An Abuja High Court yesterday fixed September 17 for the adoption of written addresses in a suit by a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation (WAYEF) against the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Bala Mohammed, over an alleged unlawful revocation of a land in the Central Business District (CBD), Abuja.
Former First Lady, Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua, was said to be the sponsor of WAYEF.
Justice Peter Affen had adjourned the matter after the parties concluded evidence in the matter. The judge is expected to enter judgment after the adoption of the addresses at the next adjourned date.
WAYEF had in its statement of claims, alleged that the choice property located at the coveted Central Business District, beside the ThisDay Dome was duly allocated to it on February 9, 2010 after fulfilling all the necessary conditions for the land.
But trouble started when the minister purportedly revoked the allocation through a notice dated November 2, 2011 for alleged “overriding public interest.” The land was reportedly re-allocated to another organisation, the African First Ladies Peace Centre, believed to be sponsored by the current First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.
The plaintiff had joined the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), and the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) as co-defendants to the suit.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, WAYEF called a witness, who is also a legal officer of WAYEF, Mr. Magnus Maiangwa.
The witness was led in evidence by WAYEF’s lawyer, Mr. Lagi Innocent, while some documents were tendered showing how the land was acquired and the building plan and approval granted by the relevant authorities. In all, Maiangwa tendered 15 documents.
Some of the documents showed that the organisation after obtaining the requisite approvals, also paid N184 million between September to November, 2011 to the Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS) for the right of occupancy.
Following no objections by lawyer to the FCT Minister, F. U. Ibanga, the court marked the documents as exhibits and admitted them in evidence.
But the court could not take the contempt proceedings by WAYEF against the FCT minister as the court held that the development had been overtaken by events.
WAYEF is further asking the court to hold that it is the current and bonafide grantee or owner of the piece of land at Plot No. 1347 within Cadastral Zone A00, measuring approximately 1.84 hectares, bounded by beacons numbers PB 48, PB 1596, PB 1599, and PB 6827, and covered by an accepted Offer of Right of Occupancy dated February 19, 2010.