their land after illegally demolishing their structures on the parcel of land described as: Plot No. BD/CP/16.
In the petition filed by their counsel, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN), the firms said they were surprised that despite the pendency of their suit at the FCT High Court, the accused still went ahead to demolish their structures and purportedly assumed ownership of the land.
The petitioners, who also copied the FCT Commissioner of Police and the Director, Department of State Security Services, argued that the demolition of the structures against pending suit was an affront to the court’s authority and intended to frustrate the plaintiffs as well as challenge public order, peace and security.
They stated that some officials of the Department of Development Control (DDC) visited the land in dispute on May 21, to drop a purported notice of demolition, giving the petitioners 21 days to either pull down their structures or risk demolition but barely 24 hours after the notice, “some persons came to the land in dispute and demolished all the structures,” alleging that the exercise was carried out by DDC in collusion with PPDEZI Nigeria Ltd, the main party contesting the ownership of the land with them.
The suit before FCT High Court has as defendants, FCT Minister, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Babayo, Sahabi, PPDEZI Nigeria Ltd and the Chairman, Bwari Area Council.
The plaintiffs stated in their claim that they were originally allocated the land through a letter dated April 21, 1999 with reference number: BAC/FCDA/LP&S/129 issued by the FCT Minister and Certificate of Occupancy dated January 20, 2002.
They said they have been in peaceful possession of the land since 1999 until the Special Assistant to the FCT minister, suddenly appeared in 2012, claiming to be a Special Adviser to the FCT Minister and threatened to use his link in government to take over the land.
The plaintiffs added that investigation later revealed that the fellow, in collusion with some officials of the FCT Minister’s office and the FCDA, “are the one using the fifth defendant (PPDEZI Nigeria Ltd) as hoax to illegally take over the plaintiffs’ land.”
But the defendants have denied the plaintiffs’ claims and prayed the court to dismiss the suit.In an amended statement filed by the FCT Minister, FCDA and one Babayo), it was claimed that the plaintiffs have no valid title documents to the land as they were not allocated the land by the relevant agencies of the FCT lawfully saddled with such responsibility.
They stated that the land described as Plot 1871, Cadastral Zone F18 Dawaki, Abuja, was lawfully allocated to the fifth defendant – PPDEZI Nigeria Ltd.
The fifth defendant in its further amended statement of defence, claimed to have been lawfully allocated the land by the FCT Minister and the FCDA.
PPDEZI Nigeria Ltd also filed a counter-claim, demanding N200 million against the plaintiffs and an order restraining them from trespassing on the said land. The Guardian