Controversy Surrounds Demolition Of Property Next To Gbajabiamila’s Residence

Controversy Surrounds Demolition Of Property Next To Gbajabiamila's Residence

Controversy Surrounds Demolition Of Property Next To Gbajabiamila’s Residence

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike has ordered the demolition of a property next door to the Abuja residence of the Chief of Staff to the President and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The property, which is owned by an entity known as Shrodder Nigeria Limited, is located at the Cadastral Zone of the Maitama District.

Controversy over the demolition has, however, been brought to the attention of President Bola Tinubu.

Disputation over the land began last year, precisely on October 4, when the former Minister of the FCT, Muhammad Bello, and officials of the Federal Capital Development Authority abruptly invaded the property.

It was gathered that a day after the invasion, on October 5, the then minister of the FCT gave an order to the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), sealing off the property and also deposited a detachment of mobile policemen to lock out construction workers from gaining entry into the property.

According to documents seen by The Guardian, the sealing off of the property was without prior notice of infraction.

Consequently, the owners of the property caused a legal action of trespass and unlawful occupation against the Minister of the FCT and the FCDA.

The law suit was filed on October 10, 2022 in suit number FCT/HC/CV/3449/2022: SHRODDER NIGERIA LIMITED & 1 OR vs MINISTER OF THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY & 1 OR, before Justice Abubakar Musa of the High Court of the FCT.

Judgement on the case was entered on April 4, 2023 in favour of the complainant.

The trial judge, in his ruling said: “That an order of perpetual injunction is hereby made restraining the defendants from further interfering with the 1st Claimant’s lawful use, quiet possession, occupation of the plot.

“That the forceful take over and occupation by the defendants of the plot on the 5th day of October 2022 constitutes an act of trespass.

“That the defendants are hereby ordered to vacate with immediate effect, the Claimant’s property, unseal the property and to remove forthwith the mobile policemen they had unlawfully and illegally installed on the property since on the 5th day of October, 2022.”

The Judge went further to stipulate penalties in damages in favour of the claimants.

It was gathered that neither the Minister of the FCT nor the FCDA appealed the judgment of the High Court.

Although the FCDA refused to comply with the order of the court in removing the seal order on the property, a new twist was made to the controversy when, last week Tuesday, September 19, the current minister of the FCT, Wike, invaded the property with bulldozers to bring it down.

The action by Wike was devoid of a prior notice of demolition and in direct violation of the April 4, 2023 court ruling on the matter.

It was gathered that the machinery deployed to pull down the property failed to accomplish the task because of the structural fortification on the property. The minister, according to sources, thereafter, ordered that the property should be razed to the ground.

The expansive property, which is next-door to the FCT residence of Gbajabiamila, was eventually brought down on Thursday, 28 September.

Sources who worked on the property said that the property had been there long before Gbajabiamila assumed occupancy of his property in 2019 when he was Speaker of the House of Representatives.

It was also gathered that the topmost floor of the property, before it was pulled down, was said to be overlooking the swimming pool on Gbajabiamila’s property.

An SOS letter that was written to President Bola Tinubu on the controversy, dated September 26, reads in part: “Our earlier letters to the Honourable Minister of the FCT on the referenced respectively dated 14 October, 2022 and 19 April, 2023 refer.

“On the 5th day of October, 2022, the plot was sealed off by men of the Nigeria Police Force who remained posted on the plot on the apparent directive of the Honourable Minister of the FCT who had visited the property earlier on the 4th October, 2022.

“We must state right away that the demolition of our client’s property from the 19th September, 2023 is unlawful, contemptuous, brazen and a volte-face sabotage of every tenets of the rule of law to which your Excellency swore to extol.

“Your Excellency, our client’s title to the referenced property is unencumbered. The development of the plot was with approvals from the FCDA.

“Upon reasonable apprehension of infraction on our right to the referenced property, our clients commenced suit challenging the unlawful seal, and posting of men of the Nigeria Police Force on its property as well as seeking perpetual injunctions, restraining the Minister of FCT and the FCDA from trespassing on our client’s property.

“Judgement was delivered by the High Court of the FCT in favour of our client on the 4th day of April 2023 whereof the court granted the reliefs sought by our client.

“It was following the referenced judgement of the court that Inspector General of Police directed the unsealing of our client’s property by men of the Nigeria Police Force.”

“It is significant to mention that the Honourable Minister of the FCT and the FCDA were all represented by counsels in the litigation process. It is even more significant to mention that in the Defence of the Minister of FCT and FCDA, it was admitted that our client’s title to property is unencumbered. No infraction whatsoever was alleged in the joint defence.

“Upon arrival at the site of the 19th of September 2023, when the demolition commenced, our client confronted the Director,

“Development Control of the FCDA who was supervising the demolition, with the referenced judgment of the court on the subject-matter.

“The Director expressed regrets and stated that if he had remembered the judgment, he would not have commenced the demolition and quickly aborted further demolition of the property.

“Sadly, the FCDA returned to the property on the 21st September 2023 and continued with the demolition.

“We humbly seek the intervention of Your Excellency to stop the Honourable Minister of the FCT brazen affront, indiscretion and utter desecration to the rule of law and direct reimbursement to our client.”


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